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Spinel's Time to Shine: the underrated gem of the century

Spinel's Time to Shine: the underrated gem of the century

Hi all,

It has been a crazy month and a bit of settling in and learning new things, but I have really enjoyed meeting you all. There are so many things in the works behind the scenes that we hope to get you excited about in the coming months.

We are streamlining our booking/quotation/invoicing system still, so I really thank you for your patience with any little hiccups. It will be fantastic and will allow us to be in closer contact with you during your makes once we have it running how we need it to (think progress photos!). This is a slow process, but one of the goals that we are aiming for at NVJ to personalise your experience even more.

During September Nicole is taking a break from design appointments so she can make new stock for the shop, and so I am taking on design appointments. Thank you to everyone who has booked in during September to see me – I am still learning, so it is fantastic to have the opportunity to further develop my skills. Rest assured Nicole is still involved behind the scenes with your designs. She spends a morning each week going through new designs with me and drawing them all up for you to approve. I am excited to see what amazing ideas you come up with in September and thank you again for trusting me!

Now that housekeeping is done, let’s talk rocks…

In the last blog post I spoke about my two favourite types of gemstones, but today I thought I’d focus on just one sort of gemstone; one that is slowly coming up in the world of gems; Spinel.

Spinel is often found in association with my favourite gem- Sapphire, so much so, that before the study of Gemmology came to fruition, it often used to be classed as Ruby (part of the same family as Sapphire). Spinel is found all over the world, and comes in a range of colours; from opaque black (commonly found here in Tasmania) to greys and blues, all the way through to pastel pinks, purples and of course, bright red.

Until recent times, Spinel has fallen on deaf ears due the lack of perceived value when compared to similar stones such as Ruby. The Black Prince’s Ruby, found in a crown of the British Crown Jewels was actually found to be a Red Spinel; you can imagine at the time there was disappointment when they found that their 170 ct Ruby was in fact only a Spinel.

So why Spinel?

One of the only reasons Spinel has not been popular until now is that it has simply remained unknown to most people. Natural Spinel gets a bad rap from synthetic Spinel used in some costume jewellery. Gemstone prices are heavily influenced by supply and demand, and as demand has remained low and so have prices until now.

Spinel is more affordable than a Ruby and is a fantastic stone to consider for your next piece. It is durable, with a Moh’s Hardness of 8 and has better clarity and brilliance than your typical Ruby. It is also known for its high dispersion; quality Spinel often shows fire similar to what is seen in diamonds and zircons. It also is much less likely to have undergone any treatments to improve the stone, whereas a high percentage of Rubies are routinely treated to improve things like clarity.

Spinel is coloured by impurities within the structure, meaning that its colours will differ depending on the impurity and the amount of it present. Red Spinels are the most valuable and are coloured by Chromium and Iron; Blue Spinels are often coloured by Iron but may be coloured by Cobalt (although this is rare in natural stones). Red Spinel is a great substitute for Ruby, but lighter, Pink Spinels are a great alternative for Pink Sapphires, which can be rare and therefore very expensive.

Another thing I love about Spinel is the shape of the natural crystal. They are part of the Cubic crystal system and form Octohedrons, which is the same shape diamond crystals will form.

Did you know we also get Spinel in Tassie!? As they say, where there are Sapphires, there is generally Spinel. Here in Tasmania we are lucky enough to be able to find Black Spinel. Black Spinel is a fantastic alternative to Black Sapphires and Black Diamonds, and as a cool bonus, they tend to be slightly magnetic due to their Magnetite content! 

Need another reason to consider Spinel? It is also the preferred gift for your 22nd Wedding Anniversary! Nicole as a select range of Spinel in stock for your viewing pleasure- just touch base with us and we can show you what we have.

Next month’s blog will talk about everyone’s favourite Australian stone, and October’s birthstone, Opal. I cannot wait to show you the huge range that Nicole has in stock! Can't wait and want to purchase an Opal for your next piece with Nicole? Come in and see me on a Friday and I can show you the range!

Rock on!

Sarah xx

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