Spinel Once often confused with Ruby
Colours Various

Spinel: MgAl2O4



Refractive Index

1.71 - 1.73

Specific Gravity

3.58 - 3.61

Crystal System


Enhancements Not know to be enhanced
Major Sources

Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Russia, Madagascar & Vietnam

Warnings for Care Fracturing may occur with high - intense heat

Spinel Facts

The derivation of Spinel's name is rather unclean, the current front runners are either  from the Greek for spark "spintharis" or the Latin for point "spina", and to compound this it was for many years mistakenly identified as Ruby and Sapphire.

Spinel can be found in a range of beautiful pastel shades of pink, purple, orange, blue, and almost every conceivable colour in between. Making  Spinels a veritable chameleon for discerning gem buyers. The intense rich Ruby-like red is the perennial colour of choice

One of the gem worlds best kept secrets, Spinel is treasured for its brilliance and spectacular colors, this coupled with a high hardness (8 on the Moh's scale), and typically high clarity  make this an ideal although rare gemstone for jewellery.

Topics Of Interest:
Spinel- What Causes the Colour
Purchasing Spinel
Mineable Deposits
Spinel - Common Treatments
Important & Famous Spinel
Spinel - The Legend

Spinel - What Causes the Colour

Spinel can be found in a range of beautiful pastel shades of pink, purple, orange, blue, and a myriad of colours in between. The causal agents for colour in Spinels are Chromium, Iron, Vanadium (Cobalt Blue Spinel) and Zinc (Gahnite)


Certain colours had been assigned specific names while others are merely prefixed with a colour before the word Spinel.


Ayanna Spinel: A red to pink Spinel


Balas Ruby: A transparent red Spinel


Ceylonite: A dark green to black opaque Spinel.


Cobalt Blue Spinel: A rich velvety blue sapphire coloured Spinel.


Flame Spinel: An orange-red variety of Spinel


Piconite: A brown coloured Spinel.


Gahnite: A green-blue spinal


Red Spinel: An intense rich Ruby-like red Spinel.


Rubicelle: A yellow Spinel.


Other varieties are Blue Spinel (pale to deep blue with a grey overtone),and  Fancy Spinel (purple, violet, pink in pastel shades), 


Purchasing Spinel



The most valuable, prized and popular colour for Spinel is an intense rich Ruby-like red.


With the exception of certain color change varieties that turn from a light grey blue in natural light to a light purple under incandescent light, Spinel looks as good under all light conditions.


Spinel is very commonly eye clean and as such this is the clarity of choice. Star Spinels exhibit both 4 and 6 rayed stars are found, in translucent stones with a high fibrous needle content.


No specific cut seeks preference over another in the creation of a Spinel gemstone. Although good quality cutting is important to ensure the brilliant of this high refractive index stone.

Spinel was historically mine in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar. Recently gem quality Spinels have been found in Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, and Madagascar. Tanzania with it new deposits (2007) near Matombo, looks set to become a prolific producer in the future.

Spinel is not known to be artificially enhanced in any way. Synthetic Spinel has though been in production since the 1920's, and today ranks second only to Cubic Zirconia, in terms of volume sales. Synthetic Spinel is the base material of an entire industry of gem simulants, providing access for many  to the latest fashion hues at a fraction of the price of a natural stone.

Only as recently as 150 years ago was Spinel identified as being a gem family on its own. Till that time it has been considered as a member of the Corundum family, often being mistaken for Ruby and Sapphire. Two of these famous"mistakes are the "Black Prince's Ruby" and the "Timor Ruby" in the British crown jewels, which are now correctly identified as Spinels.

Spinels were once associated with sorcery and the dark art, specifically demonology

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