Carborundum is a synthetically made material with an interesting history! Receive one piece handpicked for quality, they are all extremely unique in size and shape.
Although most of this mineral is completely synthetic, it does occure in nature as the extremely rare mineral moissanite.
Synthetic SiC powder has been mass-produced since 1893 for use as an abrasive. Grains of silicon carbide can be bonded together by sintering to form very hard ceramics that are widely used in applications requiring high endurance, such as car brakes, car clutches and ceramic plates in bulletproof vests. Electronic applications of silicon carbide such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and detectors in early radios were first demonstrated around 1907. SiC is used in semiconductor electronics devices that operate at high temperatures or high voltages, or both. Large single crystals of silicon carbide can be grown by the Lely method and they can be cut into gems known as synthetic moissanite.
Wide-scale production is credited to Edward Goodrich Acheson in 1890. Acheson was attempting to prepare artificial diamonds when he heated a mixture of clay (aluminium silicate) and powdered coke (carbon) in an iron bowl. He called the blue crystals that formed carborundum, believing it to be a new compound of carbon and aluminium, similar to corundum. In 1893, Ferdinand Henri Moissan discovered the very rare naturally occurring SiC mineral while examining rock samples found in the Canyon Diablo meteorite in Arizona. The mineral was named moissanite in his honor. Moissan also synthesized SiC by several routes, including dissolution of carbon in molten silicon, melting a mixture of calcium carbide and silica, and by reducing silica with carbon in an electric furnace.