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Blue Spinel: The Less Known Star of Blue Engagement Rings

Author: Lisa Jeeves
by Lisa Jeeves
Posted: Jun 10, 2014

When most people think of blue engagement rings, they are under the impression that all of the stones topping a jewel of this kind are sapphires. That is an honest and justified assumption – after all, the sapphire is the stone most associated with the colour blue. However, this assumption may be incorrect.

There is another unsung hero in the world of blue engagement rings. A stone which is well-liked by jewellers, but mistaken for other, more precious gems by pretty much everyone else, including, sometimes, jewellery specialists. That stone is the blue spinel.

Blue spinel is a rather hard (8 on the hardness scale, with a density of 3.6), durable, versatile and brilliant stone, which makes it a firm favourite among jewellery designers and crafters. It is made from a magnesium aluminium oxide alloy and mined in the same places as many other precious stones, such as Brazil or Sri Lanka. The most notable spinels, however, are those that come from Myanmar, as they are an exquisite shade of hot pink with shades of orange, which is absolutely stunning.

The most common colour of these stones, however, is deep red, which explains why, for centuries, they were confused with rubies. The jewel at the centre of the British Imperial Crown – long thought to be a ruby – was identified as a red spinel not too long ago. Spinels can also come in several pastel shades.

Curiously enough, blue engagement rings are one of the least likely places to find spinels. Blue-coloured stones of this type – often called cobalt spinels – are extremely rare and valuable, and not at all likely to be found in anything sold by your average high-street jeweller. This does not mean, evidently, that blue variants of the stone have never been used in jewellery; they are simply much rarer than other hues.

It is also curious that spinels remain so unknown in the world of engagement jewellery, as historically mankind has been aware of their existence for several centuries. The first sightings of this stone were in Buddhist tombs in Afghanistan, and England has known of them since the Roman occupation, as a few cobalt spinels recently found on British soil were dated to that period.

Despite society’s historic awareness of it and its myriad qualities, the truth is spinels remain a bit of an ‘unknown soldier’ in the world of engagement jewellery. Still, the next time you and your partner are out shopping for blue engagement rings, double-check the stone on the ring you like. It just might be something other than a sapphire...

Frank L Orman is the founder of the F&L Designer Guides, compiled and written to help consumers choose a unique engagement ring design. From blue engagement rings to princess cuts and engraved bands, we have ideas and opinions covering all the options. Offering advice, tips and suggestions on how to choose that perfect ring, F&L will accompany you on every stage of your search to find the right designer.

About the Author

Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.

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Author: Lisa Jeeves

Lisa Jeeves

Member since: Oct 18, 2013
Published articles: 4785

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