Two blood red spinels.
gemología

Spinel - the successor of ruby

Autor: Piotr Zieliński

Ruby has always been the undisputed king of red. Loved by monarchs and elites, this jewel, the shade of dove's blood, has never had an equal until now. However, in an era of resource depletion, the availability of this mineral has significantly decreased, and prices have skyrocketed. What are the consequences? Is it worth investing in something else?

Ruby and investment risk

Due to these changes, a multitude of counterfeits, imitations and revised rubies have appeared in the gemstone market. Currently, this valued mineral, next to the emerald, is the most frequently treated stone in the world. Many of these methods are impermanent and the customer is often not informed about the type of interference when purchasing. High risk and fairy-tale prices scare away investors who then look for an alternative.

It turns out that you don't have to look far for such an alternative. It was found a long time ago. In ancient times, large crystals known as Balas rubies were mined in mines located in Central and Southeast Asia. Some of them were included in the crown jewels of emperors, often changing hands like spoils of war. However, it turned out that the extracted crystals were not ruby ​​but Spinel - a mineral with similar physical properties and a crystal shape to diamond. The name Spinel comes from the Latin word "spina" meaning ’arrow’.

An underrated gem with invaluable potential

For centuries, this mineral could be described as the most underrated gem in history. But now, with the rising prices of rubies, its splendour has seen the light of day in all its glory. Spinel is found in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, as well as in the legendary Mogok mines in Burma, from which also the highest-class rubies come from. It owes its blood-red or pink colour to a trace of chromium. The greater the content of this element in the crystal, the stronger the red hue.

Interestingly, spinel, like sapphire, comes in a variety of colours such as orange, pink, purple, blue, purple and even greenish. Thanks to this, you can design multi-coloured jewellery compositions using just this one type of gemstone. Spinel is also very tough. Unlike tanzanite or tourmaline, it is difficult to scratch, so it can be successfully used for everyday jewellery. A variety of colours and physical properties, greater availability and a better price make both jewellers and customers more and more willing to use this exotic mineral.

Pierścionek i kolczyki ze spinelem i diamentami.

How much does spinel cost?

However, what can be said about the value of spinel? Is it profitable to invest in it as you would in rubies? The answer is quite simple. A good investment is one in which you invest little and gain a lot. In the case of rubies, the investment requires a very high initial deposit. Meanwhile, the spinel deposits are not yet as depleted as is the case of the gem with which it is compared. Therefore, at a relatively low price, you can get a very high-quality stone, which, when framed as beautiful jewellery, significantly increases in value. But even now, you can see huge disproportions in the prices of this mineral, even in specialized salons. This is because, as with any scarce natural resource, the price will increase in proportion to the depletion of the resource. There are already companies specializing in the search for this particular mineral, and its prices are increasing every year. Therefore, it can rightly be said that spinel is the successor of ruby, which will over time live up to its price and fame.

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