iNFORMATION ABOUT SPINEL IN ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY
Spinel is a natural gemstone that has not earned the respect and admiration that it deserves. It is often mistaken, by name, for the synthetic spinel that is used for inexpensive birthstone jewelry, class rings and costume jewelry. However, spinel, is appreciated by custom jewelers and collectors. Spinel comes in red, blue, pink, orange and black. Spinel is also known for its durability. It is a hard gemstone and it does not have a weak plane in its crystal structure.
BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Spinel is the 22nd wedding anniversary stone.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The term spinel may refer to the cubic symmetry of the spinel crystals which are mainly in the form of an octahedron. The term spinel may refer to this shape. The Latin term "spina" means "thorn".
The earliest noted red spinel used as an ornament was found in Kabul, Afghanistan and it is date 100 B.C. In the first century Romans used red spinel. During 51 B.C. to 400 A.D., blue spinel was found in England left by the Romans. Spinel mining was first started in Afghanistan around 750 A.D. to 950A.D. The mining was described by Istakhir and Marco Polo. Some of the most famous jewels, once considered rubies, are actually spinel. The "Black Princess Ruby" and the "Timur Ruby" in the English crown jewels are both red spinel. The "Timur Ruby" is now in the collection of Queen Elizabeth II. Red spinel was used in Renaissance jewelry in Europe. The Russian and French crown jewels include pendants, earrings, and brooches. In Russia, a deep red 412.25 carat spinel is in the Great Imperial Crown made for the coronation of Catherine the Great. The world's largest collection of spinels are part of the former crown jewels of Iran.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY USAGE
Spinel has been a popular adornment in Victorian Period Jewelry. Spinel is becoming increasingly popular in contemporary estate jewelry.
Hindus believed spinel to be rubies and would divide them into four major castes, to which each caste would have to wear the appropriate stone to benefit from its virtues. During the ancient and medieval periods, red spinel (like other red stones) was considered cures for hemorrhages and inflammatory diseases. Spinel was also prescribed for to calm anger and conflicts.
Spinels form in highly metamorphosed clay stones and especially dirty limestones transformed into marbles. Most spinels are produced from alluvial concentrations form weathered primary sources.
The major producers of spinel are Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The area around Mogok in Upper Burma is the source of the finest quality spinel. The spinels from Sri Lanka's gem gravels are located in the southwest part of the island. These spinels are water worn and generally blue, violet or black. Spinel also comes from Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Russia and Vietnam.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Ultrasonics and steam cleaners are normally safe. Usually there are not reactions to chemicals.
RED SPINEL: red spinel has better durability and clarity than a ruby. Properties include chromium. Called the deep red or ruby spinel. Rose red called the Balas ruby.
PURPLE RED SPINEL: properties include of chromium plus iron, called the almadine spinel.
GREEN SPINEL: properties include iron. Resembles tourmaline or peridot.
PINK SPINEL: has a strong resemblance to a pink sapphire.
ORANGE SPINEL: called the rubicelle spinel, properties include chromium and vanadium
BLUE SPINEL: properties include iron and or cobalt. This is called the sapphire spinel and gahnospinel.
BLACK SPINEL: gemstone is opaque and rarely seen in jewelry.
STAR SPINEL: a rare gray-blue stone that turns purple under incandescent lighting.
Crystal system: cubic
Cleavage: poorly developed
Refractive Index 1.71 - 1.83
Optic: single refracting
Specific Gravity: 3.57 - 3.63 (black spinel - up to 4.0)
With a hardness of 8, on the Mohs' Scale, spinel is generally tough.