Do you guys think the price of moissanite will fall after the patent expires? What other changes will happen do you think?
I doubt it. While the 'intuitive' assumption would be yes, it also reminds of all the people who predicted how lab grown diamonds would soon be all over Ebay for $10 after Gemesis started growing in 2002/3.
With diamonds, people failed to account for how hard it is to grow, how most labs growing don't make much net profit, etc. And in fact the avg per carat price of lab diamonds has gone *up* over the years as some producers simply dropped out to do other things besides gems. The grower for pink lab diamonds for example, quit the business entirely about 2 years ago - great demand, but way too hard to make and actually get a net profit.
In either scenario, people fail to account for how difficult and expensive the crystal itself is to grow.
The patent expires in 2015 and that will certainly open to a few new players, but not that many. Why - because SiC (moissanite) is hard to grow and there are not many people that have the equipment and skill to do it.
And most that do, are focused on the electronics market which requires different growth parameters than growing for gem use. And the gem market is a drop in the bucket compared to electronics (if they can get it pure enough), so most growers don't want to deal with setting up for gems vs. electronics.
You should also look at C&C's financials to see that even with their patent, they are losing money for the past few quarters - and they are living off of inventory purchased years ago.
Thus, you can see that the rough is quite expensive as even with their patent and selling previously purchased inventory, they are not making much if any net profit lately.
Anyway, for those reasons I would not hold your breath that the price will drop any great degree when the patent expires...there are a lot more fundamental challenges to growing moissanite that prevents it from being a 'cheap' material, patent or not.