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Spinel A Vintage Gemstone

Friday, 11 May 2018  |  Anne

I've added the latest jewellery to the shop today and amongst the pieces was a particularly fine spinel eternity ring. This prompted me to write about spinels. These are gems which are quite underrated these days especially when it comes to the sparkling crystal clear version of the stone. It has not been used much recently and is now relatively difficult to obtain new.  

About Spinels

The spinel is a natural gemstone which is almost as tough and durable as rubies and sapphires. Like most other natural gemstones it comes in a wide range of colours and indeed the red ones do often get confused with rubies. The spinels in the eternity ring pictures are the crystal clear variety. Apparently, the word Spinel comes from the ancient world. Either it's from the Greek for "spark" or the Latin for "thorn". Presumably, this is due to their sparkle and pointy shape. These stones are measured and graded by the classic 4 C's just like diamonds. Large stones are particularly rare as are the occasional one found with a star effect inside. Each colour of spinel has its own name. Flame spinels are orangy red flame colour. Hercynite is a very dark green almost black colour and Ganospinel is very dark blue to dark green.  Where do they get all these fancy names from? Other spinels are Balas which is a pale red type and the Zinc spinel or Gahnite which is a violet blue. Some of these are so easy to confuse with other gems that it is best to ask your jeweller. I can only be sure myself after testing the gems with a gemstone testing machine.

Care of Spinels

As spinels are quite hard gemstones they can usually be cleaned either by washing them with warm water and a drop of liquid soap. If the jewellery is quite sound and secure by putting them in an ultrasonic machine. Have you any spinel jewellery? I would love to see it, pop over to AntiquesAvenue's facebook page and upload a photo there. If you would like to but any spinel jewellery you can use the search box on the shop to find the pieces I have in stock . Alternatively just get in touch and I will send you an up to date list.