June 11, 2020

Natural Spinel Gemstones

Spinel classifies a whole group of mineral with similarities but only a few are of gemstone quality.  There are two explanations for the origin of the name.  One is that it comes from the Greek word for spark which is “spitha” and the other is from the Latin word for thorn which is “spina”.

Spinel was an unappreciated gem until recently. Rapid increase of Ruby and also the Ruby alternatives increased the price of Red spinels.  Other types of spinels have also gained traction among gem lovers.


Mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle identified spinel as a different mineral to Ruby.

Before that spinels were confused with Ruby and sapphires. In ancient times, mines in South Asia has produced exceptionally large stones.  Best examples are the “Black Price Ruby” in the British imperial state crown and the “Timur Ruby” in a necklace in the English Crown Jewels. Both were initially thought to be Rubies.

Spinel is one of the most unappreciated types of gems in the history mainly due to the confusion with Ruby and sapphire.

The problem now a days is the mass production of synthetic spinel.  Synthetic spinels are widely available so much so that most consumers do not even know that there is a natural version of the stone.

Mineral Facts

Chemical formula – MgAl2O4

Color  – Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Brown, Orange, Violet, Purple, Black , White

Hardness – 8

Density – 3.54 – 3.63

Cleavage- Indistinct

Crystal system – (Cubic), octahedron, twins, rhombic dodecahedron

Transparency – Transparent to opaque

Refractive index – 1.712 – 1.762

Double refraction – None ( Some spinel demonstrate anomalous refraction )

Pleochroism – Absent

Treatments and Enhancements

Treatments for spinels are not very common hence treated spinels are rarely encountered.  The two most common types of treatments for spinels are

1.Clarity Enhancement

2. Heat Treatment

Clarity Enhancement

Fissure are filled with reduce their visibility.  Oils and other materials are introduced into fissures to make it less reflective and reduce visibility. This is the type of treatment or enhancement that you will encounter the most as it is common for any type of gemstone.

These fillings can easily be detected via a microscope or a jeweler’s loupe.  An iridescence (the phenomenon of certain surfaces that appear to gradually change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes) is generally visible along a filled fissure. In addition, areas of higher relief may also be evident where the filling of a fissure was incomplete or the filler has been partially removed.

Heat Treatment

Throughout most of history of gemology, it was believed that heating cannot improve the quality of spinels. However, around 2005, some researchers found heat treated spinels and discovered that the heat treatment was performed not to enhance the color but to improve the transparency of some stones.  This is done at a temperature between 950 to 1150 Celsius.

Spinel Gemstone Meanings and Benefits

There are many popular beliefs about Spinels. We are putting down what we have found but we do not have any evidence to decide whether these believes are true or not.

A stone of revitalization

This stone can re-energize all aspects of your life making it an ideal choice for hard workers and workaholics.

The stone will help you to get rid of your low motivation and energy while releasing your stress and anxieties.  Stone brings you hope and inspiration.

It will help you keep fighting and determined. It will help you focus on actions to make things better and keep hopeful about the bright future.

All in all, the stone will help you to overcome challenges in your life by injecting new positive enrgies and removing all bad energies.

The stone will also help you to sharpen your intelligence and unearth hidden personal power. It will help you to put aside your fears and drive towards success while stimulating your creativity.

Boosting your health

Spinel will help you to overcome anxiety and nervousness.

It will help to purify your body by removing toxic materials. Spinel will positively influence treatments of body pains, joints and bones and also recovery from illnesses and trauma.

Helping you financially

The effect of spinel on your positive energy which will keep you focused and believing in your course will indirectly benefit your financial goals.

Black spinel is specially believed to help you in getting rid of negative influences including those who discourage you.

Love and Relationships

The same effect on your positive energies will help you in your relationships. Stone will help you to get rid of negative thoughts and feelings and focus on the positives

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