Spinel is considered to be a noble mineral with a rich palette of shades. Its chemical composition is close to rubies and sapphires. This colored stone belongs to rare minerals. Because of this, high-quality samples are rated very high, up to several thousand dollars per carat. Experts note a shortage of jewelry spinel offers on the world market. The market value of the stones is influenced by the color of the crystals, especially its saturation, as well as its purity and origin. The cost for different color variations is very different.
In the windows of jewelry stores there are practically no items decorated with noble spinel. The rarity of natural minerals makes craftsmen perform custom-made pieces of jewelry only on order. Specialists of many world famous jewelry brands create exclusive jewelry with spinel of different colors, which are the highlight of their collections.
The main color varieties of spinel
Red spinel belongs to the highest price category. The presence of additional color shades (orange, purple or burgundy) reduces the price of red spinel.
Pink spinel is also quite expensive. The best stones are exported from Burma (Myanmar) and Tanzania. The market value of red and pink stones is constantly increasing.
Minerals with a blue or light-blue color, are among the most rare. In the jewelry market, such specimens are commonly called “cobalt spinel”, since the color range is determined by the presence of cobalt impurities.
There are instances of stones with violet and lavender color. More saturated minerals look as attractive as possible and cost more. They are characterized by the manifestation of dispersion, which favorably affects the beauty of the stone.
Natural spinel is not subjected to refinement due to the unique properties of these stones. However, methods have been developed for growing artificial crystals. Therefore, copies of synthetic spinel are often found on the market, which are difficult to distinguish from real minerals of natural origin by standard diagnostic methods. When buying an expensive spinel, you need to make sure that you have an expert opinion issued by one of the independent gemological laboratories. The lack of refining favorably distinguishes spinel against the background of other precious stones.
Jewelers use spinel from time immemorial. Previously, its transparent red crystals were mistakenly attributed to rubies. Traveler Marco Polo's notes that the pink spinel from Badakhshan is called “Ruby Bale” have remained. Europeans called this mineral "balas", calling it according to the ancient name of Badakhshan. The French transformed the name "rubies balas" into "rubies balé", and from the beginning of the twentieth century they began to call these stones - "balé spinel".
Multicolored spinel crystals at all times were ranked as the most expensive precious stones. These minerals adorned the royal regalia, attributing spinel to the symbols of power. It is known that noble maroon stones shine on the crowns of the emperors of the Russian and German empires, kings of Great Britain and France. Spinel occupied the dominant position on the "Cap of Monomakh", which was used during the wedding ceremony for the kingdom of Russian princes. In the manufacture of crowns for the Russian Empress Catherine II in the 18th century, a unique spinel crystal with a mass of 398.72 carats, taken from the “Monomakh's Caps”, was installed in its upper parts. Eastern rulers, who possessed incalculable riches, loved to decorate their thrones with spinel. Interestingly, modern methods of diagnostics of precious stones made it possible to find out that several of the most famous rubies in the world are in fact crystals of noble spinel. This refers to the jewels of the British treasury "Rubin Timur", having a mass of 361 carats, and "Ruby of the Black Prince" weighing 170 carats.