6 Black Spinel facts

You can’t go wrong with black. It’s simple, never gets old and always keeps an edge. It can be worn anytime, anywhere and for any occasion. This is why we’ve opt for an alluring rare black spinel for our first jewellery pieces. 

Here are 6 unique facts about spinel:

  1. In 2016, spinel officially became a birthstone. Spinel, peridot, and sardonyx are the three birthstones for August.
  2. Red spinel can look almost identical to ruby, while black and blue spinel is often mistaken for sapphire.
  3. Pure spinel is colorless, but impurities create a wide range of colours, including yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, green, blue, and black.
  4. Spinel is also known as ‘The Great Imposter’, as people have long confused the red spinel with rubies. The most famous spinel, which was once thought to be a ruby, is the red spinel that is mounted on the Imperial State Crown, The Black Prince’s Ruby.
  5. Spinel is a hard and durable gemstone with a Mohs hardness rating of 8, making it more resistant to scratches (diamond ranks 10 on the Mohs scale)
  6. The name “spinel” comes from the Latin word “spina,” meaning thorn, which refers to the sharp crystal formations of raw spinel.

The Shine

Spinel is singly refractive. When a beam of light enter the spinel, the light don’t split or polarised. What does that mean? It means the light remains a single beam as it exits the gemstone. That makes the spinel shine very bright. While black spinel is more opaque than its colourful counterparts, it sparkles and shines with a glass-like lustre.

Its durability and hardness also make it easy to care for and polish without causing scratches on its surface.

Why spinel get confused with ruby and sapphire?

Spinel was often mistaken for ruby and sapphire before the 18th century, as it forms in the same geological conditions and rock units as these stones, making it difficult for gem traders to distinguish between them.

It was not until the mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle separated spinel from these other stones in 1783 that it was identified as a unique gemstone. The most famous example of this misidentification is The Black Prince’s Ruby, which was discovered to be a red spinel and not a ruby.