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Elsewhere in this book we discuss Moissanite as a man-made gemstone. In actual fact the matter is a little more complicated than that.
Moissanite was first created in a laboratory in 1893 by the inventor Eugene Acheson. At the time of patenting his creation he named it Carborundum. 22 years later, French chemist Dr Ferdinand Moissan discovered the exact same silicon carbide composition while studying fragments of meteoric iron at the Diablo Canyon in Arizona; this new discovery was later named Moissanite in his honour. Because the natural pieces are so small it is classed as an element and to-date no piece has been found large enough to facet.
Moissanite first appeared in jewellery in the 1990’s and was the creation of a company called C3 Inc of America. They have created a proprietary process for creating this man-made material, which bears a striking resemblance to a Diamond. So much so that when it first appeared, many in the jewellery trade predicted it would dramatically affect the sales of Diamonds and many experts initially struggled to correctly identify the difference between the two.
So, although all Moissanite on the market set in jewellery is man-made, it shares the same elements as a piece of nature. Essentially, it is the same as a lab-created coloured gemstone. Although it is undeniably beautiful, when purchasing remember that as it is man-made in a laboratory, company owners can produce as much as they want, therefore it cannot be rare. And if it is not rare, then it is not really a gemstone at all.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
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