Moissanite is a gem that was originally found in 1893 at a meteor crater located in Arizona. Its unique name came from Henri Moissan, a French chemist who was analyzing rock samples at that time. He first thought that these crystal-like stones were diamonds due to the similarities of their physical attributes. He later discovered that he was mistaken when he found out about the gem's different natural composition. Naturally formed Moissanites are extremely rare. They can only be obtained from meteorites and the Earth's upper mantle in small quantities. To solve this problem, a man-made Moissanite was born. It is chemically created through heated decomposition of poly (methylsilyne), a silicon-based chemical compound. Like Henri's first impression about the gem, its uncanny resemblance from that of a diamond made a lot of people think that it is indeed the same stone. This popular misconception is very common especially to the untrained eye. The good news is, there are ways that you can do to correctly distinguish these two pretty gems. Here's how.
Let it shine! You can easily determine if the gem that you are currently holding is a diamond by putting it up against the light and simply letting it shine. Get a penlight and hold the stone up to your eye until you see light beams glinting through. If you see two lines dividing the ray of light (sort of like a rainbow), you have a Moissanite stone. These divisions are called double refractory. A diamond gem has only one refractory that is white in color.
Magnify. Another way to differentiate a diamond from Moissanite is by scrutinizing it in an amplified view. Using a 10x Jeweler's Loupe, carefully look at it on the crown and check the underside facets. Now turn the gem and look at it on the opposite side. Moissanite's physical aspects always appear to be double faceted, like a blurred, two-lined vision. On the other hand, a diamond will always give you a clear single view of its facet.
Polished or not? Examine the outside layers of your stone through its outer edges going around the crown. If you see a perfectly smooth layer, you are looking at a Moissanite since its synthetic nature ensures that it looks refined. A diamond will always have slight imperfections. You will immediately notice it through the stone's small indentations and dimples.
Get certified! The surest way for you to know if a stone is a Moissanite or diamond is by contacting a diamond manufacturer. Get certification (GIA or EGL) directly from the manufacturer. Just make sure that you choose a reputable and trustworthy dealer. This way, you will be given a genuine diamond or Moissanite gem.
Although these two quartz-like stones look almost exactly alike, you have to be aware that a diamond (both natural and synthetic) still holds the greater value. Today, there are many deceitful individuals that sell Moissanite as an authentic diamond. They usually brood quietly in the Internet. Be very careful and always keep a watchful eye especially when you are shopping online. These simple steps can protect you from falling for their fraudulent traps so make sure that you follow it to the letter. Good luck and have fun choosing gems!