The Wonder of Spinels
Once overlooked, but no longer so, spinels are highly coveted gemstones and the reasons are plenty.
This mineral has a lengthy history. It’s long been mined in Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, gathering a cult following of sorts, and even making a number of appearances in esteemed crown jewels. Which, in fact, leads us to the first of our trivia facts.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this intriguing gemstone.
The Gemstone of Queens and Emperors
In the Middle ages, spinels were commonly mistaken and used in place of rubies in crown jewels.
The singly refractive flaming-vivid red spinels are striking enough to rival rubies’ supremacy. In fact, the world’s most famed one, namely “The Black Prince’s Ruby” is, as a matter of fact, NOT a ruby at all, but you guessed it, a red spinel! The grand, semi-polished, crimson octahedron sits at the fore part of Britain’s Imperial State Crown. Around the mid-1700s, scientists and dealers of the field came to the discovery that spinel and ruby were two distinct minerals. Both contain aluminium, oxygen and chromium but spinels also have magnesium.
Hard and tough for everyday wearability
In our universe, usability and longevity matter immensely. The resistance levels of a rock’s ability to endure scratching is referred to as “hardness”. The “Mohs hardness scale” is the parameter to consult on this topic. A high attribution signifies a gem’s potential to withstand abrasion, and spinel has a hardness of 8 out of 10. They are also very tough, so suited for everyday worn pieces!
The New August Birthstone
In 2016, “Jewellers of America”, named Spinel the birthstone for the month of August. Prior, August-born individuals had the bright warm green Peridot nuances, but now they may count on a myriad of colour choices, thanks to the inclusion of Spinels! This has certainly driven their sales, but most importantly, started a conversation throughout the community and admirers of fine stones.
Colours of the rainbow
They can be found in a wide assortment of glorious colours. Neon reds, pinks and blue shades are especially sought after. But there is also orange, purple, grey and even black ones! Less common are colourless, yellow and green stones. Some are even colour changing!
As far as chemical composition, varying trace elements create the different coloured gems. Spinels impressively bright and wonderful tones are likely their number one selling point!
Mesmerising Crystals and Amazingly Brilliant
One more thing that makes spinels very special are their beautiful crystals. Just like with diamonds, spinels frequently form perfect octahedral crystals. This three-dimensional shape resembles a couple of four-sided pyramids attached at their bases.
If you do happen to already be in the possession of a spinel, try placing it under a light. Granted, you will be dazzled! The immense brilliance you should be able to witness is actually a reflection of the light off of its surface: the measure of quality and intensity we refer to as “lustre”.
If they were once overlooked, that is surely no longer the case. All in all, spinel’s popularity has been growing quickly, which is only fitting. Their impressive colours and crystals make them a wonderful choice!