Often underappreciated—but frequently as pretty as better-known stones—spinel is a good value and a vibrantly hued stone. In red, it can rival a ruby, in orange and blue, hold its own next to sapphire. Spinel is tough (an 8 on the Mohs scale), and being used more often by designers who appreciate its wide spectrum of color and affordability (the cost of a rich red Burmese spinel is roughly 50 percent less than that of a fine ruby of the same size, according to Stuart Robertson, research director of gemstones at The Gem Guide.)
“I love the richness of the color!” says designer Jeanne Johngren. “Spinel has lots of pop and good depth.”
Red spinel ranks among Johngren’s favorites. Why? “Gorgeous ruby color without attitude.”
Red cabochon-cut spinel beads and 18k yellow gold comprise the Strata bracelet for $1,900.
Jeanne Johngren, New York; 800-279-1529
Red, orangey, and pink spinel and colorless diamonds in 18k rose gold floral-motif drop earrings are $48,000.
Eclat, New York City; 877-325-2844
Octagonal ring in 18k yellow gold features black spinel and colorless diamonds for $6,500.
Ivanka Trump, New York City; 888-756-9912
The convertible Cha Cha earrings (three parts) in 18k yellow gold feature orange sapphires, purple spinel, and colorless diamonds for $63,000.
Erica Courtney, Los Angeles; 323-938-2373
A pinkish-red (or, cherry-colored) spinel set in a platinum and 18k yellow gold mounting with colorless diamonds is $9,500.
Richard Krementz Gemstones, Springfield, N.J.; 800-835-3436
A Little Something Extra …
Did you know that:
- In Sanskrit writings, spinel was called the daughter of ruby. Source: American Gem Trade Association
- Spinel is found in Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, and Tanzania. Source: American Gem Trade Association and the Gemological Institute of America
- Spinel is thought to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness. Source: American Gem Trade Association