Unmasking Synthetic Moissanite
The conventional thermal probe separates diamond from all simulants
except moissanite. A new tester finishes the job
Retailers who fear the new diamond simulant moissanite might pass through
their hands undetected can breathe a sigh of relief. The company that created
the simulant has created a device to detect it.
The $525 Tester Model 590 was designed to easily and quickly distinguish
synthetic moissanite from diamonds, says Jeff Hunter, CEO of C3 Inc., creator
of the diamond simulant and the testing device. "Our intention is to
fully prepare the jewelry industry for the introduction of lab-created moissanite,"
Conventional diamond testers check for thermal conductivity and are useful
in separating diamond from simulants such as cubic zirconia, corundum, glass,
synthetic rutile and zircon. But they are useless in separating diamond
and moissanite because both are thermally conductive.
Moissanite, a silicon carbide that is rare as a natural stone, is now
available as a lab-grown product in small sizes (less than 0.05 carat).
Bigger stones are expected from C3 later this year. It can be distinguished
from diamond by other standard, albeit more time-consuming, gemological
means. For example:
- Moissanite is doubly refractive; diamond is not.
- Moissanite has a lower specific gravity than diamond (moissanite floats
in 3.32 specific gravity liquid).
- Under magnification, moissanite doesn't exhibit "bearding"
or "naturals." Bearding, minute fissures in a diamond's girdle,
occur in the cutting process. Naturals are growth characteristics in a
diamond. (Note: the absence of bearding and naturals does not separate
moissanite from other diamond simulants, and not all diamonds exhibit bearding.)
590 distinguishes diamonds from the new simulant moissanite.
C3 Inc., P.O. Box 13533, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3533; (919)
by Robert Weldon, G.G. Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.