What is spinel?

Natural Gemstone of Striking Beauty

Spinel is a beautiful and durable gemstone that comes in a variety of colours so is perfect for making jewellery. It’s naturally formed over some millions and even billions of years. Natural spinel remains quite rare. It was relatively unknown until recently as it used to get snapped up by collectors as soon as it became available, but is now the new birthstone for August.

Found in several countries, the two best-known sources for spinel are Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sri Lanka. The International Gem Society rates natural spinel from Mogok, Myanmar as higher value with the best provenance. By working directly with small-scale miners in Mogok (Burma), we are able to bring it to you.

Famous spinel

One famous example of spinel is the 170-carat Black Prince’s Ruby, which is the centrepiece of the British Imperial State Crown. The 361-carat Timur Ruby, given to Queen Victoria in 1851, is also a spinel. It is the centrepiece for a beautiful necklace which forms part of the British Crown Jewels. It was believed to be a ruby until 1851, when there was a reclassification of the mineral compounds which split rubies and spinels.

The largest known spinel in the world is the Samarian Spinel which is 500-carats. This natural spinel is 5.5cm wide and forms part of the Iranian Crown Jewels.

Benefits of spinel

Many people believe natural gemstones have unique healing powers. It is also believed that natural spinel has a calming effect on the wearer – relieving anxiety; reconciling differences; soothing sadness, and bringing new hope in times of darkness.