50 pointers charles and colvard moissanite

Charles & Colvard moissanite with an authenticity card and “lifetime” warranty.

Back in the late 90’s, synthetic moissanite was introduced into the jewelry market as a cheaper alternative for diamond. But what really is moissanite and how did it came about?

In its natural form, moissanite is scientifically known as silicon carbide (SiC) 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 operates specialized labs where they cut and polish the rough stones. The polished moissanite stones are then distributed via jewelry stores and retailers on the Internet.

As an avid gemstone collector, I purchased a 0.50 carat moissanite for my personal studies and this has allowed me to capture some interesting photographs to share with readers.

In this write up, I’m also going to show you how to identify a moissanite gemstone easily with a 10X loupe.

Why Did So Many People Get Fooled?

moissanite vs diamond comparison side by side

Moissanite vs diamond side by side comparison.

Moissanite has been marketed as a low-cost option for a diamond engagement ring due to its appearance and diamond-like properties in clarity & hardness. Because of the massive differences in value, unethical people can take advantage of moissanite by misrepresenting them as real diamonds.

When moissanite first hit the market, there were numerous stories of consumers and jewelers (yes, even the professionals!) who got caught in a web of deception and scams. You see, unlike other diamond stimulants, most of the tests conducted with basic gemological equipment cannot detect differences between a moissanite and a diamond.

As a consumer, how are you going to protect yourself when you are buying a diamond ring? And if you are shopping for a moissanite engagement ring, how do you know that you received a real moissanite instead of a CZ stone?

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.

If you are shopping for a diamond ring, make sure you only buy GIA or AGS graded diamonds from reliable jewelers. I recommend solid vendors like James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin where you get risk-free sales policies and the ability to scrutinize diamonds with interactive videos!

Doubling View of Moissanite Caused by Refraction of Light

Unlike many other types of diamond simulant, moissanite displays an optical effect called double refraction. This means that when a light ray enters the gemstone, it is slowed down, bent and split into two light rays.

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 should be repeated again by varying the angle of tilt and observation of the culet through the crown facets. If the doubling effect shows up again, this should confirm your suspicion that the gemstone is NOT a diamond.

Inspecting a Diamond’s Facet Junction Upclose

a diamond has no doubling of the facets

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

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 that 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 diamond from other simulants such as cubic zirconium with high accuracy, all you need is a simple diamond testing tool (~$15).

With all that said, here’s the most important tip for you to take back. When you are shopping for diamond jewelry, make sure you only buy diamonds that are been graded by GIA or AGS. This is the best method to protect yourself in an expensive transaction as fraud could sometimes be deliberate or accidental.

For a further peace of mind, you might want to consider an inspection by a 3rd party appraiser regardless of all the “certifications” or documents that already come with the purchase.

If you are searching for a moissanite engagement ring, Brilliant Earth is a great place to shop for them. If you are looking for a diamond ring, make sure you check out White Flash and James Allen for their diamond selections.

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11 Comments

  1. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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. :)

    Without using a moissanite diamond tester or a loupe, can you tell the difference between moissanite and diamond?

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    October 12, 2016 at 2:06 am

    It is possible if you have sufficient experience. The fire exhibited by moissanite can sometimes look “oily” and over exaggerated. Think of it like looking at a thin layer of oil on a water surface where you see rainbow colors reflecting off the surface. This is due to the double refractive index of moissanite.

    But to be safe and accurate, all you need to do is to pick up a loupe and look at the gemstone’s facet for signs of double refraction. I’ve actually written an indepth guide of a comparison between moissanite vs diamond that you may want to check out.

  5. Avatar
    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…

  6. Avatar
    Tarun-
    January 16, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Are there any other substitute of diamonds except CZ or Moissanite?

    If this is true…what are CVD diamonds. are these same as moissanite?

  7. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 16, 2018 at 10:33 am

    There are plenty of diamond simulants in the market. CZ just happen to be the cheapest alternative among them. Moissanite is harder but it is about 10-20 times more expensive than CZ. As for CVD diamonds, they are REAL diamonds and made in the lab via chemical vapor deposition. CVD diamonds are definitely NOT moissanite.

  8. Avatar
    Veronica-
    April 6, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Can’t i recognize a moissanite from the girdle? What about moissanite fluorescence? Do they look the same under black light like a diamond?

  9. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 7, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Looking at the girdle really doesn’t help from an analysis point of view. If you are referring to inscriptions, anyone can perform laser inscriptions to fool consumers if they wanted to. However, the material differences cannot be changed and the double refraction property is a signature of moissanite. That is the most reliable way to identify it with certainty.

    Moissanite does not have fluorescence and is usually inert when it is placed under a UV light. In very rare cases, moissanite can display orange fluorescence. On the other hand, diamonds can fluoresce in almost any color. Blue is the most common fluorescence color for a diamond because of their nitrogen centers which are abundant in nature.

  10. Avatar
    Stefan Velichkov-
    May 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Does this work for rough diamonds (that have a ‘window’ on the side)? If not, how can you know a rough stone testing as a diamond is actually one?

  11. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    May 23, 2019 at 2:32 am

    The double refraction test doesn’t work for rough diamonds and will only be seen in faceted gemstones. For rough stones, there are alot of other tests that can be used reliably like inclusion identification, spectroscopy in addition to the simple heat probe test.

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