Spinel is a gemstone that is loved for its bright and cheerful pink hues, its a gem that truly stands out from the crowd. So, if you're considering a spinel engagement ring then take a look at our ultimate guide to this spectacular gemstone where we'll discover its history



Spinel is a gemstone that is loved for its bright and cheerful pink hues, its a gem that truly stands out from the crowd. So, if you're considering a spinel engagement ring then take a look at our ultimate guide to this spectacular gemstone where we'll discover its history


Synthetic, laboratory grown, laboratory created, man-made, or cultured spinel: Lab grown spinel

MOHS Scale:  This tells us the Hardness (or strength) of a gemstone. Diamonds are the Hardest!

Heat Treating: The act of applying heat to a stone, bringing it to near-melting point to improve colour or clarity. 

Inclusions: An inclusion is a cavity or crystal cluster within a gemstone. These can cause problems if they form too close to the surface, and their presence will often decide the value of a stone.

What is Spinel?

Spinel is a versatile stone and can often be mistaken for other gemstones such as rubies and sapphires, so it has coined the nickname the "great imposter", its versatility and striking colour makes it a perfect choice for a slightly cheaper alternative to its lookalike gems. Spinel is part of the same family as rubies and sapphires, the corundum family. And similar to its sapphire sibling, it can display a rich array of colours such as bright pinks to vibrant blues and reds. Historically, spinel has been adorned in royal jewellery and its rich and luxurious colours mean it continues to capture the hearts of gemstone lovers.

Spinel Meaning

Spinel has rich symbolism and is often associated with strength, protection and is thought to promote rejuvenation, hope and positivity for the wearer. As an ancient gemstone, it has maintained its popularity through its deep, meaningful symbolisms. Spinel has more modernly been assigned to August as its birthstone, adding another level of meaning to the gemstone for those born in the summer month.

Spinel Value

As with any gemstone, the overall value of a spinel gemstone is influenced by four factors (also known as the 4Cs): cut, colour, clarity and colour. This means that spinel that have a more vivid and saturated colour are priced higher and rarer colours such as red and blue will command even higher prices. The price of a spinel rests on its quality, so larger, well cut gems with few inclusions will fetch higher prices on the market. If you would like to learn more about how the 4Cs can effect the price of a gemstone, read our guide dedicated to learning more about them here.

Spinel Hardness

Spinel possesses impressive hardness and durability, making it an excellent choice for jewellery such as engagement, wedding and eternity rings. Spinel lands at 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is therefore more resistant to scratches than other, softer gemstones. Spinel's durability means its a great choice if you're looking for a hardy gemstone that doesn't compromise on beauty. However, its important to remember that despite Spinel's high hardness level, it still needs to be cared for like the precious gemstone it is!

Spinel Rarity

Natural spinel is quite rare and can be difficult to find, and some colours are far more rare than others. With few spinel mining locations in the world, the demand for natural spinel stones is high and some spinel can fetch higher prices than gemstones such as sapphires or rubies. 

There are also colours, such as cobalt blue, which are extremely illusive and command extremely high prices, while the more common pink colours will hold a smaller price tag.

How is Spinel Formed?

Spinel is formed through a process involving high-temperatures and intense pressure within the Earth's crust. The gemstone's structure consists of aluminium, oxygen and other metallic elements which contribute to its diverse range of colours.

""Spinel stands out as a captivating gemstone, renowned for its diverse spectrum of colours, making it an exceptionally versatile choice. It's a great choice if you want to add some colour in your jewellery."


Lab Grown Spinel

Lab grown spinel are becoming more and more popular as the natural stones are so scarce. What makes lab grown spinels so appealing is the ability to control the colour and saturation of the stone, as well as the clarity, size and overall quality.

Laboratory gemstones also offer a more appealing price point as they don't take the same level of manpower, land and materials as natural gems to create. These gemstones are created in a lab setting where the natural conditions of mined spinel are created and sped up to form synthetic gemstones at a quicker pace and more cost efficient way.

Where Does Spinel Come From?

Spinel is found all over the world, with larger sources being in Burma, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Surprisingly, spinel has also been found in American locations such as Montana and North Carolina!

Spinel Colours

Spinel's allure lies in its wide spectrum of colours, ranging from vivid reds and deep blues to vibrant pinks, purples, oranges, and even black. Spinel's diverse colour palette means it has, in the past, been mistaken for other gemstones. Its wide range of colours and hues means its a versatile gemstone choice and makes for interesting and individual pieces of jewellery.

Caring for Your Spinel

Caring for spinel involves a combination of gentle practices. To maintain the gemstone's lustre, avoid exposing spinel jewellery to harsh chemicals, including household cleaners and perfumes, as they can potentially damage the stone. 

Spinel is relatively durable, but it is advisable to store it separately from other jewellery pieces to prevent scratches. Cleaning can be done with a soft brush (a baby toothbrush works fine), mild soap, and warm water, ensuring that any accumulated dirt or oils are gently removed. 

Regular inspections for loose settings or damage are recommended, and professional cleaning by a jeweller can be sought periodically to maintain the gem's brilliance and overall condition.

If you think your jewellery needs a refresh by a professional, book in for our repair and refresh service!

Spinel FAQs

Are spinel expensive?

Spinel is generally more affordable than some other gemstones like diamonds or sapphires, but its price can still vary based on factors such as colour, size, clarity, and origin. The most valuable spinel colours are vibrant reds, often referred to as "ruby-like" spinels, and cobalt blue spinels. These can command higher prices. Synthetic or lab-grown spinel is usually more affordable than natural spinel.

Can spinel change colour?

Sometimes, spinel can seem to have different colours when you look at it from different angles. But it doesn't actually change colour like magic; it's just how the light bounces off of it.

Why is spinel so expensive?

Spinel's price can vary depending on factors like colour, clarity, and size, but it's generally considered more affordable compared to other precious gemstones like diamonds, rubies, or sapphires. However, certain spinel varieties with exceptional qualities, such as vivid red or blue colours, can command high prices due to their rarity and desirability. 

What's the difference between ruby and spinel?

Ruby, a variety of corundum, is known for its deep red hue, often symbolising passion and vitality. It has a long history of being prized as one of the most valuable gemstones, with prices often reflecting its rarity and intensity of colour. On the other hand, spinel comes in a range of colours, including red, but also blue, pink, and more. While red spinel can sometimes resemble ruby, it is generally more affordable

What is the birth month for spinel?

Spinel serves as an alternative birthstone for the month of August. While peridot is the traditional birthstone for August, spinel has gained popularity as an additional birthstone option due to its vibrant colours and growing appreciation