Posted by Dakota Stones on 11/9/2020 to
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.