Is a spinel engagement ring right for you and your sweetheart? Learn all about this trendy gem, how to buy, and why it makes an excellent engagement ring stone.
Spinel has been used in jewelry since ancient age, however this gemstone has received the well-deserved attention only recently. Till early 20th century, this spectacular gem was identified as corundum and confused with ruby and sapphire for more than thousand years.
But spinel has successfully made a name for itself over the last couple of decades, and preferred over diamond by many millennial couples for their most cherished possession - the engagement ring.
What is a Spinel?
Spinel is the magnesium aluminum oxide mineral (MgAl2O4) from the larger spinel group of minerals. Much of the spinel used to produce gemstones is obtained from alluvial deposits. Workers wash stream sediment and search through the coarse sand and gravel, looking for colorful mineral grains that might be of value.
Spinel excels in color, luster, hardness, and durability, and therefore is appropriate for almost any use in jewelry. Spinel occurs in spectrum of colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and purple. White, black, gray and colorless spinel are also found. However, the most popular and sought after colors are red and blue (which imitate ruby and sapphire), and an orange-red color known as "flame spinel."
Most spinels of a "ruby-red color" are produced from alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Other countries where spinel is mined include Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Australia, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
Spinel score 8/10 on Mohs scale of hardness, which makes it a great option for daily wear.
How to Buy Spinel Engagement Rings?
Buying a gemstone requires a lot of research and exploration, especially when you are buying an engagement ring. Because this little piece of jewelry has mammoth-sized lifetime memories attached to it.
There are a few key factors that you must consider before buying a spinel ring.
Red spinel is the most sought after, followed by blue spinel, then by vibrant hot pink and vivid orange tones. Violet and bluish purple to purple, or lavender, stones are considered to be less attractive, and therefore are lesser in demands.
Red spinel in the shade ranges of orangish to purplish red, pure red to slightly purplish red in medium to medium-dark tones are considered to be finest among all.
Blue spinel hues range from violet blue through very slightly greenish blue. The best and most highly valued blue spinel colors closely resemble blue sapphire, with intense violet-blue to pure blue colors that are neither too dark nor too light.
Spinel is a type 2 stone which means that it is fine to have some natural internal inclusions. As with mostly other gemstones, spinel which has no inclusion or is eye-clean is more valuable than spinel which has eye-visible inclusions.
Ideally, you should go for spinel that have inclusions barely noticeable to the naked eye. However, in some stones, well-placed inclusions can cause beautiful effects such as star effect or shape of human fingerprint. Overall, you should always ensure that your spinel has a good clarity rating and is free of visual blemishes or inclusions.
Watch What is Spinel - Gemstone Facts and Information:
Spinel is cut in a variety of shapes and cutting styles, but ovals and cushion shapes remain the most popular choices as with many other colored stones. The quality of the cut can make a big difference in beauty and brilliance of a gemstone.
When properly proportioned, spinel displays excellent brilliance. A well-cut spinel sparkle in a lively way, reflecting light back evenly across the entire gem. Also, since fine-quality spinel are in shortage in the market, these are cut in a way to save the weight. Poorly cut gems are not very attractive and sold at a much cheaper price.
Spinel is weighed in carats. Price increases sharply with larger size and higher quality of gemstone. Also, prices rise sharply for fine red, pink, and blue stones above five carats.
One very important thing to be noted is that all gemstones weigh differently for their size because of the difference in their specific gravity. Therefore, experts suggest that shopping by carat weight isn’t always the best way, rather you should be clear of the stone size that you are looking for.
What Type of Setting Works with Spinel?
Though spinel look good in any type of setting, but the best ring settings for spinel are those that protect the gem’s edges. Halo and bezel settings offer great protection to the stone and hold it firmly in place which ensures that your gem will stay beautiful for a lifetime.
Having said that, if you choose to go for delicate and less protective settings, you should take the ring off before indulging any vigorous activity to avoid any damage to the stone.
Cool-colored gems, like blue and violet, look best in white metals like white gold, palladium, or platinum. Warm-colored gems, like red and pink, look great in yellow, rose, and white metal.
The prices of spinel rings can vary widely depending primarily on the gemstone's color, then cut, carat, and clarity. Still, spinel is far less expensive than many other precious gemstones available in the market.
An average quality natural spinel gemstone is valued at $150.00 per carat. However, a fine-quality spinel that is greater than 3 carats in size can be valued at as much as $1,000 per carat. Spinel gemstones that have an intense (saturated) color are also valued much higher than spinel with gray, muddy or washed out color tones.
Faceted cuts which display the gemstone's intense colors to the maximum degree of brilliance are the most desirable and priced much higher. Carat size does not have much impact on the pricing till the gemstone weighs 3 carat or higher.
Spinel is generally highly sought after by gem connoisseurs, and well-formed spinel crystals are in high demand among collectors. Gem-quality red and blue spinels are very rare. They are much less abundant than rubies and sapphires of similar quality and color. But even with equivalent beauty and greater rarity, their prices are much lower than ruby and sapphire.
Is Spinel a Treated Stone?
A very unique feature of Spinel is its lack of treatment. Spinel is typically not treated in any way to enhance it color, brilliance, clarity or durability. Instead, spinel crystal is simply mined and faceted to bring out its natural beauty. This lack of treatment actually lends spinel exclusivity and mystique.
Therefore, if a seller is trying to sell off spinel by bragging about the treatments the stone has undergone, chances are that he is trying to sell imitation or a synthetic stone.
Where to Shop for Spinel Engagement Rings
Spinel is an unusual gemstone, and markets online and offline are often flooded with imitations or synthetic stone. Additionally, as natural spinel doesn’t require to undergo any treatment, still many retailers are trying to market enhanced, dyed, or treated spinel; chances are they aren't even selling you authentic spinel.
Therefore, it is important to choose a jeweler who has great gemological knowledge and expertise. You should buy spinel from reputable retailers that provide certificate of authenticity to make sure that your purchase is a quality authentic spinel ring.
Etsy is one of the most trusted and renowned global online marketplaces. They have an exquisite range of spinel jewelry. With a wide range of spinel jewelry to offer, their jewelry pieces are excellent in quality. Excellent service, exquisite pieces suiting to all budgets are just a few of the perks of shopping from Etsy.
Check out the following shops for authentic, high-quality spinel engagement rings:
Shop now to buy this unusual beauty!