(Closed) What's "the story behind moissanite?"

posted 5 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2002

I think the meteorite story is the one they are referring to.  It’s not quite a romantic story, but it is unique to gemstones.  Most are just mined, where as moissanite comes from the stars.


Post # 4
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Yeah, it’s pretty much the space rock made of science and rainbows thing.

Post # 5
846 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Yes it was found on a meteorite. All of it that you buy is synthesized. It has a different color play than diamonds. Some ppl adore it while others don’t. To each their own.

Post # 7
6359 posts
Bee Keeper

Here’s a Wall Street Journal article on the history of moissanite (circa 1997, or before advertising really went into high gear).


Analysts Wait to See If C3’s Fake Gems Pan Out

Two North Carolina brothers and their companies are discovering that creating fake diamonds can be as difficult as mining the real thing.

One company, C3, of Morrisville near Research Triangle Park, went public in November with the mission of turning a lab-created mineral called moissanite into brilliant and inexpensive gems resembling diamonds. The other firm, Cree Research, a more established Durham-based semiconductor-material maker, produces the material that is the basis for moissanite.

The companies are run by brothers Jeff Hunter, 40 years old, president of C3, and Neal Hunter, 35, Cree Research CEO.

Cree Research Inc.Business: Maker of semiconductor materialSix months (Dec. 28) 1997 1996Revenue:$20,313,000$13,528,000Net Income:2,640,0002,264,000 Per-share earnings:0.20.17Second quarter Per-share earnings:0.110.03

No Glitter

But their efforts to bring synthetic moissanite gems to market have hit a few snags. . A gem expert at a jewelry-industry trade group who examined 23 gems provided by C3 says they were grayish and fuzzy. Meanwhile, Cree researchers have fallen behind schedule in producing material that would allow C3 to consistently make higher-clarity gems.

When the company learned of the gem expert’s reviews, it hustled an improved version of the stone to three Atlanta jewelry stores, where jewelers opined that C3’s gems looked like diamonds.

And Cree Research, with an 11-year track record in the fast-moving semiconductor industry, is confident it can solve the production delays.

Still, the early problems illustrate the pitfalls of trying to create a product and introduce it in a tough market. Despite a marketing blitz through outlets such as Home Shopping Network, for more than 20 years the best-known pseudo-diamond, cubic zirconia, claims a scant portion of U.S. diamond sales, which reached $18 billion in 1997.

The Hunter brothers believe their diamond substitute — which they say will be higher in quality, and price, than cubic zirconia — will tap a lucrative market among buyers looking for diamond lookalikes at a tenth of what a diamond would cost.

Neal and Jeff Hunter, along with a third brother, Eric, pursued the possibility of creating a fake diamond in 1995 when they noticed that material Cree was making resembled emeralds. More tinkering in Cree’s lab resulted in a material with the same properties as moissanite.

Cree’s work in semiconductor materials includes the development of a high-tech blue laser capable of boosting storage on CD-ROMs, and separately, making products such as light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that are used in everything from stadium replay boards to auto-dashboard illuminating systems.

A Family Affair

The forming of C3 (named after the brothers’ father, Charles Cree Hunter, and their mother’s maiden name, Colvard) in 1995 to produce the gem gave Jeff Hunter, then a controller at North Carolina State University, a chance to run a company. Eric Hunter, 38, remains a large shareholder. C3 began studies of the moissanite, including a 1996 survey of 30 Midwestern jewelry stores, 28 of which mistakenly identified a C3 pendant as a diamond.

Buoyed by that kind of response and needing money for research and development, C3 went public in November, selling three million shares at $15 each. The company said in December securities filings that while it believed its lab-created moissanite could make it a “superior substitute” for diamonds, the company didn’t expect to produce revenue until the first half of 1998.

Under a recent five-year, $12 million agreement between the two companies, Cree supplies the raw material in the form of three-inch crystals, which C3 slices into smaller bits. The material then is sent to Southeast Asia for fastening and returned to C3, where the moissanite is graded for quality.

To examine the new diamond substitute and alert jewelers that it was headed to market, James Shigley, a gem expert at the Gemological Institute of America, the Carlsbad, Calif., industry trade group, requested samples of synthetic moissanite from C3 last summer. The institute this week will release a report based on Dr. Shigley’s study.

“People experienced at looking at diamonds will say this doesn’t look like a diamond,” Dr. Shigley says. “When you compare moissanite against the diamond, it tends to have a grayish color. They don’t look sharp.” Still, his report projects synthetic moissanite could become widely available as a diamond imitation.

Told of the findings, C3 said that Dr. Shigley had seen early-stage gems, and that improvements had been made.

That may be so. C3 representatives last week accompanied a Wall Street Journal reporter to three Atlanta retail stores to have the company’s later-stage jewels examined. The first jeweler conducted a standard test that measures heat generated by carbon — present in both diamonds and moissanite — and concluded the .69-carat stone was a diamond. A second jeweler, certified by the Gemological Institute, studied the gem more closely, and appraised it at $2,700. A third jeweler conducted a less-scientific test, looking at the stone only under a small magnifying glass. He, too, said the fake stone was a diamond.

These jewelers’ responses may portend well for C3 once the gems are rolled out. But Cree has run into production problems. Ten researchers are behind schedule in coming up with material that would allow C3 to make higher-quality gems that are graded on the same color scales as diamonds. Currently, Cree is producing moissanite with a color grade that could be used in bracelets, which have smaller cuts of gems, but not in rings. C3 wants gems with a higher grade, says Jeff Hunter.

An Unmet Deadline

“C3 set up a pretty aggressive schedule,” Neal Hunter says. “We have not hit the schedule.”

Of course, the stakes are highest for C3. Lorraine Maxfield, an analyst at Paulson Investment in Portland, Ore., notes that C3’s stock has fallen 33% from its IPO price because some investors thought they were buying a stock that would quickly soar. When it didn’t, and the company didn’t release any news beyond the Cree contract in its first months, the sell-off began.

For Cree, analysts say a successful gem could be a big boost, but disappointing sales wouldn’t be a disaster. Neal Hunter estimates that 5% to 10% of Cree’s $43 million in projected revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 will come from C3 orders.

Now, with C3 promising to have its product in stores this summer, a big question is whether there will be a strong demand for the fakes.

“That’s a big if,” says Ms. Maxfield of Paulson, the underwriter for C3’s initial public offering.

Jerry Ehrenwald, president of International Gemmological Institute, a New York-based trade group, says he thinks C3’s gems look like diamonds. But he adds he can’t imagine a husband saying, “Honey, instead of a diamond, I’m going to give you a moissanite.”

Post # 8
1770 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1997

@Pisces:  you said: “Will someone please let me in on the story?”

Most of “the story” is marketing, no different than any  product. Moissanite is a man made created jewel. No gem quality silicon carbide/moissanite exists or has ever existed in nature. Moissanite jewels are manufactured from synthetic silicon carbide that has been significantly altered.

That being said, moissanite like cz is still beautiful and a fraction of the price of a genuine, high quality, ethical diamond. While moissanite costs more than cz, moissy doesn’t cloud, is harder, & will last longer than cz. Hope This Helps

@Jeravae:  I saw your other post a few days ago, but wasn’t able to respond. Tx for posting the pics of your lovely diamond engagement/wedding rings. Very unique! Mike did good! Do you sell anything similar to your own ering setting at Moissaniteco?

@joya_aspera:  thanks for posting the article of the history of moissanite.

Post # 9
9082 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Maybe I’m just broken because the idea that a stone came from a meteorite doesn’t wow me.

We’re all made of stardust. Everything about us came from a dying star, even diamonds and gemstones.


Post # 10
5191 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

@Hyperventilate:  I don’t know why that made me laugh so hard but it did. Nice one! 🙂

Post # 11
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Hyperventilate:  Lol right???  

@joya_aspera:  A lot of people say their moissanites are more sparkly than diamonds…so is that a new development in the process they use to make the moissanite?

Post # 12
6359 posts
Bee Keeper

 @peachacid: I agree with that, and it’s just the nature of silicon carbide. It does have quite a bit higher dispersion than diamond (bent light, this results in it returning colored light or fire), and that’s probably what they mean. Especially as the nature of the way moissanite’s lightplay is more like tons of smaller “sparkles” rather than fatter chunks of fire as well. 

CZ also has higher dispersion than diamond, but also not as much as moissanite. Moissanite is very firey. They each have different patterns of refraction and spectrum lengths (As shown by this photo below, a flashlight over one of each, table-down in water). Moissanite’s pattern is the one with the one on the outside. You can get a sense from this how much more “rainbowy” it is.

Post # 13
181 posts
Blushing bee

@gemgirl6:  I dont agree with the statement that no gem quality moissanite exists or has ever existed. You just dont know that and thats just too much of a severe statement. I mean, even with diamonds that are mined.. only 10% of diamonds found are “gem quality” so that leaves 90% out there that isnt. My point is the amount of moissanite that was found in that meteor was so small, it is said it isnt enough to make one ring so there has to be out a 90% or more of a chance that out there, somewhere, gem quality moissanite exists. It just hasnt crash landed on earth yet :p

Post # 14
521 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@joya_aspera:  Interesting story — I had no idea that these were ‘invented’ in my backyard!  (I live in NC)

Post # 15
1770 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1997

@Metalkisses:  you said: “I dont agree with the statement that no gem quality moissanite exists or has ever existed. You just dont know that and thats just too much of a severe statement.”

I posted the facts, no more no less.

you said: “.. the amount of moissanite that was found in that meteor was so small, it is said it isnt enough to make one ring..”

The natural mineral silicon carbide that was discovered was minute, green, and far different than the man made created jewel that you now have in your ring. …

you said: “..so there has to be out a 90% or more of a chance that out there, somewhere, gem qexists.”

no logic to that.

you said: “It just hasnt crash landed on earth yet :p”

One can wish/hope for anything of course. However in the interim there are only facts…

Post # 16
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@gemgirl6:  Technically, “no gem quiality moissanite exists anywhere” isn’t any more of a fact than “some might exist somewhere.”  Unless you’ve explored the entirety of everything, in which case, go you.  “No gem quality moissanite has been discovered” is a fact.

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