Spinel Gemstone Information
Spinel is a breathtaking gem. However, the spinel gemstone doesn't always get its due, mainly because it's been labelled as an "imitation" form of other stones. In reality, spinel has a unique natural beauty that should stand on its own, allowing everyone to appreciate it as a fantastic gem in its own right.
If you're curious about the spinel gem, including its properties, colour, and history, here's what you need to know about the spinel stone.
What are Spinels? When it comes to the spinel properties, it's important to understand that the term "spinel" is used both to describe a specific oxide mineral and a group of minerals. Every mineral in the group has the same crystal structure, often forming in octahedral-shaped crystals.
Overall, the spinel gem is around an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. It's also reasonably tough against physical and chemical weathering, allowing it to withstand harsh conditions better than other gemstones. However, it does tend to be a bit brittle, though not to the point where using it in jewelry tends to be problematic.
While spinel is a mineral, calling it a crystal or gemstone feels apt. While it can run from transparent to opaque, the transparent versions are the most popular for ornamental purposes. They have a glassy surface like many other jewelry-quality gems
Like many other gems, spinel comes in an array of colours. Some of the more widely known versions are the red, pink, purple, and blue spinel stone variants. However, black, green, yellow, brown, and clear specimens are also around, as well as hues created by blending some of the previously mentioned colours.
Overall, the majority of spinel gems are red, akin to rubies. Since the hue can vary, some red stones to be classified as pink spinel gemstones. However, there are also pink spinel gems that feature slightly different compositions, causing them to qualify as their own version of the stone.
Blue spinel stone tends to resemble sapphire. However, it can also come in a range of hues, varying from soft sky blue to a dramatic midnight blue.
Black spinel stones are another popular version. The colour is dramatic, and when cut, light makes segments look like steel or tungsten. For the cost, it is one of the most attractive black gemstones, comparable to black onyx, black tourmaline or even black diamonds.
However, since spinel occurs in so many colours, you can find nearly any hue in the rainbow represented. From fiery oranges to delicate greens to vibrant violets, there's likely a spinel gem that fits the bill.
The History of Spinel
Generally speaking, spinel is purely an ornamental stone historically. Along with being used in jewelry, it's also made its way into artistic designs throughout the ages. Many collectors also appreciate spinel, including in its raw form.
One interesting point about spinel is that the gem has been confused with sapphire and rubies for more than a millennium. One prime example of this kind of mistake is the "Black Prince's Ruby." This crown jewel is actually a spinel. The same is true of the "ruby" in the crown of Catherine the Great.
However, synthetic spinel is used for other purposes. It's got a glass-like appearance but is significantly more capable of resisting pressure, allowing it to have commercial and military uses.
Where Is Spinel Found?
Spinel is found all around the globe. For example, high-quality specimens have been discovered in Canada, Germany, Italy, Madagascar, Myanmar, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, the United States, and Vietnam.
It's possible to find spinel jewelry from a wide variety of sources. Chain jewellers frequently have pieces featuring this stone, particularly black spinel jewelry. Plus, you'll find options from independent designers, too.
Spinel earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings are all commonly available. Typically, you'll find that most pieces feature faceted stones, especially gemstones with good clarity. However, you can also find cabochons if you prefer that look.
In some cases, pieces may also feature spinel beads. Those are popular for strand necklaces and bracelets, and they occasionally make an appearance in earrings as well.
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The cost of spinel jewelry can vary significantly. Some pieces have substantial price tags, while others are relatively affordable. The colour of the spinel often plays a role, as well as the size, cut, and clarity of the stone itself.
However, compared to some other stones of similar colouring, spinel is the more affordable option. Faceted spinel stones are particularly striking. For example, red and blue spinel can be less expensive than rubies or sapphires with similar sizes, cuts, and clarities, making it a reasonable alternative.
The spinel gemstone meaning varies both by belief system and the colour of the stone. Along with some general spinel stone meaning information, you can find unique perspectives on the stone's black, pink, and blue versions.
Some think that the main spinel gem meaning focuses on revitalization and re-energization, while others feel the spinel stone meaning is more about inspiration and innovation. The stone has also been associated with persistence and determination, as well as optimism in the face of hardship.
Spinel is also a birthstone. The spinel birthstone month is August, giving it a special connection to anyone born during that month. Any colour can qualify as the spinel birthstone, allowing those who want to celebrate their birth month to choose the hue that means the most to them.
When it comes to the pink spinel meaning, some connect the gem with youthfulness and vigour, as well as combating negative energies. As for the blue spinel meaning, it's also associated with preventing the influence of negative energies, though it's also thought to be calming and tension-reducing.
As for the black spinel meaning, many feel it can help a person release negative emotions. Some also think it helps spur inspiration.
When it comes to other black spinel metaphysical properties, the gem is viewed as a grounding stone. It's also said to assist those struggling with grief.
On the healing side, the black spinel healing properties are said to connect to detoxification. Some also feel it assists with leg-related issues and promotes a healthy lymphatic system. However, there's no proof that spinel – or any other stone – can prevent or treat any medical condition. If you're experiencing a health-related issue, see a medical professional to ensure it's properly diagnosed, treated, and managed.
Stones Similar to Spinel
There are quite a few stones similar to spinel, especially when you take all of the spinel colours together. Red, pink, and blue spinel gems are frequently confused with rubies and sapphires, so much so that some famous gems were initially mislabeled as ruby or sapphire.
For black spinel gemstones, black tourmaline can be a solid stand-in. Tourmaline in specific hues – as well as topaz – can also resemble other spinel colours, including blue, green, pink, and yellow.
With orange spinel, andesine or orange sapphire are reasonable substitutes. With colourless spinel, essentially any other colourless gem could work. Along with tourmaline, quartz, diamond, zircon, and many others may have similar looks.
However, this technically only scratches the surface of the gems that can look similar to spinel. Spinel is simply available in such a wide array of colours that any stone with similar transparency could potentially match one form or another. As a result, you may want to let price be your guide when choosing a gemstone in a hue you enjoy.