The Ultimate Guide to the Black Spinel Gemstone

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You’ve probably heard about black spinel and are wondering what it’s all about. Although relatively unknown, black spinel is a durable and affordable gemstone. Stick around if you want to know more about its properties, history, symbolism, and essential care tips. 

What is black spinel?

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Black spinel is a rare and beautiful gemstone in the spinel mineral family. Black spinel is composed of magnesium aluminate or magnesium oxide. It’s known for its durability, hardness (ranks 8 on the Mohs scale), and ability to reflect light well, making it sparkly and eye-catching. These properties make it ideal for jewelry. 

Spinel gemstones form by metamorphic activity when molten rock combines with dolomites or limestone leaving a deposit of  minerals known as spinel gemstones.

The history of spinel dates back to 100 BC when it was discovered in a tomb near Kabul in Afghanistan. Black spinel is often mined with rubies and sapphires and has long been confused for these two precious gems. For example, in ancient times, all red stones were mistaken for rubies while in fact, they were red spinel. 

In ancient times, the mines of Southeast and Central Asia yielded a lot of spinel crystals. These fine stones were referred to as “Balas rubies”, and most of them were treasured property of emperors and kings, often passing through many hands as spoils of war. Due to this, some of the world’s most illustrious rubies are spinel. 

One of the most popular examples is the “Black Prince’s ruby.” This historic crimson-red gemstone is set in England’s Imperial State Crown and is displayed in the Tower of London. It was mined in the mountains of Afghanistan and first appeared in the historical records of 14th-century Spain. 

It was then owned by a succession of Spanish and Moorish Kings before Edward, Prince of Wales, got hold of the stone in 1367 as payment for a battle victory. Since then, many English monarchs have cherished the gemstone. In 1783, the mineralogist Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle identified spinel as a different mineral from ruby, clearing any misconceptions.

Most black spinel gems come from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Russia, India, and Africa. In Burma, the gemstones are found in the Mogok Valley. Black spinel gemstones found in Thailand, parts of Africa and Sri Lanka are lower quality than those found in Burma. 

What color spinel is most valuable?

Red spinel is the most valuable as it’s the most desired. The size and quality of the gemstone also determine its price. Spinel can be found in various colors, such as orange, yellow, gray, fuchsia pink, green, and chocolate.

What does black spinel symbolize?

Black spinel is a symbol of protection, inspiration, creativity and courage. It’s believed to open your eyes to a world of new possibilities. Instead of living a confined life, the black spinel inspires you to get out of your comfort zone, chase after your dreams, and become the best version of yourself. 

This black gemstone also helps clear mental fog and re-evaluate your surroundings to find new solutions to your current problems. It inspires creativity and enables you to get out of ruts, no matter how big or endless they might seem. 

This gem will help you find a new direction and discover how to live a fulfilling life. A common belief is that the black spinel helps to keep you grounded while at the same time encouraging you to achieve your dreams by inspirational and creative means. 

What is black spinel good for?

The black spinel has a variety of benefits ranging from emotional to physical.

Emotional benefits of black spinel

Black spinel is good for helping you find calmness and let go of resentments to re-establish relationships and dispel sadness.

It will also help you overcome the emotional hurdles that hold you back. You’ll finally be able to overcome old emotions like sadness, grudges and pain. And by doing so, you can make room for optimism and light. 

Physical benefits

Many healers claim that black spinel can induce a positive change in the gastrointestinal system, bladder, and female reproductive system. It’s used to improve digestion and reduce the frequency of stomach upsets.

In addition, it helps strengthen muscles, especially for those experiencing plateaus while working out. It also enhances the appearance of your skin — some people have said letting the black spinel’s energy wash over your body reduces breakouts and gives a clearer complexion. 

Lastly, the black spinel is known as a master energizer. Practitioners claim it makes you feel more present and dynamic, leading to better overall health and increased stamina.

How can you tell if black spinel is real?

When testing the authenticity of a black spinel gem, we recommend consulting a professional with a laboratory.

You’ll need to place it under UV radiation light. Set the machine to long-wave radiation and look for glowy stones. If the stones are glowy, you have a synthetic black spinel, not a natural one. 

If you don’t have access to UV radiation, you can place the stone under magnification. It has to be extremely high magnification, and you must observe very closely. If you look close enough and see “gas bubbles,” which are little pockets of air inside the gemstone, it indicates that the gemstone is synthetic and not natural. The gas bubbles form a “curve” of striations only a trained eye can see.

Under keen observation, black spinel is more reflective than sapphires and rubies. The gem also has an octahedral crystal structure that makes it different from other gemstones in the market. 

How to care for the black spinel gemstone

Here are a few essential care tips for your black spinel jewelry:

Clean the jewelry

The best way to care for your black spinel jewelry is to clean it. Since it’s hard and durable, it’s easy to keep it clean. The easiest way to clean this gem is using a soft cloth with dish soap and water. You can do this at home without spending too much money.

Polish the jewelry

Polish the gemstone using a polishing brush or machine. Due to its physical properties, you don’t have to worry about scratching it.

Store it properly

If you have several black spinel stones, avoid storing them together. For example, keep the necklace, bracelets and earrings separately because two black spinel stones can scratch each other. Also, wrap the jewelry in a soft cloth in storage or transit to avoid scrapes or scratches. 

Keep it away from harsh chemicals 

Avoid wearing your black spinel jewelry while cooking or cleaning. The harsh chemicals found in cleaning products could damage the surface of the jewelry. Also, a mild acid like lemon juice could touch your jewelry while cooking. 

Where to find good black spinel jewelry

Now that you know about black spinel in detail, you’re probably ready to acquire a few pieces of this fine gem. We’re sharing the best retailers to consider when buying black spinel jewelry.


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Amazon has a wide selection of black spinel jewelry ranging from necklaces, earrings and bracelets for you to choose from.

Brilliant Earth

Nimbus Ombre Ring

You can easily get black spinel jewelry from the Brilliant Earth store. They have a gorgeous collection of black spinel rings.


Black spinel ring - The Ultimate Guide to the Black Spinel Gemstone

Visit the Zales store to look at their beautiful collection of black spinel jewelry. 

Frequently asked questions

Though we’ve discussed black spinel in-depth, you might still have questions about this gemstone. Below we’ve answered questions people usually ask.

Is black spinel the same as onyx?

No. Although they are both black, black spinel and onyx differ. The black spinel is a semi-precious gemstone, while onyx is a type of quartz.

Is spinel good for everyday use?

Yes, spinel is suitable for daily use as it’s hard and durable. 

Is a spinel worth more than a ruby?

No, a spinel isn’t worth more that a ruby. While high quality spinels can cost between $3000 and $10,000 per carat, the finest rubies can cost from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $1,000,000 per carat. 

Is spinel a real crystal?

Yes, spinel is a real crystal with an octahedron structure. 

Does spinel crack easily?

No, it doesn’t. Spinel has a Mohs hardness of 8, so it can’t crack easily. 

The underappreciated gemstone

Black spinel is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a rare gemstone. Its attractiveness, durability, and affordability make it a great choice for making jewelry. If you need a boost of inspiration or creativity, the black spinel is for you.

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