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Black spinel

Discover the Mysterious Black Spinel Gemstone

Are you searching for a gemstone that speaks of luxury and exceptional quality? Then black spinel is perfect for you. This unique and rare gemstone is not only gorgeous but also has significant physical properties. In this article, we will delve into the mystery of black spinel, from its unique properties and occurrence to its monetary value and identification process.

Introduction to Black Spinel

Black spinel is a hard, vitreous magnesium aluminate or magnesium aluminum oxide that belongs to the spinel family. Its sharp crystals are formed in octahedral crystal formations, as water-worn pebbles, or even as large deposits. The spinel name comes from the Latin word “spina,” which means thorn, describing the sharp crystals in its natural form.

Properties of Black Spinel

The black spinel gemstone boasts of exceptional physical properties, making it stand out among other stones in the industry. Here are its significant properties:

• High Hardness – black spinel is rated 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means that it is scratch-resistant, and its surface remains polished, keeping its luster for a very long time.

• Vitreous – the stone produces an attractive inner glow that reflects lights beautifully, giving it a silky appearance, which is a popular feature when designing jewelry.

• No inclusions – pure and high-quality black spinel gemstones do not have any inclusions, making them superior to other comparable gemstones.

• Others colors – in its natural form, black spinel may occur in other colors like pink, red, amber, yellow, and light to black-blue tones, making it an attractive alternative to black diamonds in jewelry design.

Places to Find Black Spinel

Black spinel is one of the rarest colored gemstones worldwide, mostly mined in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia, and sometimes Madagascar, Nigeria, and Brazil. It is usually found together with sapphires and rubies’ mines and often mistaken for these gemstones, making it less desired by the jewelry market.

The Monetary Value of Black Spinel

Although black spinel is a beautiful and rare gemstone, it has minimal monetary value in the jewelry industry. Its unsightly inclusions and mistaken identity with sapphires and rubies reduce its market value, making them less sought after by jewelers. This factor makes black spinel an affordable alternative to other black gemstones in the market, such as black diamonds and onyx.

Occurrence of Black Spinel

Black spinel is a naturally occurring gemstone formed alongside other minerals in limestone or dolomites rocks. Metamorphic activity resulting from high pressure and temperatures produces durable minerals, hence creating deposits of black spinel.

Identifying Black Spinel

While black spinel has almost similar features to sapphires and rubies, you can differentiate it using physical observation. Black spinel does not exhibit metallic overtones as found in most precious stones. Additionally, it has fewer metallic reflections than black diamonds and less hardness. Therefore, it can be shaped brilliantly in various faceted shapes, such as square, pear, oval, and cushion, to bring out its natural luster. If the black spinel features natural asterism, it is best cut as cabochon to bring out a star-like appearance.

Carat Size and Color Quality

Black spinel is available in various sizes and shapes, making it excellent for designing jewelry and can be used as accent stones or even bigger center stones. Its color ranges from inky black to stark dark, mimicking a night sky’s appearance, making it an outstanding black gemstone with pure black color as seen in high quality black spinel.

Caring for Black Spinel

Black spinel is one of the easiest stones to care for due to its hardness, durability, and polished surface, which doesn’t easily scratch. Cleaning black spinel requires a soft cloth and soapy water, and then rinsing it thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners as they might damage the gemstone.


The black spinel gemstone is a rare and beautiful stone with a unique and attractive physical appearance. Its hardness and polished surface make it durable and easy to care for, while its availability in various sizes and colors make it ideal for designing jewelry. Despite its minimal monetary value, black spinel is an affordable alternative to other black gemstones in the market, including black diamonds and onyx.

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