While the spinel gemstone has been used for centuries, it has been a topic of debate more often than none. As a result, people are only recently beginning to give the stone the recognition that it deserves.
Back in the day, the beautiful orange-red stone was often mistaken for a ruby. It wasn’t until 1783 when Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle identified the difference between the two stones. This led to many stones that were previously thought of as rubies turning out to be spinel instead! While the stone is available in a wide variety of colours, the vibrant red stones are the most popular and are known as flame spinels.
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What Is A Spinel Gem?
The spinel gem had also often been mistaken as corundum, as the two stones were often found in the same mine. These two stones are, of course, different and have different chemical make up. Another blow to the stone’s reputation came when jewelry owners were informed that their prized possessions were not sapphires or rubies and were instead a “common” spinel.
Additionally, the spinel gem is available as a synthetic spinel and is common and inexpensive. It is also often used as a substitute for more expensive gemstones, which has further impacted the perceived value and reputation of the stone.
The truth is, the natural spinel stone is rare and incredibly beautiful.
With more inferior quality rubies and sapphires undergoing extensive treatments to boost their quality, more and more people are beginning to appreciate the humble natural spinel stone.
This beautiful stone is also the symbol for the 22nd wedding anniversary and is one of the more unique wedding anniversary stones and is also the alternative August birthstone. It’s available in so many different colours and can be used to make all sorts of jewelry.
The Meaning of the Spinel Gem
While many people associate the diamond with love, the truth is that the red spinel is the true stone of love. The stone is believed to help people put their egos aside and become devoted to one another. The red colour of the stone is also associated with longevity, passion, and devotion – a common characteristic of most red gemstones.
The red spinel gemstone is linked to the root chakra and is beneficial in boosting stamina and energy, as well as boost mental stamina, improve memory and boost cognitive abilities.
Properties of Spinel Gem
The minerals in a spinel gem are magnesium aluminium oxide and other impurities, the latter of which will affect the colour of the stone.
If chromium is present, the stone will have orange, pink or red colouring. The spinel has isometric crystal systems and is known for its spinel twinning. This is when two octahedral crystals fuse at the base of the stone. The colour of the spinel stone can be transparent or opaque, with the lustre varying between submetallic, vitreous, or dull.
How to Care for Spinel Gem
This hardy stone has a Mohs hardness of 8. As a result, it can be cleaned and cared for using multiple cleaning techniques without the risk of damaging the stone.
Ultrasonic machines and steam cleaners are safe to use, although soapy water and a cloth will clean the stone quite effectively. It is, however, advisable not to boil the stone to clean it. Additionally, it’s suggested that you store it away from other jewelry to prevent it from damaging other softer stones in your collection.
Are Spinels Valuable?
The spinel gem has been no stranger to controversy. As a result, the value of the stone has been affected. The spinel gemstone is rare, but because it has often been labelled as an imitation ruby or sapphire, it never had the opportunity to build a good reputation.
This common confusion has even resulted in the stone mistakenly being added to the royal crown jewels collection. In fact, there are two spinel gems in the English crown jewels. One of the most famous gems is the Black Prince’s Ruby, which is actually a red spinel. The Black Prince’s Ruby is a massive gem of 17 carats. As a result, the price and value of spinels in general have begun to increase, especially with the pink, red and blue stones.
Spinels Color & Price
What determines the value of the spinel is the color. This stone is an allochromatic gem, which means that it is purest when it is colorless. The presence of cobalt, iron and chromium will lead to the different colors of the stone. It can result in colors such as red, orange, black, green, pink, lavender and purple. The most valuable spinel stones have a red hue, strong saturation, and medium tone.
Considering the fact that red spinel was easily mistaken for rubies, the red color was often seen as more valuable. While highly saturated reds are the most popular, these gems have hues of purple and orange roo. All of this said, a high-quality spinel gem is only worth a tenth of the value of a ruby of the same quality. Flame spinel stones are another sought-after color due to their orange hues. The bright orange and pink stones are a favourite, although they are not as valuable.
Blue spinel is the next high-value color and ranges from violet-blue to a greenish-blue, however, most stones appear to be greyish blue. The deep blue spinel color that arises when the stone is colored with cobalt is the most coveted, as it often resembles a sapphire.
This leads us to the purple colored stone, which can be valuable when it has strong saturation. It is worth noting that the dark violet and purple stones are not as popular. Spinels with a greyish tinge are also not as valuable and this is a standard rule for all colors.
The Spinel Gem Has Value In So Many Aspects
While many people are still not sure about the spinel gemstone, the fact that they are beginning to receive more attention speaks volumes.
Throw in the fact that the Hope Spinel, a spinel stone in a brooch setting, sold for almost $1.5 million while the Imperial Mughal necklace with red spinels sold for over $5 million in 2011. These gems are worth investing in, and are a great stone to add to any collection.