Learn More About Spinel Gemstones

Spinel Gemstones


The Spinel is a stunning gemstone that is formed as crystals in the shape of octahedrons (eight plane shapes in three-dimensional form) in contact metamorphosed limestone, metamorphic rocks and igneous rocks.

Interestingly, Rubies and Spinels occur on the same site, because both require magnesium and aluminium to propagate.

Spinels are formed first. Then as decades pass, Rubies come into being when the magnesium in that place is exhausted, leaving only aluminium.

Spnel rough crystals

Spinel rough crystals


Spinel – The Royal Gemstone

Throughout history, Red Spinel has been used as a substitute for Rubies in the crown jewels of royal families. A typical example would be the Black Prince’s Ruby in the front cross of the British Imperial State Crown, which is, in fact, a large and spectacular Red Spinel.

Spinel Facts  

Color – Red is the most common color associated with Spinel. The quantity of Chromium is what determines the redness.

Blue Spinel is also highly in demand, next to red. Black, brown, purple, yellow, violet, mauve, orange and green are the other colors that you would find when searching for Spinel.

Impurities in the stone’s composition are responsible for these color variations and different colored Spinels have been labelled accordingly, as listed below –

Orange - Flame Spinel
Blue - Cobalt / Blue Spinel
Red - Ruby Spinel
Yellowish Orange - Rubicelle
Pink - Balas Ruby
Violet - Almandine Spinel
Black - Pleonaste
Brown - Picotite

Clarity – Whether the stones are transparent, semi-transparent or opaque, they all display a glossy luster. Inclusions such as bits of crystal are sometimes present in opaque stones. And translucent ones have almost invisible fractures.

Cut – Being a hard stone, it is easily cut into almost any shape. However, the Spinel’s beauty is shown off at its best as a cushion cut gem. Oval, emerald and round are other shapes that are favored for Spinels.
Price – Though the Spinel is an affordable gemstone, it is priced higher than some other semi-precious stones. Also keep in mind that individual stones command prices depending on the color, with red and blue right on top.
Spinels with bright and intense colors that are almost flawless are considered premium products, so be prepared for a matching price tag.

Where is Spinel Mined From?

The foremost Spinel producer is Myanmar.

Sri Lanka is the second highest contributor, exporting stunning violet and blue stones.

Black Spinel is found mostly in Thailand and Madagascar.

Other Spinel mines are located in diverse parts of the world such as Tanzania, Vietnam, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the USA, Canada and Tajikistan.


Spinel Jewelry

Spinel gemstones in several amazing colors are used in jewelry. The Ashanti Jewels collection has a wonderful selection of Black Spinel dangle earrings with 925 Sterling Silver ear hooks and Black Spinel pendants that come with genuine 925 Sterling Silver cable chains.


Wearing Spinel jewelry is believed to be an effective stress reliever. People down the ages believed it could invigorate and rejuvenate the body, making the wearer feel active and fresh.


How to Care for Spinel Jewelry 

Spinel is a durable gemstone due to its hard composition, so is not likely to scratch or splinter easily. But careful handling is always essential, and warm soapy water with a soft brush is all you need to keep your Spinel gemstone jewelry sparkling clean.

Enjoy your Spinel Jewelry and step out in style!
Crystal system Cubic
Crystal class Hexoctahedral
Color Various; red, pink, blue, lavender/violet, dark green, brown, black, colourless
Crystal habit Octehedra or flat triangular plates caused by twinning
Twinning common
Cleavage None
Fracture Conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness 7.5–8.0
Luster Vitreous
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent to Opaque
Specific gravity (depending on the composition) the rare, Zn-rich spinel can be as high as 4.40, otherwise, it averages from 3.58-3.61
Optical properties Isotropic
Refractive index 1.719
Pleochroism Absent
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