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 Blue Spinel

 

Gemstone :
Blue Spinel

Birthstone Month :
Blue Spinel is not associated with any particular birthstone month.

Zodiac :
Blue Spinel is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.

Chemical Symbol :
MgAl2O4

Chemical Make-up :
Blue Spinel is a Magnesium Aluminum Oxide or Magnesium Aluminate, and is colored by iron and occasionally cobalt.

History & Lore :
It is not known for certain how the name Spinel originated. The most common suggestion is that it may have derived from the Latin word 'spina' meaning thorn, possibly referring to its fiery color or the sharp pointed crystals that are found within some Spinels. Spinels were often referred to as 'balas rubies' in ancient times. 'Balas' or 'Balascia' is a territory in Northern Afghanistan known as Badakshan where Spinels may have first been discovered. This area in the Middle Ages was an active gem-producing region that had seen discoveries of large, beautiful, red to pink Spinels that were originally thought to be rubies. These Spinels were considered to be the best “rubies” of their time.

Many royal crown jewels thought to contain rubies have actually turned out to be Spinels. The Black Prince's Ruby on the British Imperial State Crown is in fact a 170-Carat red Spinel. The Timor Ruby that has the engraved names of the Mogul emperors on its face was once also thought to be a Ruby. This magnificent 352-Carat stone is in fact a red Spinel and is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth.

Spinels are associated with love and they help the wearer to put their ego aside and become devoted to another person. Spinel also encourages passion and is said to increase the duration of one's life.

 

Availability :
Spinel is relatively unheard of to the common consumer and has it been marketed by any major gem companies. Both Blue and Red Spinels are the rarest of the family, and naturally these varieties demand a premium, particularly the larger sizes.

Sources :
Myanmar (Burma) supplies the finest quality Spinel. There are also known Spinel deposits in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Italy, Madagascar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tajikistan (part of the former U.S.S.R), Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam.

Evaluation :
Blue Spinel is rated at 8 on Moh's Scale of Hardness and is a durable stone that lacks cleavage, making it suitable for almost all jewelry purposes. The best colored Blue Spinel is a deep vibrant blue though many often have a grayish tone and appear subdued. Top quality stones should be deep and rich in color, eye-clean, and without any traces of secondary colors. Spinel is a favorite for gem connoisseurs and gem collectors because of their brilliance, hardness, and wide range of beautiful colors. Although Spinel is a rarity, it makes a beautiful stone for almost every jewelry purpose.

Be weary of synthetic Blue Spinals that are appearing in the market today. They are usually extremely fluorescent in eye-popping tones. Another sure-fire way to spot a synthetic Blue Spinel is by closely examining the stone for curved growth lines or gas bubbles that would be present and would have occurred during the flame fusion synthetic process.

Common Cuts :
Spinel is a durable stone that lacks cleavage and for this reason it is suitable for almost all jewelry purposes. It is most often found in oval, round, and cushion cuts and due to its rarity, cannot currently be found in calibrated sizes.

Routine Enhancements :
There are no known enhancements for blue Spinel.

Care & Cleaning :
Spinel is a very durable stone that lacks cleavage making it difficult to chip and scratch. Steam and ultrasonic cleaners are generally safe, but they should be used with caution. Avoid household chemicals and exposure to excessive heat that could alter the color or damage the stone. Spinel can safely be cleaned in warm soapy water with a soft brush. Always store your Spinel jewelry in a fabric-lined box away from other harder jewelry items in order to avoid scratching.

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