On February 9, 2001, the ABC News program 20/20 aired an investigative report titled, "Fooling the Experts: Take the Moissanite Challenge."
Below are some excerpts from the video.
Looking for something chic for your lady love this Valentine's Day? Designer handbags are hot; so are sunglasses with the right logo, and stylish watches are status symbols. Well, if the imitations are in, if fakes are fashionable, a lot of guys may be asking themselves, "Why buy a woman real diamonds when there are now substitute stones that can even fool jewellers?
Cubic zirconia is dirt cheap, less than $5 a carat, but it doesn't sparkle as much as a diamond, and over time it tends to get scratched and lose its luster. However, there is now a new stone called moissanite that is almost as hard as a diamond and even more brilliant.
Moissanite is named for Dr. Henry Moissan, a scientist who discovered the rare diamond-like mineral 100 years ago in an ancient meteorite in Arizona. Now a North Carolina company has patented a secret method for duplicating moissanite in a laboratory by combining silicon and carbon under heat and pressure. It costs about $600 a carat - a tenth of what diamonds go for - and it fools a lot of experts.
We took this this one-carat moissanite ring to 10 jewellers in the Washington, D.C., area and asked them to give us a rough idea of what it's worth. While they didn't do an official appraisal, after examining it, half of the jewellers told us our $600 fake was a real diamond worth thousands of dollars.
...jewellers know that under magnification, moissanite has double refraction lines and diamond has single lines. But it's not always easy to spot. Even diamond detectors are fooled by moissanite.
Experts agree that moissanite is not the equal of diamonds when it comes to hardness and colour, and diamonds are worth more because they're natural, not man-made, and quantities are limited. Despite that, jewellers that sell moissanite say some couples are now choosing it for their engagement rings.