Spinel Jewelry

Red Spinel and Diamond Ring in 18k Gold
Spinel and Diamond Ring in 18k Gold

 Natural spinel is one of the rarest and most beautiful gemstones in the world. But if you want a piece of spinel jewelry you will probably need to buy a loose spinel from a specialized dealer and have it set by a custom jeweler. For you are unlikely to find natural spinel jewelry at your typical retail jewelry shop.

The reason is that natural spinel is a scarce commodity and the supply has never been sufficient to supply commercial jewelry manufacturers. The supply of high quality material in particular is very limited, and even specialized dealers struggle to find good stones.

Spinel occurs in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and black. Pure colors are hard to find in spinel, since many spinels have a grey or brown modifier. The most valuable colors are the pure reds and pinks.

Spinel is a close relative of sapphire and ruby, and is often found in the same deposits. This is not surprising, since they are chemically very similar: spinel is magnesium aluminum oxide where cordundum is aluminum oxide. But where sapphire and ruby are doubly refractive, spinel is one of the few singly refractive gemstones (a property it shares with diamond and garnet).

While not quite as hard as ruby and sapphire -- spinel rates an 8 on the Mohs scale, compared to 9 for corundum -- spinel has exceptional brilliance and sparkle. Spinel forms in cubic crystals like diamond. But where diamond has perfect cleavage, spinel has only indistinct cleavage, making it very durable. 

One of the great attractions of spinel is that it is almost always completely natural and untreated. By contrast, most of the ruby and sapphire in the market has been heat treated to improve the clarity and color, and untreated corundum of fine color commands a premium price in the market. This makes untreated spinel a tremendous value in the market.

Mahenge Spinel Suite 36.24 cts
Mahenge Spinel Suite, 41 pieces, 36.24 cts

Burmese spinel has been a great favorite of gem dealers for many years, but it was the discovery of some very special vivid pink-red spinel in Mahenge, Tanzania in 2007 that really raised spinel's profile with gem collectors and discriminating jewelry buyers. The vivid color of the Mahenge spinel is unique in the gem world and this unusual material has a neon glow even under low light conditions.

Because of spinel's excellent hardness and lack of cleavage, it is suitable for all kinds of jewelry. Its outstanding brilliance and fire make for eye catching rings, pendants and earrings, especially with diamond accents. We have even created some elaborate suites of matching spinels that will delight the most discerning collector.

See our collection of Fine Spinel Gems