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How much do you know about Black Spinel?

At Antonia Guise we love a black spinel! We use them in two of our made to order pieces, our Circe Hexagon Necklace and Godiva Spinel Studs and we often get asked about them, as they seem to be a less well-known gemstone. So, we thought we’d give you a whistle stop tour of all the things you should know and why we think they make the perfect centre point for our jewellery!


Where does the name Spinel come from?

The word ‘Spinel’ comes from the Latin ‘Spina’ which translates as ‘thorn’. This refers to the sharp crystal formations which the gemstone is formed from.

How are Black Spinels formed?

Black Spinel is a naturally occurring variation of the Spinel family. You have probably come across their better-known cousins red, pink and blue Spinel as they are often mistaken for Rubies and Sapphires. In fact one of the biggest stones in the Crown Jewells; The Black Prince’s Ruby is actually a spinel.

They are all formed by metamorphic activity, when molten rock combines with limestone, leaving a deposit which is then mined leaving Black Spinels. Black spinels are found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.


What is the History of Spinels?

Often confused for rubies and sapphires, spinel has been used in body adornments from ancient times in Royal Courts, from China to Rome. Often passing from one court to another as the spoils of war in ancient times large Spinels were mined in central and south east Asia, becoming treasured property of some of the most powerful kingdoms and Empires of the time.

The Black Prince’s Ruby was probably minded in Afghanistan and is first mentioned in historical records in fourteenth-century Spain. Edward, Prince of Wales received the stone in 1367 from a Spanish King as reward for a battle victory.

It was Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle, a mineralogist, who in 1873 first identified that Spinel had a different mineral make up from Rubies and should be classed as a different gemstone.

How easy are Black Spinels to care for?

Black Spinels come in at 8 on the MOHS scale – meaning that they are hard and durable. This makes them great for jewellery that is worn a lot as they are unlikely to scratch and only require a very light clean from time to time with a soft cloth.

What are Black Spinels healing properties?

Black Spinels are considered to be protective gemstones. They are known to repel negative energies and help wearers with letting go of resentment. They are thought to inspire and empower whilst helping the wearer to find calmness. Perfect for modern day life!


Sound like the perfect stone for you? Then check out our Black Spinel jewellery…