Natural Spinel, in its many colours, has been used in Jewellery for several centuries. A bright and hard and durable unheated natural gem, Spinel is highly desired in the world gem trade and has gained renewed interest and enthusiasm over the past 10 years. Available in a range of red, pink, blue, mauve, steely grey and black colours it is a great alternative for the more expensive Ruby and Sapphire and a more durable option for some of the softer gems like Tanzanite and Tourmaline.
Before modern gemmological testing, Spinel was confused with Sapphire and Ruby as it was found in the same gem deposits. The Black Prince Ruby and Timor Ruby in the Crown Jewels are actually red Spinels, they were only correctly identified in the 1950s.
Spinels specific gravity is 3.55 – 3.72, the refractive index is 1.712 -1.725 singly refractive and the hardness is 8-8.5 on Moh’s scale.
Spinel had been found in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka with limited amounts of fine red coming out of Burma. Newer deposits in Vietnam and Madagascar have contributed to the range of colours and increased availability of this versatile gem. We stock diamond cut rounds in red from 1.2mm to 4mm and larger individual gems in a variety of colours and shapes including the popular Flanders cut. The less expensive black Spinel is available in round and square from 1.5mm to 10mm, assorted sizes in square cushion, oval and emerald cut. It is a great substitute for black Diamond.