Black gemstones have revived their popularity, and everybody is looking for the prettiest and rarest type. Although you might have come across colored rubies, it is unlikely you have interacted with natural black spinel gemstones. In this article, you will have a chance to learn about black spinel gemstone, its attractive properties, and its occurrence
Black spinel is a rare gemstone made of hard vitreous magnesium aluminate or magnesium aluminum oxide. It is one of the hardly occurring minerals in the spinel family. Sometimes, it is confused with black tourmaline because of the close resemblance. Black spinel is formed from sharp crystals; the name spinel originated from the Latin word ‘spina,’ which means thorn
Properties of black spinel
• It is hard and takes position 8 in the Mohs rating.
• It is mainly found as water-worn pebbles, but in a few cases, it occurs as octahedral crystal formations.
• It is vitreous
• Pure and quality spinel does not have inclusions, but those with inclusion can result in asterism or star effect.
• They are pure and clean in their natural form and hence do not require chemical treatment.
• Other than the thick hue, it also occurs in various colors, including pink, red, amber, and yellow, and light to black-blue tones.
Places to find black spinel
The gemstone is mined together with sapphire and ruby in Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Burma; hence shares many properties. It is also found in small quantities in Nepal, Madagascar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and brazil
The monetary value of black spinel
Although black spinel is rare, its value in the jewelry industry is relatively low. It is frequently confused with sapphires and rubies in the mining process. Hence jewelers do not seek it out. Furthermore, unsightly inclusions significantly reduce the value of the stone
Occurrence of black spinel
Almost all spinel stones occur naturally. They are formed when molten rock combines with dolomites or limestone, a process known as metamorphic activity. The process leaves behind deposits resembling durable minerals within a rock, a black gemstone
Identifying black spinel
Although spinel has almost the same physical features as sapphires and rubies, you can differentiate them through physical observation. Black spinel lacks the metallic overtone found in most stones. In addition, it is highly reflective. It has fewer metallic reflections compared to a black diamond and is not as hard as a diamond. Therefore, can be manipulated by cutting it into faceted shapes such as square, pear, oval, round, and cushion. Furthermore, it is possible to cut fancier shapes like kite, octagons, marquees, and trillion. Black spinel featuring natural asterism are cabochon cut to enhance the appearance of a star-like look
Black spinel is available in different shapes and sizes. Accent stones can be as large as 18 carats. They are also used as center stones because there are bigger sizes
Black spinel exists in various black colorations ranging from stark dark, resembling the sky at night, to inky black. It contains pure black color and lacks secondary tones. Therefore, it is an excellent black gemstone
Caring for black spinel
The hardness and durability polishing makes it very easy to care for black spinel because the surface is not easily scratched. You only need a soft cloth and soapy water to clean the stones. After cleaning, rinse it thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Ultrasonic cleaners are not recommended in most gemstones