The history of moissanite is one full of interesting elements. While this stone is now widely used in jewelry for an added sparkle, it is relatively new in terms of jewelry. Read on for a closer look at the history of moissanite.
The history of moissanite dates back to 1893 when it was first discovered. French chemist, Henri Moissan, was the first person to identify these stones. However, he actually identified them incorrectly. The gem that would be known as moissanite was found in a crater caused by a meteorite in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. While Dr. Moissan was examining the crystals, he mistakenly thought they were diamonds because of the similarity in appearance and hardness. Both gems offer stunning brilliance with an almost colorless, glass-like appearance. It wasn't until 1904 when the chemist found out he had been incorrect. He realized these new crystals had a different composition than diamonds and were made of silicone carbide. Moissan would later go on to win a Nobel prize in his field and the stone was aptly named after him.
Over the years, the occurrence of moissanite in the natural form became very rare. Once it was discovered, it was scarcely found outside of meteorites. In fact, it wasn't until the 1950's when other sources of naturally occurring moissanite would be seen again.
Since this stone was so rare, it wasn't generally used for jewelry. However, the beauty and brilliance of the stone was too much to ignore for some innovative minds. In the 1980's, a company named CREE started working on a process that would allow them to create this stone in a man-made way. These crystals were too large for use in jewelry for the most part until 1995. Around that time, a team of diamond cutters began researching how to bring the beauty of moissanite to the world of fine jewelry. Since then, this crystal has become a beloved alternative to the radiance of diamonds at a fraction of the cost. There are now several variations of the gem available in varying color options from completely colorless to a slight yellowish brown tinge, depending on the option chosen for the piece of jewelry.