A - C
A (58)
B (45)
C (86)

THE MINERAL SPINEL



Spinel is a very attractive and historically important gemstone mineral. Its typical red color, although pinker, rivals the color of ruby. In fact, many rubies of notable fame belonging to crown jewel collections were found to actually be spinels. Perhaps the greatest mistake is the Black Prince's Ruby set in the British Imperial State Crown. Whether these mistakes were accidents or clever substitutions of precious rubies for the less valuable spinels by risk taking jewelers, history is unclear. The misidentification is meaningless in terms of the value of these gems for even spinel carries a considerable amount of worth and these stones are priceless based on their history, let alone their carat weight and pedigree.

Today, expensive rubies are still substituted for by spinel in much the same way a diamond is substituted by cubic zirconia. Not to commit a fraud or theft but to prevent one. Spinel may take the place of a ruby that would have been displayed in public by an owner who is insecure about the rubies safety. The spinel probably is still valuable but better to lose a $100,000 dollar spinel than a $1 million dollar ruby!

Spinel and ruby are chemically similar. Spinel is magnesium aluminum oxide and ruby is aluminum oxide. This is probably why the two are similar in a few properties. Not suprisingly, the red coloring agent in both gems is the same element, chromium. Spinel and Ruby also have similar luster (refractive index), density, and hardness. Although ruby is considerably harder (9) than spinel, spinel's hardness (7.5 - 8) still makes it one of the hardest minerals in nature.

Spinel may be the poorer cousin of ruby, but its pinker color and other qualities make it attractive in its own right. Spinel typically forms nicely proportioned octahedrons. But it is famous for a type of twinning that bears its name, the Spinel Twin Law. Spinel Law twinning is also found in other isometric minerals such as diamond, galena, cristobalite, magnetite, franklinite and other members of the spinel group. This type of twinning produces a twin plane that is parallel to one of the octahedral faces. The plane acts as a mirror plane and produces a left and right side that are mirror images of each other. This may not sound all that spectacular for a very symmetrical mineral like spinel which is loaded with mirror planes. However this mirror plane is not parallel to any of the others and actually lowers the symmetry of the crystal (only in appearances though).

A good description of the twin is hard to explain, but here it goes. The plane falls (of course) in the center of the crystal, dividing it in half. The two octahedron faces parallel to the twin plane are equilateral triangles. Each point of the triangles is doubled across the twin plane with an indentation between them. The crystal looks like it has trigonal symmetry, but the three indentations are a clue that this crystal is a twin. Twins of spinel are rare, but their popularity makes them readily available on the market.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is red, green, blue, purple, brown, and black; but red is by far the more common color.
  • Luster is vitreous.
  • Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent and sometimes nearly opaque.
  • Crystal System: Isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
  • Crystal Habits include the typical octahedron, but can be found as dodecahedrons and combinations of other isometric forms. Also as rounded grains in alluvial placer deposits.
  • Cleavage: None
  • Fracture is conchoidal.
  • Hardness is 7.5-8.0
  • Specific Gravity is 3.6-4.0
  • Streak is white.
  • Other Characteristics: index of refraction is approximately 1.71 - 1.76 and rutile inclusions may produce six or four rayed stars or asterisms.
  • Associated Minerals include calcite, dolomite, corundum and garnets.
  • Notable Occurrences include Burma, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Afghanistan.
  • Best Field Indicators are twinned crystals if present, color, hardness, density and locality.
Spinel Jewelry - Hover over an item for more information
Ross-Simons Black Spinel Cord Bracelet in Sterling Silver
Trimmed by black spinel ovals, this black cord bracelet is sleek and oh-so chic. Wear alone or stack it up with other styles for a layered look. Adjustable cord, sterling silver bracelet.Only $97.50 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons Black Spinel Cord Bracelet in Sterling Silver
$97.50
Ross-Simons
Ross-Simons 1.30 ct. t.w. Black Spinel and .60 ct. t.w. CZ Ring in Sterling Silver
Drama reigns spreme with this fabulous 1.30 ct. t.w. black spinel and .60 ct. t.w. CZ ring. Angular design not only commands attention, but also captivated the imagination. Sterling silver ring. CZ weights are diamond equivalents.Only $325.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons 1.30 ct. t.w. Black Spinel and .60 ct. t.w. CZ Ring in Sterling Silver
$325.00
Ross-Simons
Batu Classic Chain Silver Extra-Small Bracelet with Pink Spinel, Size M - John Hardy
From the Classic Chain Collection. Sterling silver woven chain. Hidden push clasp adorned with pave pink spinel. Size Medium. 7 1/2inL. Handcrafted in Bali. About this collection: John Hardy is one of the last companies to weave chain by hand, and the...Only $395.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoBatu Classic Chain Silver Extra-Small Bracelet with Pink Spinel, Size M - John Hardy
$395.00
Neiman Marcus
Ross-Simons Set of 5.00ct t.w. Blue Topaz Earrings, Black Spinel Earring Jackets
Slip on the included black spinel round earring jackets to add a sleek contrast to these cool blue 5.00 ct. t.w. topaz stud earrings. Post/clutch, black rhodium-plated sterling silver earrings and earring jackets. Blue Topaz birthstones are the perfect...Only $105.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons Set of 5.00ct t.w. Blue Topaz Earrings, Black Spinel Earring Jackets
$105.00
Ross-Simons
Stardust Pave Spinel Ring - MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza
Speaking to a timeless lust for luster, MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza details this ring with delightfully dark black spinel and sterling silver. Black rhodium-plated sterling silver. Pave black spinel. 1/2inW. Slim band.Only $450.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoStardust Pave Spinel Ring - MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza
$450.00
Neiman Marcus
Pave Spinel Sterling Silver Cross Pendant - Konstantino
Konstantino presents a timeless symbol of faith with this cross pendant crafted in bright sterling silver, 18-karat yellow gold, and dark black spinel. From the Plato Men's Collection. Sterling silver. 18-karat yellow gold. Pave black spinel. 1 1/2inL....Only $750.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoPave Spinel Sterling Silver Cross Pendant - Konstantino
$750.00
Neiman Marcus
ONLINE ONLY - Alexandra Gem Lab-Created Blue Spinel & White Sapphire Ring, Womens
This statement ring is quite dazzling, flaunting a checkerboard-cut blue spinel framed in 14K gold over sterling silver and shimmering white sapphires. The large center stone has an open-back, lending more sparkle as light shines through. Metal: 14K...Only $249.99 at jcpenney
no photoONLINE ONLY - Alexandra Gem Lab-Created Blue Spinel & White Sapphire Ring, Womens
$249.99
jcpenney
Dragon-Head Ring - John Hardy
Naga means dragon in Balinese and is a symbol of health and prosperity. With intricate dragon detailing, delightfully dark black sapphire, and red spinel accents, who knows what will come your way when you wear this John Hardy ring? From the Naga...Only $795.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoDragon-Head Ring - John Hardy
$795.00
Neiman Marcus
Ross-Simons Black Spinel, .60ct t.w. Multi-Stone Marquise Earrings in Silver
These marquise earrings have an exotic aura, centering .30 ct. t.w. of marquise tanzanites in frames of .30 ct. t.w. white topaz and black spinel Post/clutch, sterling silver earrings.Only $90.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons Black Spinel, .60ct t.w. Multi-Stone Marquise Earrings in Silver
$90.00
Ross-Simons
Ross-Simons 5.00ct Green Amethyst, 10.85ct t.w. Black Spinel Ring, CZs in Silver
A wonderfully stunning creation like this 5.00 carat green amethyst and 10.85 ct. t.w. black spinel ring with CZs will add a sensational dimension of elan to your jewelry collection. The enigmatic oval green amethyst centerpiece is glorious in its...Only $125.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons 5.00ct Green Amethyst, 10.85ct t.w. Black Spinel Ring, CZs in Silver
$125.00
Ross-Simons
ONLINE ONLY - Alexandra Gem Multicolor Briolette Bracelet, Womens
Featuring a festival of lush colors, this briolette gemstone bracelet makes every day feel like a party. Metal: Rhodium-plated 14K yellow gold over sterling silverStones: Lab-created yellow/green quartz, blue spinel, pink ruby, and amethyst,...Only $187.49 at jcpenney
no photoONLINE ONLY - Alexandra Gem Multicolor Briolette Bracelet, Womens
$187.49
jcpenney
Ross-Simons Set of 8mm Black Spinel Earrings, 3.00ct t.w. Rhodolite Garnet Earring Jackets
Wrap these sleek 8mm black spinel stud earrings in a lush garland with the included 3.00 ct. t.w. rhodolite garnet round earring jackets. The perfect day-to-night set! Post/clutch, black rhodium-plated sterling silver earrings and earring jackets.Only $142.50 at Ross-Simons
no photoRoss-Simons Set of 8mm Black Spinel Earrings, 3.00ct t.w. Rhodolite Garnet Earring Jackets
$142.50
Ross-Simons
Beaded Golden Chandelier Earrings - Devon Leigh
18-karat yellow gold plate with etched finish. 14-karat yellow gold French wire backs. Faceted black spinel beads. 4 1/4inL x 1 3/4inW. Made in USA.Only $370.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoBeaded Golden Chandelier Earrings - Devon Leigh
$370.00
Neiman Marcus
Gold & Spinel Shield Ring - Gurhan
This Gurhan ring has a lot in common with you-uptown elegance with downtown cool. The combination of the statement shield silhouette with light-catching, hammered 24-karat gold and intricate etching gives this ring a timeless aesthetic, which is at...Only $450.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoGold & Spinel Shield Ring - Gurhan
$450.00
Neiman Marcus
Dragon-Head Ring - John Hardy
Naga means dragon in Balinese and is a symbol of health and prosperity. With intricate dragon detailing, smoldering red sapphire, and spinel accents, who knows what will come your way when you wear this John Hardy ring? From the Naga Collection....Only $795.00 at Neiman Marcus
no photoDragon-Head Ring - John Hardy
$795.00
Neiman Marcus
This Site Awarded
Available SPINEL specimens:
no photo
SPI-33
$ 38.50
no photo
see this List of ALL specimens including SOLD ones