When the US patent on moissanite expired in 2015, the moissanite world grew exponentially because Charles and Colvard, who held the original patent, were no longer the only ones who could produce this stunning diamond simulant. With more moissanite gemstones out there among synthetic lab-grown and natural diamonds, it has become more important than ever to be able to identify true moissanite gemstones. This influx of moissanite is the reason it’s become necessary to have a moissanite tester to ensure you’re getting the real thing.
Basics of Moissanite
Moissanite is a popular diamond alternative, especially in engagement rings. Henri Moissan discovered the gemstone in an Arizona meteor crater in 1893. However, it’s so rare in nature that there isn't enough natural moissanite to produce jewelry. Scientists studied this rare gemstone and developed a way to grow it in the lab by applying heat and pressure to silicon carbide.
Moissanite is very similar to a diamond in several ways, which is why it’s important to know how to test moissanite, so you know if you have a lab-grown diamond or a premium simulated diamond.
NEO Moissanite: What is it?
NEO moissanite is one of the brands offering this unique gemstone available on the market. Although Charles and Colvard had the original patent for producing this stone, once the patent expired, other companies quickly began producing moissanite.
NEO moissanite is essentially the same as moissanite from other brands not named Charles and Colvard Forever One. For example, it’s made from silicon carbide. However, the cut can affect how it appears. For example, available in round diamond cut, the NEO moissanite has less light dispersion, which makes it appear more like a natural diamond in terms of refraction.
So, do you need a moissanite tester? Sometimes called a moissanite diamond tester or diamond moissanite tester, this device is handheld and allows you to test your gemstone to determine whether it’s true moissanite or not.
Similarly, to identify a diamond as well, you need a diamond and moissanite tester. This is a multi-tester that allows you to identify whether a gemstone is a moissanite stone or a diamond without having to use two separate devices for testing each.
How Do Moissanite Testers Work?
Diamond and moissanite testers evaluate these gemstones by measuring electrical conductivity because a diamond is not electrically conductive, but moissanite is. That’s how the tester identifies the difference between two stones that are nearly indistinguishable to the naked eye.
An important question, however, is: will moissanite pass a diamond tester? The answer is yes, it is possible that moissanite will register as "diamond" on a standard diamond tester. Why is this?
A very rare type of diamond known as Type II does conduct electricity, which confuses the tester into thinking that the electrically conductive moissanite is actually a diamond. The reverse is true on a moissanite tester examining diamonds. If it comes across this very rare type of electrically conductive diamond, the tester will identify the diamond as moissanite. However, these mismatches aren't frequent because this type of diamond, known as Type II, is very rare.
Moissanite Testers and UV (Ultraviolet light)
Unlike with a diamond tester, ultraviolet light affects the way a moissanite tester works. UV light affects the gemstone's electrical conductivity and thus is helpful when a moissanite tester is having trouble identifying the gemstone. Shining a UV light on the moissanite during testing helps the gemstone to be identified correctly.
Type II Diamonds
As mentioned before, Type II diamonds are those rare diamonds (only 1% to 2% of all natural diamonds) that have the highest thermal conductivity of all diamonds, making them able to conduct electricity when measured by a tester and thus able to be identified as moissanite. This is because they were formed under high pressure for longer periods than average. They have almost no chemical impurities.
Do You Need a Moissanite Tester?
The average gemstone and jewelry buyer most likely doesn't need to have their own moissanite or diamond tester. If you purchase from a reputable source, then you can be sure of what you're buying.
However, if you do decide to purchase a tester, it’s helpful to read diamond moissanite tester reviews, which you can easily find online. The reviews will help you determine which type of tester is best for you and whether you need a simple tester or a multi-tester. Some of the multi-tester models can provide three possible outcomes: diamond, moissanite or metal. If you don't already own a tester, then you're best off buying a multi-tester from the start.