Spinel Gemstone

Sri Lanka is the world’s second largest supplier of this gemstone next to Myanmar. Spinel has become more popular in the past two decades and the prices have been increasing as the demand easily exceeds the supply.

 Spinel in Sri Lanka ranges from Ruby Red, Pink, Orange, Reddish Brown, Purple, Blue, Bluish Green, Mauve to Colorless. These exhibit similar resemblances to the Corundum varieties especially in respect of Pink, Red, Orangish Red, Blue and Mauve. However, Corundum and Spinel are two different groups of gemstones with different chemical compositions and qualities.

Mineral:   spinel
Chemistry: MgAl2O4
Color: red, orange, pink, purple, blue, black
Refractive index: 1.718
Birefringence: none
Specific gravity: 3.60
Mohs Hardness: 8

Spinel has been recently added as a birthstone of August along with Peridot and Saronyx.

In addition to the common varieties of Spinel, there are other varieties with distinct chemical and color combinations such as Cobalt Spinel, Ceylonite, Ghanite, Ghanospinel. Furthermore, asteriated spinel which gives the star effect due to reflective effect off rutile inclusions inside the gemstone and color changing spinel which give different reflections under daylight and incandescent light similar to Alexandrite gemstone have been found in the mines of Sri Lanka.

Spinel being a gemstone with hardness of 8, is in the fourth place in Mohs’s Scale of Hardness and spinel has exceptional brilliance and luster. Further it has excellent hardness and lack of cleavage.  Therefore, spinel is able withstand wear and tear and ideal to be used in jewelry.

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