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Spinel Gemstone Prices
Spinel has long been a favorite of gem dealers, but in recent years it has become very popular with gem collectors and jewelry lovers as well. Because the supply of natural spinel is very limited, you are unlikely to find it at retail jewelry shops. The spinel trade is mainly the province of specialized gem dealers who trade in the finest stones.
Prices on fine spinel have risen with increased demand, though spinel prices continue to be attractive relative to ruby and sapphire. When you consider that almost all the spinel is the market is completely untreated, it is still quite a bargain compared to prices for unheated corundum. Because spinel has excellent hardness (8 on the Mohs scale), it is an gem suitable for all types of jewelry.
Spinel prices are based on color, clarity, size and, to some degree, on origin. Spinel occurs in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, gray and black. Star spinels are known, but are extremely rare. Certain colors are more valuable, especially reds and strong pinks. Many spinels have a significant gray secondary hue, and these colors are much less valuable.
|Mahenge Spinel and
Diamond Ring in 18k White Gold
The main sources for spinel are Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the Badakshan region on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Until recently, the highest prices were paid for red spinel from the Mogok region of Burma, particularly for pure reds over 2 carats. But in 2007 some superb pink-red spinels were discovered in Mahenge, Tanzania. These extraordinary gems have a neon-like glow that is unique in the gems world, and these Mahenge spinels are now regarded as the best in the world.
Fine spinels from both Burma and Tanzania are still very affordable in sizes under 1 carat, with prices ranging from $200 to $500 a carat for good colors. But prices go up exponentially with size. Top reds and pinks typically sell for $600 to $1,200 a carat in the 1-2 ct size, but increase dramatically over 2 carats. Top spinels in the 2 to 5 carat size will often sell for $3,000 to $5,000 a carat. For the very rare stones over 5 carats, prices in the range of $8,000 to $10,000 per carat are not unusual for the top colors.