The History of Moissanite: From Space to Engagement Rings

The History of Moissanite: From Space to Engagement Rings

Moissanite is a beautiful and affordable gemstone that has become increasingly popular in recent years. This sparkling gemstone is often used as an alternative to diamonds in engagement rings and other pieces of jewelry. But have you ever wondered where this gemstone came from and how it became so popular? In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of moissanite, from its discovery in space to its rise in popularity in the jewelry industry.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a rare, naturally occurring mineral that was first discovered in 1893 by a French chemist named Henri Moissan. Moissan was examining samples of rock from a meteorite crater in Arizona when he stumbled upon what he believed to be diamonds. However, upon closer inspection, he realized that the crystals were not diamonds at all, but a previously unknown mineral that he named "silicon carbide."

Moissan's discovery of silicon carbide was groundbreaking because it was the first time that this mineral had been found on Earth. However, it wasn't until several decades later that scientists were able to synthesize silicon carbide in a laboratory setting. The synthetic form of silicon carbide is what we now know as moissanite.

Moissanite's Journey to the Jewelry Industry

Despite its discovery in the late 19th century, moissanite remained a relatively obscure mineral for many years. It wasn't until the 1990s that moissanite began to gain attention as a potential alternative to diamonds in the jewelry industry. This was largely due to the efforts of a North Carolina-based company called Charles & Colvard.

Charles & Colvard was founded in 1995 with the goal of creating high-quality, affordable alternatives to diamonds. The company saw great potential in moissanite and began developing a process to create high-quality moissanite gemstones for use in jewelry. In 1998, Charles & Colvard introduced the first-ever moissanite engagement ring, and the rest is history.

Moissanite vs. Diamonds

Moissanite has often been hailed as a "diamond alternative," but how does it actually compare to diamonds? There are several key differences between these two gemstones that are worth exploring.

First and foremost, moissanite is significantly less expensive than diamonds. This is due in part to the fact that moissanite is much more abundant than diamonds. Additionally, moissanite is grown in a laboratory setting, which makes it easier to control the quality of the gemstones and keep costs low.

Another key difference between moissanite and diamonds is their physical properties. While diamonds are known for their extreme hardness and durability, moissanite is actually even harder than diamonds. This makes moissanite an excellent choice for engagement rings and other pieces of jewelry that will be worn frequently.

Finally, there is the issue of ethics. The diamond industry has a long history of human rights abuses, including the use of child labor and the funding of armed conflict. Moissanite, on the other hand, is a conflict-free gemstone that is grown in a laboratory setting. For many people, this makes moissanite a more ethical choice than diamonds.

The Future of Moissanite

As moissanite continues to gain popularity, it seems likely that we will see even more innovation in the field of moissanite jewelry. In recent years, there has been growing interest in using moissanite in high-end jewelry designs, as well as in the development of new cuts and shapes for moissanite gemstones.

It's also worth noting that moissanite is not the only diamond alternative out there. There are several other gemstones, such as cubic zirconia and white sapphire, that are often used as diamond substitutes.

However, moissanite has several advantages over these other alternatives, including its superior hardness and durability, as well as its more diamond-like appearance.

Another area where we may see further development in the future is in the use of moissanite in industrial applications. Silicon carbide, the mineral that moissanite is made from, has a wide range of industrial uses, including in the production of abrasives, ceramics, and electronics. As the demand for these products grows, it's possible that moissanite could become an increasingly important material in the industrial sector.


The history of moissanite is a fascinating one that spans over a century. From its discovery in a meteorite crater to its rise in popularity as a diamond alternative, moissanite has come a long way. Today, moissanite is a popular and affordable gemstone that is used in everything from engagement rings to high-end jewelry designs.

Whether you're looking for a more ethical alternative to diamonds or simply want a beautiful and affordable gemstone, moissanite is definitely worth considering. With its superior hardness, durability, and diamond-like appearance, it's no wonder that more and more people are choosing moissanite for their jewelry needs.