Black Spinel

Can you tell us a little about the source of this material?

Our Black Spinel is sourced from the state of Tasmania, which is the smallest of Australia’s states and the only one not located on the mainland of the country. Commonly found when mining for Rubies and Sapphires, Black Spinel holds many of the same desirable qualities when it comes to hardness, durability and luster. This particular Black Spinel comes from a mine that was originally designed to be worked for tin and Sapphire. Years ago, we worked on a project in this location where our colleagues mined for Sapphire. While they did find some Sapphire, they also found the Black Spinel you see here today.

Though Australia is our current source, we do offer a few additional larger pieces within our Heritage Collection, which is material from Thailand that was sourced many, many years ago.

What kinds of sizes, shapes and cutting styles can be found?

This material can be found in a range of varying sizes, but most commonly cut in small melee sizes up to 5 carat stones. Black Spinel larger than 5 carat stones can be quite rare. Since we do our own cutting, working with a dark opaque gem like this means we are able to create just about any shape imaginable. This includes rounds, baguettes, ovals, emerald cuts, kites, all types of rose cuts, and even faceted beads.

Is this material typically enhanced in any way?

The Black Spinel we offer is not treated in any way. Be cautious though as you will find a variety of fracture filled or synthetic material on the market today.
While it is possible to identify a fake Spinel, it is difficult to do without a trained eye. It’s important to buy from a trusted source who can provide detailed information on how the gem is produced. This is true not only if you are looking for a genuine Black Spinel, but particularly important if you are looking for a genuine and untreated Black Spinel.

Are there any unique characteristics you can share about this material?

Black Spinel has the same properties and hardness as other Spinel, with the obvious difference of it being opaque. Like it’s transparent cousins, Black Spinel has a vitreous luster and takes a brilliant polish. It is this brilliant polish we want to bring out. When cut and polished correctly, this jet-black gem offers the most brilliant sparkle you will find in any opaque stone. Black Spinel offers a beautiful depth and contrast in color, even when compared to a black diamond which can have a more metallic sheen to it. It also has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, which makes it a great option for daily wear. Between this and the high sparkle, Black Spinel is well worth considering when designing with black gems.

What are the gem specs of this material? How do we know if it is authentic?

The material we source at Columbia Gem House is backed with our Gem Trust guarantee. This means you know it’s an authentic gemstone and that we will share all available information with you. You can find additional gem specifications below:

Gem Type
Black Spinel
Fair Trade Level
Australia (some heritage material from Thailand)
Not Treated
Hardness (Mohs Scale)
Refractive Index
1.71 - 1.74
Specific Gravity
3.58 - 3.61
Crystal Structure

How do I care for my gemstone?

All Spinel is very hard and quite tough. No special care is required for your Black Spinel but like all gemstones, take care not to strike it directly and treat it as the fine jewelry it is. Spinel can easily be cleaned with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. These gems can also be put in ultrasonic or steam cleaners if you choose to get your piece cleaned professionally.

What can you tell us beyond the facets? I want to know more…

An anecdote from our owner, Eric Braunwart: When I show Black Spinel, I like to take a strand of faceted rondelle beads, take a few steps back and move it around a bit before I ask people what they see. The answer is always the same – ‘Wow, it really sparkles!’ Well, this sparkle does not come from within the gem but rather from the extremely high reflection of light on the surface, which is only enhanced with quality cutting and polishing. No other gem does this in the way that Black Spinel does!