Back in the late 90’s, synthetic moissanite was introduced into the market as an alternative for diamonds. So what really is moissanite? In its natural form, moissanite is scientifically known as silicon carbide and is very rare in quantity.

Currently, Charles & Colvard is the largest supplier of synthetic moissanite in the world. Besides holding exclusive patents to creating them in the laboratory, Charles & Colvard also has specialized labs where they cut and polish the rough stones. The polished gemstone then makes its way to jewelry stores and retailers on the Internet.

As a gemstone collector, I made my purchase for a 0.50 carat stone for my studies and this has allowed me to capture photographs that I can share with readers.

50 pointers charles and colvard moissanite

The Charles & Colvard stone comes with an authenticity card and “lifetime” warranty.

Why Did So Many People Get Fooled?

With similar properties in terms of clarity and hardness, moissanite could also be cut to sparkle as well as diamonds. While this has enabled consumers to purchase proposal rings on a budget, it has also enabled allowed unethical people to sell them for the prices of real diamonds.

It is no surprise that both consumers and jewelers get caught in the web of deception scammers use when moissanite first hit the market. Unlike the other diamond stimulants, most of the tests with basic gemological equipment can be fooled when it comes to moissanite detection.

As a consumer, I am going to share with you an easy method of telling moissanites apart from real diamonds. It doesn’t require any state of the art equipment or expensive tools. All you need is a 10X loupe and a keen eye for details.

Doubling View of Moissanite Caused by Refraction of Light

The best way to observe this effect is to view the gemstone at an angle from the crown (bezel) facet. By bringing a 10X loupe and focusing on the culet through the bezel facet, you can check the gemstone for a “doubling” facets effect.

examining a gemstone through the bezel facet

Inspecting a Moissanite For Its Distinctive Features

double refraction properties in moissanite

From the photograph above, you can see that there is a “secondary blurred image” caused by the double refraction property of moissanite. This is indicated by the red arrows and is a tell tale sign the gemstone is definitely NOT a diamond.

blurred facet images when viewed with a 10X loupe

Doubling is a sure way to distinguish Moissanite from diamond

The test is repeated again by varying the angle of tilt and observation of the culet through the crown facets. Again, the doubling effect shows up and this should confirm your suspicion.

Inspecting a Diamond Upclose

a diamond has no doubling of the facets

When viewed through the bezel facet, a diamond should have crisp and sharp reflections of the pavilion facets. Notice how there is only a single reflection as opposed to taking on a blurry look?

tilting the angle in which the diamond is viewed

To confirm the test, you should tilt the diamond and try to inspect the stone from another angle. If the experiment gives you similar results, then it should be pretty safe to conclude the stone you are currently viewing has a single refraction property.

Note that this test is only applicable for differentiating diamonds from moissanite or gemstones with doubling properties. In order to differentiate other simulants such as the common cubic zirconium, there are simple and cheap tools which can be used with very high accuracy.

Here’s the most important tip for consumers to take back. If you are buying diamond jewelry and you want a peace of mind, make sure the diamond has been graded by GIA or AGS.

For a further level of protection, you might want to consider an inspection by a 3rd party appraiser regardless of all the “certifications” or documents that come with the purchase. This is the best method to protect yourself in an expensive transaction as fraud could sometimes be deliberate or accidental.

Visit JamesAllen.com to browse through thousands of GIA graded loose diamonds with interactive videos. Now you can see and examine diamonds in far better details than anywhere else!

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4 Comments

  1. Nate Ru-
    October 3, 2016 at 2:03 am

    There are anomalous instances of double refraction in diamonds, so to use as a positive test for not being a diamond is untrue.

  2. Paul Gian-
    October 3, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Nope. Unless science has been changed or you invented a new “diamond” material, diamond ONLY displays a single refraction.

  3. Harsh Shah-
    October 11, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Paul,

    You have made every interesting post about moissanite and diamonds. Thanks for this write-up. 🙂

  4. Dan S-
    December 20, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Great article! I facet stones as a side business and wanted to obtain some quality rough. Aside from the optical properties, may one use a diamond multi tester to determine if someone is trying to pass a moissanite off as a diamond? Thanks…

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