Spinel has a history of deception. For years, people thought of red spinel as ruby, you can find it in many royal crowns and famous royal jewelry pieces, all which was at one time thought to be rubies, not red spinel. Now recognized correctly as spinel, it has become a favorite among gem collectors due to its hardness, and spectacular range of colors. Other than red, spinel is found in pastel pinks and purple, greenm black, also hot pink-orange, and rarely blue.
Spinel is allochromatic, which means that when the mineral is pure it is colorless. Spinel (MgAl2O4) gets it variety of colors from traces of different trace elements or impurities. The most common of these found in spinel are, chromium, iron, and cobalt. With most gems, the colorless form is the most abundant and less costly form of the mineral. That is not the case with spinel, it is very rare to find a natural pure colorless spinel. Spinel is often found with corundum (sapphire and ruby), it is very rare to find large pieces of this gem.
Spinel is found in the following locations; Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania and the United States.
Properties, Treatments & Lab Created
Spinel is rated an 8 on the Mohs scale.
There are no treatments for spinel.
There is lab created spinel, which has the same composition of natural spinel and is available in several colors. Lab spinel is sometimes used for simulants of other gems such as aquamarine, sapphire, and tourmaline.