How Rare Is Spinel?

By | June 13, 2024

How Rare Is Spinel?”

Spinel might not be the first gemstone that comes to mind, but its rarity and intriguing history make it a hidden treasure in the world of gems. While you may often hear about diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, spinel is a precious gem that deserves your attention. This captivating stone comes in a variety of colors and is often mistaken for other, more common gems due to its brilliance and striking hues. Yet, it’s this very rarity and the mystique surrounding it that make spinel such a fascinating subject. Dive in to discover what makes spinel so special and why it’s cherished by gem enthusiasts around the globe. Have you ever wondered just how rare spinel is? Admittedly, you’ve probably seen stunning photos of its vivid hues – but how scarce is this gemstone really? In this friendly yet informative guide, you’ll dive deep into the world of spinel, uncovering its rarity, history, varieties, and much more. By the end of our journey, you’ll appreciate why the spinel is such a treasured gem and why its rarity matters in the world of gemstones.

How Rare Is Spinel?

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Understanding Spinel

Before delving into the rarity, it’s essential to understand what spinel actually is. Spinel is a mineral that crystallizes in the cubic system and is composed of magnesium aluminum oxide. This gemstone has been admired throughout history, often mistaken for other more famous gemstones due to its vibrant coloration and similar appearance.

History of Spinel

Spinel’s history is rich and colorful, just like the gemstone itself. Historically, it was often confused with ruby and sapphire due to its striking red, blue, and various other hues. Notably, some of the most famous “rubies,” such as the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Timur Ruby, are actually spinel.

What Makes Spinel Unique

Spinel stands out due to its incredible color range, from deep reds and rich blues to fabulous pinks and purples. It’s also prized for its durability, boasting a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for everyday wear.

The Rarity of Spinel

Now, let’s answer the burning question: how rare is spinel? To address this, we’ll explore several factors including geological occurrence, market presence, and value.

Geological Occurrence

Spinel forms under specific geological conditions, often found in the same locations as rubies and sapphires. However, the formation process for high-quality, gem-grade spinel is less common. Spinel is typically found in alluvial deposits and can be sourced from a few notable regions around the globe.

RegionNotable Spinel ColorsComments
MyanmarRed, Pink, Blue, LavenderSome of the world’s finest spinels
Sri LankaRed, Blue, Pink, VioletKnown for vibrant and varied colors
VietnamRed, Pink, Blue, PurpleEmerges from Luc Yen deposits
TanzaniaRed, Pink, Blue, BlackIgneous rocks produce unique colors

Supply and Demand

While spinel may not be as commonly recognized as ruby or sapphire, its rarity in high-quality forms adds to its allure. Gem-grade spinel is not found in vast quantities, making it a relatively scarce gemstone in the market. The demand for spinel has been steadily increasing as more people discover its beauty, rarity, and historical significance, which in turn influences its market presence.

Value Comparison

To contextualize its rarity, let’s compare spinel to other gemstones in terms of value:

GemstoneAverage Value (per carat)Factors Influencing Value
Spinel$200 – $2,000Color saturation, clarity, size, origin
Ruby$1,000 – $10,000Color, origin, clarity, size
Sapphire$500 – $5,000Color, clarity, origin, treatments
Emerald$500 – $3,000Color, clarity, origin, treatments

As seen in the table, while spinel’s average value may be lower than rubies and some sapphires, certain spinels, particularly those with exceptional color and clarity, can command significant prices.

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Varieties of Spinel

Spinel comes in a delightful spectrum of colors, each with its own charm and appeal. Let’s explore the different varieties based on their hues.

Red Spinel

Red spinel owes its dazzling color to trace amounts of chromium. Often mistaken for ruby, this variety is highly sought after and one of the most valuable in the spinel family.

Blue Spinel

Blue spinel is another favorite, with its color stemming from iron or cobalt. This variety can range from light azure to deep navy, with cobalt blue being especially prized for its vivid color.

Pink Spinel

Pink spinels are adored for their romantic hues. The coloration here is also predominantly caused by chromium, and these stones often appear in engagement rings and fine jewelry.

Black Spinel

Unlike the vibrant varieties, black spinel holds a unique spot in the gemstone world. Its deep, dark appearance offers a bold, sophisticated alternative to more traditional gems. Black spinel is less common but adds a dramatic flair to jewelry.

Color VarietyCause of ColorMarket Value (Approx. per carat)Comments
RedChromium$500 – $2,000Highly sought after
BlueIron or Cobalt$200 – $1,000Cobalt blue is especially prized
PinkChromium$300 – $1,500Popular choice for fine jewelry
BlackIron$100 – $500Unique look, less common

Spinel in Jewelry

With its vibrant colors and impressive durability, spinel is a favorite among jewelers and consumers alike. Let’s explore how spinel is used in various types of jewelry.

Engagement Rings

Move over diamonds; spinel is increasingly becoming a popular choice for engagement rings. Its hardness and range of colors make it a unique and personalized option for those seeking something different from the traditional diamond.

Necklaces and Pendants

Spinel’s vivid colors lend themselves beautifully to necklaces and pendants. A stunning red or blue spinel pendant can make a striking focal point in any jewelry collection.


Whether you prefer studs or dangly earrings, spinel can add a pop of color and elegance to your ear adornments. Imagine a pair of cobalt blue spinel earrings against your skin – simply stunning!

Jewelry TypeWhy Choose Spinel?
Engagement RingsUnique, colorful, and durable alternative to diamonds
NecklacesAdds a vibrant focal point to any outfit
EarringsOffers a pop of color, available in various styles

How Rare Is Spinel?

Spinel Care and Maintenance

Caring for spinel is relatively straightforward, but it’s crucial to know the basics to maintain its brilliance.

Cleaning Spinel

You can clean spinel using warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals and detergents as they can damage the gemstone over time.

Storing Spinel

Store your spinel jewelry separately to avoid scratches. Using a soft cloth or a jewelry pouch will help prevent any contact with other harder gemstones that might scratch the spinel.

Wearing Spinel

Due to its high hardness rating, spinel is suitable for everyday wear. However, like any precious gemstone, taking off your spinel jewelry before engaging in strenuous activities or using chemicals (like cleaning or swimming in chlorinated water) will help preserve its beauty for years to come.

Historical and Famous Spinels

Throughout history, some spinels have gained fame, often mistaken for more well-known gems due to their striking resemblance. Let’s explore some of these legendary stones.

The Black Prince’s Ruby

One of the most famous spinels, the Black Prince’s Ruby, resides in the British Imperial State Crown. Despite being called a ruby, this large red spinel has a rich history and a majestic presence.

The Timur Ruby

Another famous spinel is the Timur Ruby, which is part of the British Crown Jewels. This spinel was also long misidentified as a ruby and boasts impressive size and color.

Investing in Spinel

Considering spinel’s rarity and beauty, you might wonder if it’s a good investment. Let’s examine some aspects of investing in this gem.

Market Trends

The value of spinel has been on the rise as more people recognize its uniqueness and desirability. High-quality spinels, especially in rarer colors, can appreciate significantly over time.

Factors to Consider

When investing in spinel, consider the color, clarity, and origin. These factors greatly influence the stone’s value. Consulting with a reputable gemologist or jeweler can also provide invaluable insights.

Long-term Value

Unlike mass-produced gems, spinel’s relative scarcity can work to an investor’s advantage. Rare varieties, particularly those with exceptional characteristics, have strong potential for long-term value growth.

FactorImpact on Investment Value
ColorRarer colors command higher prices
ClarityHigher clarity stones are more valuable
OriginCertain origins (e.g., Myanmar) are prized
SizeLarger stones can be significantly more valuable


So, how rare is spinel? The answer is nuanced. While spinel may not be the most famous gemstone, its geological rarity, historical significance, vivid colors, and growing desirability certainly make it a rare treasure. From stunningly vibrant reds and blues to elegant blacks, spinel offers a plethora of options for gem enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Understanding the factors that contribute to its rarity – from its geological origins to its market demand and value – allows you to appreciate this unique gemstone fully. Whether you’re considering spinel for a piece of jewelry or as an investment, you now have a comprehensive perspective on why this gem is truly exceptional.

Remember to care for it well, treasure its history, and perhaps, next time someone asks, you’ll be the one explaining just how rare and special spinel really is. Here’s to discovering and appreciating the splendor of spinel!

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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