Spinel Information

Spinel is a mineral group that occurs in a vast array of colors, with an hardness of 8 on the Mohs mineral jhardness scale, natural gemstone is considered a durable stone, very appreciated since the ancient times. Pure Spinel is colorless but the presence of various impurities contained into the crystal are responsible of a vast range of colors like: bright red, deep red, orange, yellow, purple and pink.

Black Spinel is common and considered cheap alternatives to black diamonds, the red variety of this material is the rarest and more valuable, duo to its close likeness to Ruby, but a little bit cheaper than the red corundum. Also the cobalt blue variety is appreciated and can spot high value duo to its scarcity and Sapphire likeness.

Finest red variety of this gemstone material can be easily confused with Ruby, an example is the “Black Prince’s Ruby” set into the England’s state crown, that which was considered a Ruby but recently was examined and declared a red Spinel.

The term “spinel” comes from the Latin word, “spina”, meaning thorn, due to its crystal form, or the Greek word that means “spark”, in reference to its bright colour.

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spinel natural gemstone


Spinel Healing Properties

Natural Spinel is recommended for people that suffer of stress and need calming energy, this stone encourage love, calm, health and compassion.

Associated with the Gemini zodiac sign and Mercury planet has different healing properties depending on the gemstone color.



Natural gemstone from this mineral family, usually are not treated, but the increasing demand and value of this gemstone, caused the appearing of new synthetic gemstone on the market and treatment applied to natural Spinel to enhance the appearance of the lower quality gemstones.

Common treatment to enhance the appearance of this kind of gemstone are heat treatment and diffusion with external element to fill surface fissures with oil, resin, glass.


Origin and gemstone source

The best quality of this gems comes from Burma (Myanmar) where came out large stones with finest color and clarity. Other sources for gem quality material are: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tanzania, Madagascar, Vietnam, Pakistan, Brazil, Nepal, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Australia and United States.

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Optical Effect

In some rare case natural it may present a color change effect, asterism with the presence of a four or six rays star on the cabochon surface gemstone, or chatoyancy.


Images and photos

Mahenge-Spinel-gemstone purple-spinel-gemstone spinelpink-

spinel-gems red-mogok-spinel spinel-crystal-rough

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Natural Spinel stones occurs transparent to translucent in some case with good eye clean or internally flawless clarity, with vitreous luster and attractive colors like red and blue, so it is considered a very attractive durable gemstone, and in some case affordable and cheaper that Ruby or Sapphire.

Often faceted and cut into the most popular shape like; round, oval, cushion, pear, it is loved by jewelers and customers that consider red and blue variety a good substitute for Ruby and Sapphire. Also other variety like the purple and pink color variety are really attractive and affordable.

It is also a versatile gemstone with its color variety and sizes can be set into a large variety of jewels like rings or pendants, necklace, brooch or bracelet.


Care and Cleaning

Considered a durable stone, it can be easily scratched by Diamonds and other harder stones like Sapphire and Ruby, or scratch softer stones like Amethyst, Apatite and so on, so remember to store natural Spinels separately by other gems.

Like Corundums, jewelers must avoid to heat the gemstone directly with the torch flame, clean them with ultrasonic or steam machine.

Use only soapy water and soft cloth to clean your natural gemstone or jewel.

It is considered a valuable gemstone so don’t wear your jewel during sports or intense activity because your Spinel like any other gemstone can chip and broke easily.


Scam and Fraud

The most common scam about this gemstone variety is sell synthetic stone (Verneuil flame fusion or flux melt synthetic) for natural Spinel gemstones.

The red colored variety can be easily confused with Ruby, Rubellite Tourmaline, red Garnet.

The blue colored variety can be easily confused with Sapphire, Topaz, Zircon and Tanzanite.

The pink colored variety can be easily confused with pink Sapphire, Tourmaline, Morganite, Topaz.

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Typical Internal Inclusions

Natural gems usually occurs with visible inclusions internal the crystal, observing them at microscope you can see some interesting octahedral spinel inclusions with “Saturn-ring” stress fractures, octahedral inclusions, apatite inclusions and other kind of inclusions and guest crystals.


Gemological Info

  • Mineral family: Spinel
  • Crystal: Cubic (Octahedral)
  • Density: 3.58 – 3.61
  • Hardness: 7
  • Refractive index: 1.712 – 1.736
  • Optic Character: Isotropic
  • Color: Vary (red, blue, pink, purple, black, orange, brown, yellow)
  • Cause of color: presence of Iron and other impurities
  • Luster: Vitreous
  • Clarity: Type II (usually included)
  • Fluorescent: Strong (red spinel) or weak (blue spinel)
  • Fracture: Conchoidal, uneven
  • Cleavage: Imperfect
  • Durability: Very Good

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