Gemstone :
Black Spinel

Birthstone Month :
Black Spinel is not associated with any particular birthstone month.

Zodiac :
Black Spinel is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.

Chemical Symbol :

Chemical Make-up :
Black Spinel is a Magnesium Aluminum Oxide, or Magnesium Aluminate.

History & Lore :
It is not known for certain how the name Spinel originated. The most common suggestion is that it may have derived from the Latin word ‘spina’ meaning a thorn, possibly referring to its fiery color or the sharp pointed crystals that are found within some Spinels. Spinels were often referred to as ‘balas rubies’ in ancient times. ‘Balas’ or ‘Balascia’ is a territory in Northern Afghanistan known as Badakshan where Spinels may have first been discovered. This area in the Middle Ages was an active gem-producing region that had discovered large beautiful red to pink Spinels that were thought to be rubies and considered the best rubies of their time.

Many royal crown jewels thought to be rubies have actually turned out to be red Spinels. The Black Prince’s Ruby on the British Imperial State Crown is a 170-carat red Spinel. The Timor Ruby that has the engraved names of the Mogul emperors on its face was once thought to be a Ruby as well. This magnificent 352-carat stone is in fact a red Spinel and is now owned by Queen Elizabeth.

Spinels are associated with love and help the wearer to put their ego aside and become devoted to another person. Spinel also encourages passion and is said to increase the duration of one’s life.

Black Spinel in particular is said to be a protective stone and helps re-establish relationships and resolve issues. It is also believed to relieve sadness.

Availability :
Spinel is relatively unheard of to the common consumer and has not been marketed by any major gem companies. Black Spinel is only found in a few locations in the world, and because of its rarity, if the demand were to rise, supply would not be abundant enough to keep up with it.

Sources :
Black Spinel is mined mainly in Thailand (Boi Ploi, Kanchanaburi), where it is known as “Nin”. There are also known deposits in Africa, Myanmar (Burma), and Sri Lanka.

Evaluation :
Black Spinels are rated at 8 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness and are a durable stone that lacks cleavage, making it suitable for all jewelry purposes. Black Spinel looks elegant when set with a quality piece of gold or silver jewelry because of the striking contrast. Black Spinel is the opaque jet-black variety of the Spinel family and it lacks the metallic luster of other popular black gemstones. Spinels are a favorite amongst gem connoisseurs and gem collectors alike, and makes a beautiful, durable stone for all jewelry purposes.

Common Cuts :
Spinel is a durable stone that lacks cleavage and for this reason it is suitable for all jewelry purposes. It is most often found in oval, round, and cushion cuts, and due to its rarity Black Spinel cannot currently be found in calibrated sizes.

Routine Enhancements :
here are no known enhancements for Black Spinel.

Care & Cleaning :
Spinel is a very durable stone that lacks cleavage making it difficult to chip and scratch. Steam and ultrasonic cleaners are generally safe but they should be used with caution. Avoid household chemicals and prolonged exposure to excessive heat that can alter the color or damage the stone. Spinel can also be cleaned in warm soapy water with a soft brush. Always store your Spinel jewelry in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid scratching.


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