Is A Spinel A Fake Diamond?

By | June 14, 2024

Dive into the glittering world of gemstones with “Is A Spinel A Fake Diamond?” In this article, you’ll uncover the fascinating truth about spinels and their unique qualities that set them apart from diamonds. As you explore the differences between these two stunning gems, you’ll learn how spinels have their own distinct charm and history. Whether you’re a gemstone enthusiast or simply curious, this captivating read will illuminate the genuine beauty of spinels and help you appreciate them even more. Have you ever heard of a spinel and wondered if it’s just a stand-in for a diamond? Maybe you’ve come across this stunning gemstone, and its brilliance left you questioning if it could be a fake diamond. Let’s dive deep into the world of spinels and diamonds to clear up any confusion you might have.

Is A Spinel A Fake Diamond?

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What is a Spinel?

Spinels are beautiful gemstones that come in a wide range of colors. They have captivated the world with their striking appearance and durability. Originating from the Latin word “spina,” meaning thorn, spinels are known for their sharp, pointed crystal formations.

The Unique Beauty of Spinel

Spinel’s allure comes from its diverse color spectrum. You can find spinels in shades of red, blue, green, yellow, brown, black, and even colorless. Its dazzling colors are due to impurities in the crystal structure, making each spinel unique.

Composition and Structure

Spinels belong to the spinel mineral group, primarily composed of magnesium aluminum oxide (MgAl2O4). They form in octahedral crystals and have a remarkable hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, making them suitable for everyday wear.

Historical Significance

Historically, many famous “rubies” and “sapphires” were actually spinels. For example, the renowned Black Prince’s Ruby in the British Imperial State Crown is, in fact, a red spinel. This mistaken identity only underscores the gemstone’s importance and value throughout history.

How Does Spinel Compare to Diamonds?

Now that you have a grasp on what spinel is, let’s compare it directly to diamonds. Both gems are highly sought after, yet they differ significantly in composition, value, and physical properties.

Composition and Structure

Diamonds are made of pure carbon arranged in a crystal lattice, which gives them unmatched hardness (10 on the Mohs scale). Spinels, as previously mentioned, are magnesium aluminum oxide. This fundamental difference shapes their respective properties.

Hardness and Durability

Hardness7.5-8 Mohs10 Mohs

While spinels are quite hard and durable, diamonds are the hardest known natural material. This makes diamonds more resistant to scratching and suitable for more demanding uses.

Optical Properties

Diamonds possess an extraordinary level of brilliance and fire due to their high refractive index and strong dispersion. Spinels also have good brilliance but lack the same level of dispersion as diamonds.

Refractive Index1.71-1.762.42

Value and Rarity

Diamonds are traditionally more valuable due to their widespread perception as symbols of luxury, love, and endurance. Spinels, while less well-known, have been gaining recognition and value, particularly in vibrant hues like red and blue.

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Misconceptions: Is Spinel a Fake Diamond?

This question brings us to the heart of the matter. Many people might think of spinel as a fake diamond, but this isn’t accurate. While spinels may sometimes be utilized as more affordable alternatives to diamonds, they are genuine gemstones in their own right.

Affordable Alternative, Not a Fake

It’s essential to understand that being used as an alternative doesn’t equate to being fake. Spinels offer an affordable choice for those seeking beauty and durability without the high price tag of diamonds. Their distinct properties provide an appealing option for many gemstone enthusiasts.

Historical Mix-Ups

As mentioned before, spinels have historically been mistaken for rubies and sapphires rather than diamonds. In these cases, it wasn’t about being fake; it was simply a case of misidentification due to similar appearances.

The Appeal of Spinel

Why might someone choose a spinel over a diamond? There are several compelling reasons beyond just cost.

Color Variety

One significant advantage spinels have over diamonds is their color variety. While colored diamonds are incredibly expensive, spinels offer a more accessible way to enjoy a spectrum of colors without breaking the bank.

Unique Beauty

Each spinel is unique due to its natural formation. This singular beauty is something many people find appealing, as owning a spinel means possessing a gemstone that is one-of-a-kind.

Ethical Considerations

The diamond industry has been plagued with ethical concerns for years, such as conflict diamonds. Spinels often have a cleaner ethical profile, as they are less frequently associated with such issues, making them a more socially responsible choice for conscientious buyers.

Is A Spinel A Fake Diamond?

Identifying Spinels and Diamonds

Whether you are a seasoned gemologist or a curious enthusiast, knowing how to differentiate between spinels and diamonds is valuable.

Visual Examination

Diamonds exhibit an exceptional level of fire (flashes of color) compared to spinels. With a keen eye, you might notice the difference in light dispersion between the two stones.

Use of Tools

Certain tools can help in identifying the gemstones:

  • Refractometer: This measures the refractive index. Diamonds have a higher refractive index (around 2.42) compared to spinels (1.71-1.76).
  • Loupe: A 10x loupe can help examine inclusions. Diamonds typically have different types of inclusions compared to spinels.
  • Diamond Tester: This tool measures thermal conductivity. Diamonds conduct heat better than spinels, which a tester can distinguish.

Professional Appraisal

For conclusive identification, visiting a professional gemologist is the best course. They have the expertise and equipment to distinguish between these gemstones reliably.

Buying Guide: Spinel vs. Diamond

If you’re considering purchasing a gemstone and can’t decide between a spinel and a diamond, here are some factors to consider:


Your budget is perhaps the most significant factor. Spinels offer a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing beauty and durability.

Intended Use

Think about how you plan to use the gemstone:

  • Everyday Wear: Diamonds, with their supreme hardness, are ideal for engagement rings and other jewelry that will be worn frequently.
  • Occasional Wear: Spinels are perfect for pieces that might not face daily wear, maintaining stunning beauty with respectable durability.

Ethical Concerns

If ethical sourcing is your priority, delving into the origins of the gemstones is crucial. Spinels might present fewer ethical concerns, but always verify the source regardless of the gemstone type.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, personal preference plays an enormous role. Some people are drawn to the historical allure and market value of diamonds, while others might prefer the vibrant colors and individuality of spinels.

Is A Spinel A Fake Diamond?

Conclusion: Is A Spinel a Fake Diamond?

In conclusion, it’s clear that spinels are not fake diamonds. They are magnificent gemstones with their unique properties, a rich history, and a growing place in the jewelry world. Whether you choose a spinel or a diamond, both have their own merits and can bring beauty and value into your life.

Understanding the differences and making an informed choice based on your needs, budget, and values will ensure you cherish your chosen gemstone. Next time you see a sparkling spinel, don’t dismiss it as a mere imitation – appreciate it for the genuine treasure it is.

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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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