Spinel Key Facts
- 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness
- A striking red stone but available in other colours
- The finest spinels originate in Burma
- The brightest red spinels are brighter even than rubies
- Said to strengthen character
General Information on Spinel
Spinels have cubic crystal structure, which is found in metamorphic rocks where aluminum oxide (corundum) and magnesium forms this gem; once the magnesium is exhausted it is only then when a ruby is crystallized. This is why spinel is very often mistaken for a ruby.
Burma is where the finest spinels where found with a very deep intense red in colour, which is very similar to that of a ruby, they were recognized as a separate gem as early as 1587. Now treasured as a gem of its own it is becoming a favourite stone among dealers due to its hardness of 8, it's pure brilliance, and it's wide range of colours such as the Burmese spinel, a very rare stone which can be found in a hot pink colour.
Spinel is very often found in a variety of colours due to the presence of any impurities, these range from red, which is the most popular colour, this is coloured by chromium and iron. Blue spinel is coloured by iron and other colours available in spinel are rose, orange, brown, pink violet, purple, mauve, green and black. Colorless spinel is very rare.
Suggestions have been made that the word 'spinel' could have come from the Greek word 'spark' which refers to the bright red colour. Transparent red spinels can often be classed as spinel-rubies or Balas-rubies. The yellow spinel is named rubicelle and the violet spinel is called almandine.
As some spinels are man made and are often used as imitation birthstones, many people mistake spinels for a synthetic stone. These synthetic spinels have been in manufacture since 1910 and throughout the years have been used to imitate diamonds and other precious gemstones such as aquamarine. Blue spinel has been used to imitate sapphire.
Fine spinels are becoming incredibly rare, even rarer than rubies which they once imitated, however we have a great source and can find beautiful stones for our customers.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to arrange a design consultation.
An article discussing the similarities between spinel and ruby and how it use it in your engagement ring
Spinel is a wonderful stone that is available in a huge array of colours; both Spinel and synthetic Spinel measure 8 on the Mohs scale and have cubic crystal systems
An article discussing the use of coloured gemstones in engagement rings and in particular purple stones.