Spinel is one of the gems that shade the most famous gemstones. Its wide choice of colors, its shape and its history make it a coveted stone for the creation of jewelry. Long considered a ruby, spinel now has its name. Some people also confuse spinel and tourmaline by their very characteristic shape. Today, you can find spinel on many jewelries such as on rings, on a bracelet or a necklace. BenGems, Swiss jewelry, gives you all the information you need to know about spinel.

Spinel: General data / characteristics

Before even going into the history of spinel and revealing its secrets (weight, dimensions, colors, size, price), it is important to keep in mind that spinel stone is a masculine name. You will find the word in the feminine in other languages on other sites, but this semi-precious stone is well put in the masculine.

As with precious stones (diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald), spinel has its own properties and characteristics. However, its history is quite controversial and this gem has caused some historical confusion.

From the British crown ruby to the spinel impostor

Spinel is a family of multi-colored minerals. Among all these colors, pink spinel and red spinel look like rubies and for this reason spinel got the nickname ruby impostor. But the story doesn’t end there as famous rubies have turned out to be just spinels.

For example, the Timur ruby was considered the largest ruby in the world at 361 carats. This ruby was present in the British crown jewels but it was reclassified as a spinel after being exposed in 1851.

Spinel is a semi-precious stone extracted since antiquity from the mines of Badakhshan (northern Afghanistan). Today, spinel is mainly extracted from Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand or Nigeria.

How can I tell a spinel from a ruby, tourmaline or other gemstone?

To make a difference between a ruby and a spinel, the spinel stone’s thorny shape can help. Moreover, it is not insignificant if the gem is called this way. Its name comes from the Latin “spinella” meaning “thorn”. Spinel spines are a characteristic of its pointed crystals. Spinel stone has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale. It remains a resistant gem for the manufacture of jewelry.

Finally, if you have doubts about a stone you own, we advise you to opt for its complete expertise. This will allow you to obtain many valuable information such as its origin, size and weight in carats.

The various colors of spinels: from red to pink, including purple and black

The color of the spinel is not unique. Its color palette is wide. Some semi-precious stones have orange or pink hues while others are blue, black or green. How to explain the color difference between two spinels? Spinel crystals contain impurities that interfere with the basic colors of the stone.

The components of spinel also play a role in the final color of the semi-precious gem. For example, Chrome brings the color red, Iron reveals shades of blue while Vanadium causes a darker color.

How much does a spinel cost?

As with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and other stones, the price of a spinel depends on several factors. Color, as seen above, influences the purchase price of gems. Purple spinels are among the most expensive stones. But these are not the only ones since spinel with orange-red color is rare and very coveted. This color looks like that of the red sapphire and explains its popularity.

In addition to color, purity, size and weight (carat) are important in determining the price of spinel. The less impurity it contains, the higher its price. A carat of spinel can be sold for 500 CHF and can climb around 2,500 CHF depending on its rarity and its main characteristics.

What are the virtues of spinel?

Spinel is a protective stone. Choosing to wear a spinel on a jewel is choosing to chase away negative waves and ounces of sadness. This semi-precious stone is part of the gems of optimism.

Indeed, the black spinel gives a little energy to advance in life and to succeed in overcoming obstacles without stressing. It also cancels out electromagnetic radiation and strengthens the heart. It is therefore the ideal stone for people tired or in a period of depression, wishing to regain a vital force.

How to maintain, clean a spinel?

Spinel remains a precious stone that must be maintained with care. Today, spinel is treated little even for the creation of ring, bracelet or other jewelry. It is thus most often natural. To maintain a natural spinel, rinse it with clean water and wash it with soap or dishwashing liquid. If this stone keeps well over time, avoid over-exposing it to the sun or high heat. You could damage it.

In addition, if you have a spinel and you want to get additional information about your stone or its maintenance, do not hesitate to contact us. Benjamin Mizrahi, our gemologist, will be happy to answer all your questions and will also be able to present his stones and all his creations.


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