What is Spinel? Featuring Lilac Purple Colour Changing Spinel

Natural lilac coloured purple spinel

What is Spinel? Lilac Spinel for a Unique Choice

Earlier this week we were lucky enough to source a truly unique gemstone—a natural lilac coloured Spinel. This connoisseurs choice makes a rare and fascinating alternative to other types of gemstones offered by jewellers.

Spinel is one of those gemstones that rarely features within commercial jewellery stores. Owing to the rarity of certain colours, it can be extremely difficult to repeat certain colours, shapes and sizes.

Natural examples have become a collector’s choice, prized for its varieties of colour and rarity. Red tends to be the most desirable colour existing alongside other varieties of colour including blue, violet, pink and orange.

Spinel – A Hard Wearing Alternative to Tanzanite

Recently introduced as a birthstone alternative for August, Spinel has been used historically, first identified as different from Ruby by Mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle in 1783. With a hardness of 8 on Moh’s scale it is a perfect gemstone for durability and everyday wear. Violet and blue shades are a good hard-wearing alternative to Tanzanite for this reason. Although we have set Tanzanite into rings, few buyers realise that Tanzanite is rarely a hard wearing choice for day to day wear.

One of the details we love about this unique gemstone lies in the treatment of gemstones. Most Sapphires pass through some form of enhancement to improve their colour. By comparison, the lilac Spinel we feature here is 100% natural in colour without any enhancement.

Spinel and the Crown Jewels

Rather interestingly the famous 14th century Black Prince’s Ruby in the British Imperial Crown is actually a red spinel. Spinels sometimes get mistaken for either Sapphires or Rubies. Owing to their rarity, colours such as red can demand higher prices than Rubies and Sapphires.

Purple Spinel Engagement Ring

The above purple example was added to the Elsa engagement ring design, crafted in 950 Platinum to contrast with the purple colouration of the Spinel.  The completed ring was testament to the beauty of natural Spinel as shown in the photograph below which reveals the completed gemstone engagement ring. Truly a one-of-a-kind commission.

Purple Spinel Engagement Ring in Platinum.

Crystal Perfection for Spinel

The perfection of Spinel crystals in Burma lead to the description “nat thwe” or “polished by the spirits.”

Unique Gemstone Ideas

If you are looking for a rare and unusual gemstone, we are happy to suggest unique ideas for a bespoke piece of jewellery. Since many of our gemstone commissions are individual “one-off” creations, we source, photography and quote based upon specific gems available. Accurate high-resolution colour photography ensures overseas clients receive accurate photography to make their choice. Whether you choose Spinel or an alternative choice, let us help with any enquiry.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.