With a wide variety of affordable gemstones in the market, especially those that act as an inexpensive alternative to the four precious gems, Spinels are highly appreciated for their ease of purchase and availability. Diamonds have affordable simulants such as white zircon, and moissanite whereas the precious green emeralds could be substituted for green onyx, green tourmaline, etc. Similarly, blue sapphires can be substituted for iolite and amethyst; so what do you think can act as a good alternative to the scarlet-hued rubies? Well, the answer could be red tourmaline, red zircon, red garnet, along with the most sought-after ruby substitute – red spinel.
While more and more couples are choosing this beautiful gem as a centerstone of their engagement ring for it being a pocket-friendly alternative to red rubies, the popularity of other shades of spinel is also gaining momentum in the market. In this blog, we will be discussing some tips on how you could choose spinel engagement rings for yourself or your beloved at prices remarkably less than that of precious gemstones.
Why Care For a Spinel Engagement Ring?
Since spinels enjoy a durability of 8 out of 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, the stone is not susceptible to damage easily. Also, spinels are resistant to chemical exposures and light and hence suitable for everyday wear, as in the case of an engagement ring. Though extremely high temperatures could lead to fading of stone’s color, it does not happen usually.
Spinels do not have cleavage property, which means that the stones have strongly bound molecules along their internal planes. As a result, spinels do not break along these planes. However, you need to keep your spinels clean and dirt-free to increase their life and shine.
What Are Different Spinel Colors You Must Look For?
Spinels are available in a wide band of colors. While it is natural to find a colorless spinel, other beautiful shades could be red, blue, black, orange, pink, yellow, lavender, green, etc. in transparent to opaque visibility due to the presence of trace elements such as cobalt, chromium, iron, etc. The orange color varieties are known as “flame spinels” for their vibrant saturation and medium tones while another color variant called “Jedi spinels” are well-known for their hot pink shades incorporating neon shine.
The red spinels, which are transparent, are often called balas rubies or spinel rubies, it is due to the fact that they are so much similar to the precious rubies in their optical appearance. In fact, until a few decades ago, rubies and spinels were considered equal and it was only by the end of the 18th century that the red corundum variety was designated as ruby only and the spinel got its separate identity. In fact, several well-known red gemstones preserved in history were actually spinels that were mistaken for rubies.
What Factors to Look For in a Spinel Engagement Ring?
While looking out for spinel rings, you must give more importance to their color and then their carat weight. While the most-demanded shades such as vibrant red followed by cobalt blue, orange, and pink varieties command the highest prices for their high-quality vivid saturation levels, the less-demanded colors such as violet, lavender, black, gray, etc. are valued very low.
Since it is rare to find large and finely faceted spinels in the market, the price of the stone rises considerably as the carat weight increases. This is also the reason why many gem cutters would rather cut spinels in non-standard cuts so as to keep as much carat weight as possible. But even if two spinels have the same carat weight, they might be sold at different prices due to their color.
Are You Into Color-Shifting Spinels?
Apart from standard colors, spinels with color-shifting capabilities could also be found. Such gems are often light-sensitive and show different colors when observed under different light sources. An instance of this could be a blue-hued spinel in fluorescent light shifting to purple or pink shades in incandescent light, along with displaying a blend of both colors under daylight. You may also find a rare spinel with a cat’s eye phenomenon or the asterism effect (star-shaded light reflection) in a finely cut cabochon spinel.
For “August” Born Folks…
If you are born in the eighth month of the year, then spinel is your birthstone and you could wear it to benefit from its spiritual properties. And needless to say what could be the best way of incorporating spinel into your daily life other than making it the centerstone of your engagement ring.
Which Metals Suit Spinel’s Fabulous Color Palette?
Dark-hued spinel rings in shades of blue and pink would look best when paired with white metals such as silver, platinum, white gold, etc. looking more vivacious. While red, green, yellow, etc. would go well with yellow metals such as rose gold, yellow gold, copper, etc. Do consider that it is just a convention and not a rule, you can go for any metal with any color as long as it suits your budget, preference, and skin type.
Synthetic Spinels For Your Engagement Ring
Apart from naturally mined spinels, you could easily find a wide variety of lab-grown spinels which are inexpensive substitutes for precious gemstones such as rubies, and sapphires. These artificial stones are even lower on the budget than their natural counterparts. The lab-made varieties are so common that some might not even know that natural species of this gemstone also exist in the market.
Synthetic and natural spinels are similar in terms of their physical and chemical properties, including their durability, hence nobody other than an experienced gemologist could differentiate between the two by conducting a thorough physical examination and performing some standardized tests. So, if you are too tight on your budget for an engagement ring, you can always go for a big synthetic spinel centerstone of any color without worrying about your expenses.
What Could be the Best Ring Settings for Spinels?
Since spinel is brittle in nature, your ring setting should be such that it could protect the edges of the centerstone, such as a bezel setting or a halo setting. In case, your spinel mounting is exposed to the outer forces, make sure to remove the ring every time you are doing some vigorous work. This is because spinel has brittle tenacity and like several other gemstones commonly worn by people a spinel could shatter when subjected to extreme sudden impact.
Buy Your Spinels From a Trustworthy Source
Though some gemstone dealers provide quality grading to spinels in the range of AAA, AA, etc., GIA does not have any standard quality grades for categorizing spinels. The popularity of spinel is rising among jewelry enthusiasts but its market is still low and therefore you are less likely to find a reliable jeweler to purchase your spinel engagement ring. If you are very particular about buying a natural spinel only, choose a reputable vendor who is most likely to tell you the difference between the natural ones, lab variants, and even the treated varieties, since each of these will cost you different.
Not many people know that apart from being one of the most likable alternatives for rubies, spinel comes in a wide spectrum of colors. It is an affordable replacement for several highly priced gemstones. Spinels are available in different sizes and are highly durable, so you need not worry about the stone getting worn out over time.
We have shared with you some useful tips on how you could pick the best spinel engagement ring for yourself. If you find the tips helpful, then browse our collection of spinel gemstones and jewelry to pick your perfect charm.