GemSelect Newsletter - Stunning Spinel
Spinel gems have been used for over a thousand years. One of the best-known historical spinel gems was acquired by the Prince of Wales in 1367. This red spinel was mistaken for a ruby and became known thereafter as "The Black Prince's Ruby". The reason why fine spinel gems have been believed to be rubies is due to their color and because they occur in places where rubies are found. In the past, fine red spinel gems were known as "Balas rubies", after an ancient name for Badakhshan in Northern Afghanistan which is a source for ruby and spinel.
Among the most famous spinel gems are the aforementioned Black Prince's Ruby, the Timur Ruby and the Hope Spinel. As far as spinel jewelry goes, an Imperial Mughal spinel necklace achieved over $5 million at Christie's Geneva in 2011. This historical necklace features eleven red spinel gems, three of which are engraved with the names of Emperor Jehangir and one that bears the names of three emperors. The Hope Spinel is a pinkish-red octagonal gemstone weighing 50 carats and mounted in a pendant surrounded by white diamonds. It belonged to Henry Philip Hope, who had an incredible collection of gems including the Hope Diamond. The Hope Spinel sold at Bonhams in 2015 for $1.47 million.
Spinel has many colors, from pale pink, yellow and lavender to blue, greenish-blue, purple, grayish and black. Some spinel colors, such as pale pink, blue and black are very affordable. The most valued spinel color is red. When it comes to warm tones, pink, yellow and orange are also options with spinel. Many of the most easily sourced spinel gems tend to have cool hues. These include violet-pink, violet, blue, grayish and black. Spinel gems are often set into white metal jewelry, which complements the cool colors well. Red, pink and black spinel is stunning when set into rose gold or yellow gold. Black spinel gems are beautiful and dramatic either by themselves or accented by any other color.
Spinel is ideal for both ladies' and men's jewelry. For ladies, any color is appropriate for spinel jewelry. Pink, purple and blue spinel gems are popular for all ladies' jewelry. Large stones for cocktail rings are usually available in black, but may be difficult to find in other colors. Black spinel is a very versatile jewelry gemstone, which can be used for almost any design, from small accent stones to large statement stones. Its vitreous luster makes black spinel extremely alluring. For men, black spinel is ideal for cufflinks, rings, pendants and other items. Black spinel is often given a rose-cut, with a flat bottom, making it perfect for setting into cuff links or similar pieces of jewelry. Grayish-blue and grayish-violet spinel gems are also ideal for men's jewelry, since they are not too feminine or bright. Spinel is usually untreated and eye clean, which makes it an even more enticing option.
While spinel is not as hard as ruby or sapphire, it has sufficient hardness to be used in jewelry and its indistinct cleavage makes it durable enough for lasting designs that can be worn daily. Thus one of the benefits of spinel jewelry is that its beauty will last. Despite spinel being an attractive and typically affordable gemstone, it is not often seen in jewelry. Sadly, colored spinel gems in over 5 carats are quite rare, especially in vivid colors such as red and blue. Therefore, statement spinel jewelry can be made from black spinel gems or small closely-set colored spinel gems.
As demonstrated above, spinel is a stone that is not to be sniffed at. It is a versatile, durable and attractive jewelry gemstone that is believed to have a number of therapeutic properties which include the alleviation of stress and the promotion of love and compassion. Particularly, pink spinel is related to love and violet spinel is connected with spirituality. Spinel is thought to emit a calming energy, and encourage renewal and healing. It is also the zodiacal stone for those born under the sign of Gemini. Crown Jewel collections around the world including those of England, Russia and Iran contain superlative spinel gemstones. This is evidence enough of the beauty and value of spinel.
Labradorite is an intriguing and unique gemstone that shows a beautiful sheen of color when turned. This is known as labradorescence and gave rise to an Inuit legend that the Northern Lights shone onto the shores of Labrador and were held in these colored stones. The rarest and most prized labradorite gemstones show the whole spectrum of color, and these are known as "spectrolite". More often, labradorite gems show a blue or violet schiller, which is best brought out by being cut en cabochon. These are popularly worn as statement necklace pendants, earrings and cuff bracelets. Some believe that labradorite is a stone of insight, which facilitates truth, and encourages positivity and peace in its wearer. Labradorite was first found in Labrador, Canada, but is also sourced from Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Russia and the USA.
Fire opal is not like other opal gems in that it is prized for its body color rather than play of color. It is easy to see by looking at the gem on the right as to why this gem is called "fire" opal. The fiery colors of this vivid gem range from white and yellowish to bright orange and red. Fire opal gems make beautiful earrings and necklace pendants that brighten up any dull day or sizzle in the heat of a hot summer's day. Mexico is an important source for fire opal, as is Brazil. Fire opal gems are also found in the USA, Canada and Australia. Opal is the birthstone for people born in October. The metaphysical properties attributed to opal include the promotion of creativity, amplification of emotions and support in finding true love.
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Auction prices for ruby gems have been steadily increasing and an exceptional Burmese ruby is set to achieve an incredible price at Christie's 250th anniversary on 20th April in New York. The outstanding 15.99-carat red gem known as the Jubilee Ruby is mounted in a platinum and gold ring by Verdura and surrounded by white diamonds. The Jubilee Ruby is believed to be an unheated ruby from Mogok; arguably the most important source for fine ruby. The pre-sale estimate of $12-$15 million may well be exceeded.
Time being precious took on a whole new meaning at Baselworld 2016, where some of the most extravagant watches were showcased. Beautiful bejeweled timepieces that wowed visitors to the annual show included the Princess Butterfly watch by Graff, featuring wings fashioned from blue sapphire, which open to reveal a mother-of-pearl dial. The most colorful contribution showing a spectrum of 581 sapphire baguettes set in rose gold was Chopard's Imperiale Joaillerie watch.
The latest statement sneakers adorned with white diamonds, blue sapphires and 18k gold have been valued at $4 million US. The stunning Li-Ning Dwyane Wade shoes, named "The Fire Monkey" in celebration of the Chinese New Year were produced by Bicion in collaboration with Dan Gamache. Anyone wealthy enough to wear these sneakers may be well-advised to keep the tag, which is made from gold, and practice their sprinting skills before daring to wear them on the street. Proceeds from the sale of the shoes will go to Soles4Soles; a not for profit organisation which distributes clothing and shoes to those in need.
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- First Published: March-30-2016
- Last Updated: June-15-2017
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