Black Spinel is the rarest form of spinel, which typically comes in red, blue or purple. The spinel gemstone family covers a small group of minerals that have similar chemical properties, such as chrysoberyl and magnetite, but only the gems with significant clarity are very useful as gemstones. At Dakota Stones, we carry a variety of spinel strands, and we are lucky for the majority of them to be the rare black coloring. 

To understand the history of spinel, we need to recognize that it was not considered to be a different mineral in Europe until the late 19th century. It was recognized in historic Burma as its own material as late as the 1500’s, however, the information came too late for many European monarchs to incorrectly add spinel gems to their crown jewels, which were mistaken for rubies and sapphires

Famous examples of spinel come from the crowns of Catherine the Great and Great Britain’s Imperial State Crown. The gem in Great Britain’s crown is an irregular gem when compared to the other highly faceted gems on the same piece. This crown is still in use today, worn typically only on very special occasions, such as coronations. 

That being said, spinel is very much considered to be a very valuable gemstone today, for its red and blue varieties are incredibly clear. These stones also take to faceting very well, as you will find evident in our microfacet line

Black spinel is special for its rarity and its jet-black appearance. These stones are so impressive that they are often mistaken for black diamonds. Because of its rarity, it is difficult to obtain large specimens of this mineral, however, we have been lucky to find rough material large enough to shape into round beads. These stones are mysterious, and are a unique black shade when compared to other black beads in our inventory, like tourmaline or black onyx. These stones also have a nice weight to them, which can add a bit of value to a finished piece. Our microfacets could be considered a staple in any designer’s inventory for their versatility, as it is hard to go wrong with a black gemstone.



Date 11/9/2020

I think the faceted black spinel's are beautiful used as spacers in necklaces, because they sparkle and add a hint of glamour to the piece. From a geologist viewpoint, it is interesting on how many beautiful gemstones come from Burma.

Ken Rogers

Date 11/9/2020

Red Spinel is also known as a Balas Ruby". In the 14th century, the 170 carat Black Prince Ruby was given to the British royal family, by Edward of Woodstock ("The Black Prince"). He acquired the gemstone from Peter of Castile (aka Don Pedro the Cruel) who had ruthlessly killed the Iberian Muslim leader, Abu Sai'id, The gemstone had been found on, and taken from, on the body of Abu Sai'id, The gemstone was given as a gift from Peter of Castile to Edward of Woodstock, who presented it to the British Royal family. Once in England, the large "Ruby" had a tumultuous journey, and in different versions of British royal crowns, Currently, it is set in the cross, above the Cullinan II diamond., in the Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom In the late 18th century, the gemstone was proven to, not be a ruby, but it is a Spinel. Currently, it is the largest gem spinel (aka Balas Ruby".

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