To begin the moissanite production process, Charles & Colvard receives single silicon carbide crystals from Cree. The crystals are precision cut into small pieces called preforms, as shown in (Step 1).
The preforms are then sent overseas to high-volume faceting vendors who hand-cut and polish the preforms to Charles & Colvard standards, which are designed to maximize the gemstone's brilliance and fire. As (Step 2) shows, the vendor then attaches the preform to a guidance tool, or dop to aid in the grinding process. Moissanite jewels are shaped with a tool called a faceting machine. To understand this tool, imagine a record player. The faceting machine acts as the record table, spinning around.
It is made of either steel or aluminum, and has industrial-grade diamond chips embedded in it (that's what cuts and polishes). The dop acts as the record player needle, gently guiding the moissanite preform down to the spinning faceting machine.
It's the friction between the gemstone and faceting machine that shapes the stone. The faceting vendor uses the faceting machine to cut and polish each moissanite preform. Using the dop, the gemstone is rotated for an even shape and polish.
The lower portion of the gemstone, or pavilion is formed by grinding the pavilion (Step 3). Then the girdle (the edge of the stone that is grasped by the setting) is cut and polished (Step 4), and then the pavilion facets are cut (Step 5) and polished (Step 6).
Next, the gemstone is removed from the dop and reattached with the top of the stone, or crown, exposed for cutting (Step 7). The crown facets are cut and polished. Finally, the table (the upper flat surface) is polished (Step 8). The resulting gemstone (Step 9) is returned to Charles & Colvard for inspection, sorting, grading, and shipping to select jewellery stores.