Black spinel is a gemstone made of magnesium oxide and magnesium-aluminum oxide. It is one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones. At the same time, it is one of the most mysterious ones. Even his name is a mystery as no one knows how it got it. Some speculate that it originates from the Latin word “Spinella” which stands for “little thorn,” while others speculate it comes from the Greek word “Spinos” which translates as sparkle or spark. 


The meaning of the black spinel is to present intuitive outcomes. It also means to beat all your challenges and get back to the original condition. Black Spinel is valuable in bringing out boundless chances. If you strive to achieve your goals, wearing Black Spinel can benefit you. It will adapt your feelings and help you solve the problem.

black spinel
14ct black spinel stone, paired with 4ct ruby

Throughout time, each culture has had its input into the traditional meaning of gemstones and created its legends. However, the single best resource for traditions on gemstones is George Kunz’s book “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones” The book was first published in 1913 and still remains a cornerstone of the understanding of gemstones.

George’s role in understanding the symbolism and meaning of gemstones (the black spinel included) also extends into his involvement in organizing some of the finest collections of rare stones. 

That includes his role in organizing some of the most famous collections in the world, the J.P. Morgan-Tiffany collection. Nowadays, the J.P. Morgan-Tiffany collection is part of the American Museum of Natural History and is available to the public.


Physical Properties

Black spinel is rated eight on the MOHS hardness scale and most often occurs as water-worn pebbles or octahedral crystal formations. Best spinels don’t come with inclusions and don’t require any chemical treatment. Unless it is a lighter colored Spinel which may require some chemical treatment. In terms of colors, the spinel can come in a deep black hue (most often), light-dark blue tones, purple, pink, yellow, and amber hues.

Metaphysical Healing Properties

Black spinel is often regarded as a protective gemstone that repels negativity while at the same time triggering empowerment and inspiration to its bearer. There is also a popular belief that this stone can heal the entire body as a whole.

Also, great benefits can come to people seeking to get rid of resentments, want to expel feelings of sadness, and find calmness.

The Black Spinel can have a major role in helping people achieve their life goals. It does that by giving the person more confidence, assertiveness, and promoting perseverance. All are seen as growth cornerstones, part of any winning mentality. 

Another great benefit of a black spinel is that it can be very helpful in meditation as it can give calm and release blockages. That alone can give the person new strength and open many new doors, which lead to higher consciousness and better life balance.

In terms of the physical level, the black spinel can also have a profound effect. For example, it cleanses the skin, improves the work of the digestive tract, strengthens the muscles, and makes you feel more dynamic. 

black spinel stone
14ct black spinel stone, paired with 4ct ruby

Black Spinel in Jewelry Uses

Thanks to its specific hardness, spinel is incredibly versatile and can be used for all sorts of jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and other amazing ornaments. Some of the most famous jewelry designers, like Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Chanel, use black spinel jewelry along with other precious stones. 

Black Goes With Everything

Emeralds, sapphires, and rubies look amazing when wearing various colors, but black goes on everything. A simple, black spinel bracelet against a baby-pink top or a light-colored sundress can evoke both elegance and radiance at the same time. Pair that with earrings of black stones, and you get a million-dollar look.

A faceted black spinel stone on a pair of dainty studs or a delicate chain is no short of spectacular. Whether you have your little black dress or you are rocking jeans for a casual hangout with your friends, it is the perfect accessory. 

Stand Out From the Crowd

Black spinel jewelry is rare, and at the same time, it is very eye-catching. You better prepare yourself for attention wherever you go. Minimalist black spinel jewelry can fit any style and outfit. According to many fashionistas, black spinel jewelry is the perfect minimalist accessory. 

History of Spinel Jewelry 

The most famous spinel piece of jewelry is the “Black Prince’s ruby.” The gem is part of England’s Imperial State Crown and is on display at the Tower of London. This spinel is unjustly called ruby; even if it isn’t a ruby. But the name stuck for all those years, and no one made an effort to change that even after the gemstone was recognized as a spinel.

This spinel is smoothly polished and comes in an octagonal shape. According to some historical sources, the spinel was mined in Afghanistan’s mountains. 

During the 14th century, it appeared as part of the Spanish royal jewelry. However, in 1367 the spinel was given to the Prince of Wales as a payment for a war victory. Since then, it remained in the custody of English monarchs and is one of the centerpieces of the crown’s jewels.

Another excellent example of spinel jewelry is the “Timur ruby” which is also part of the Crown Jewels. Again, it was named ruby because, at that time, people thought it was a ruby and didn’t know it was a separate gemstone. The “Timur Ruby” also has a checkered history as it has few Persian inscriptions on it.

The Mogul necklace is made of spinel gemstones that have a total of 1,131,59 carats and was sold at an auction for an incredible $5.2 million in 2011. But this spinel is not black, but a red one. Same as the one on the Russian Imperial Crown which features 398.72 carats. The gem is part of the famous Kremlin Armory State Diamond Fund collection. 

But the biggest one of all is the Samarian Spinel, and it has 500 carats. It too is a red spinel, and it is part of the Iranian Crown Jewels.

Where Does Black Spinel Come From?

Most significant spinel deposits are found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand. Smaller deposits of this rare gemstone are found in the USA, Tanzania, Tadzhikistan, Nigeria, Madagascar, Brazil, Nepal, Australia, and Afghanistan. 

But, if it wasn’t Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle, a famous mineralogist, the spinel was recognized as a separate mineral from the ruby. That happened in 1783, and since then the spinel was identified as such, and not as a ruby, or any other gemstone.

All black spinel occurs naturally and is formed by metamorphic activity that happens when dolomites or limestone combine with molten rock. That’s the process that creates a deposit that looks like a durable mineral in the rock itself. That’s how this mineral is formed which later is mined and leaves a black gemstone whose features are similar to those of sapphires and rubies.

Mining methods vary from low technology where miners use straw baskets and are sluicing the stream gravel, to hydraulic hoses and backhoes to get to the precious gemstone. The more developed the country, the more advanced mining methods are used, and vice versa. 

How Much Is Black Spinel Worth?

For a long time, spinel was mainly favored by gem dealers. But recently, both jewelry lovers and gem collectors have shown exquisite interest in this precious gem. Because there isn’t any regular supply of natural spinel, it is not likely to find it at your everyday jewelry shop. That is why the spinel is mainly found through specialized gemstone dealers that tend to trade only with the finest stones.

The recent demand and the undersupplied market have caused the price increase of fine spinel. But even with the recent increase, spinel prices are relatively low compared to those of sapphire and ruby. The fact that spinel has excellent hardness makes it even more suitable for almost every type of jewelry.

Spinel prices are formed on factors such as size, clarity, color, and to some extent, on its origin. A secondary gray hue color is sometimes present, but that only diminishes the value of the spinel. 

Spinels from Tanzania and Burma come in sizes that are under one carat and as such are priced from $200 to $500. But as a general rule, the bigger the stone, the higher the price is. Top black spinel can sell for $1,200 in the one to two-carat region. But anything more than two carats and the price spikes exponentially. Sellers may ask anywhere in the region from $3,000 to $5,000 per carat. The rarest ones are over five carats and their prices range from $7,000 to $10,000.  

Where to Buy Black Spinel?

Usually Etsy or Amazon is a good idea. Etsy is the leading online global marketplace of handmade, vintage, and creative goods. Amazon is one of the largest global online marketplaces. Both of them are reliable and easy to find your favorite items there.

How to Identify Black Spinel?

Black spinel is often mistaken for some other stones like black diamond, black onyx, black tourmaline, etc. However, that’s if you are not educated enough on the topic and don’t know how to distinguish black spinel from other gemstones.

Every Black spinel features a single refraction and octahedral crystal structure that makes it different from any other precious stone out there.

How to Use Black Spinel?

To make the most of it, the black spinel needs to rest on the skin directly. It can be worn as a necklace, ring, earrings, pendant, or bracelet. In terms of chakras, it should be matched with the chakra color. 

How to Cleanse Black Spinel?

The black spinel is pretty stable when exposed to various chemicals and light. However, there might be some issues when exposed to high heat. 

Both steam cleaners and ultrasonic cleaners are considered safe. Unless there are some fractures within the gemstone. In such a case, soapy water can do the job just fine. 

Then there is cleaning with color-altering heat treatment. The thing is that if the spinel has fractures, they can be filled to increase its clarity. The downside is that after time, the filler can fade away to a certain percentage, and that affects the appearance of the gemstone. That is why any fractured gemstone should always be cleaned with warm soapy water and a damp cloth.

Compared to Other Similar Gemstones

For a long time, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones. However, thanks to several geologists, that’s not the case anymore, and spinel is recognized as a separate gemstone. Here we will make a head-to-head comparison of the black spinel with diamond, onyx, and black tourmaline.

Black Spinel vs. Black Diamond

Even though spinel hits 8 on the MOHS scale, its lack of cleavage makes it very durable and resistant to scratching. At the same time, it doesn’t need any enhancement so it can have its jet-black color. That’s its natural color which only adds up to its overall appeal. Plus, its few inclusions increase its durability. You cannot find any metallic overtone with the black spinel as it is very reflective. That’s a unique feature of the black spinel and rarely seen with other black gemstones.

Black Diamond

On the other hand, diamonds are the hardest gemstones as they hit 10 on the MOHS scale. Black diamonds are made with the same inclusions that make white diamonds less valued. Those inclusions also weaken the black diamonds by creating more cleavage planes. That makes the black diamonds a bit more vulnerable than other diamonds. But even with that, black diamonds remain the strongest black gemstones because they are diamonds after all. 

The common part of both jewels is that their darkness makes them quite valuable. Also, no other black gemstone can come even close to both their durability and qualities. Black diamonds are a classic that charms everyone with their metallic brilliance. Then there are the black spinels that are somewhat of a novelty to modern jewelry, but their intriguing reflective jet makes them extremely appealing.

Black Spinel vs. Black Onyx 

Black onyx contains a selection of oxide minerals named chalcedony. The alternating parallel bands of color are hard to see in the black but are there. Moganite and QQuartz are at the very core of the black onyx. Onyx is found in numerous places all over the world and is most commonly used by artists in creating their masterpieces hundreds of years ago. It has been used for sculptures, buildings, and hand-made jewelry.

black onyx
Black Onyx Stones

Both Black Spinel and Black Onyx are very durable. They are great options for any jewelry. Black onyx’s opaque properties make it a more suitable option for bead features, while the black spinel is more appropriate for smaller designs. 

Black Spinel vs. Black Tourmaline

Tourmaline is the most common black gemstone available on the market nowadays. Most tourmaline comes in black color, and that makes it so much more affordable. Plus, it comes in big sizes which is excellent if you need a large black gemstone. Cut gemstones are commonly found in the weight of nearly 100 carats. Just like any other tourmaline, Black tourmaline has the perfect properties for almost any type of jewelry out there. A feature that makes black tourmaline truly unique is that it utilizes a traditional facet cut, and not the rose cuts or the standard cabochons with faceted tops and flat bottoms.

Black Tourmaline Stones

Black spinel is often found in larger sizes, unlike any other spinel color. According to most experts, the black spinel is much finer than the black tourmaline. No other black gemstone can display better brilliance in jewelry than a black spinel. Its hardness makes it an excellent option for any jewelry design.

The Best Combination to Use With Black Spinel

If you genuinely want to make the most of your black spinel, you can combine it with other elements as well. Each combination addresses a particular issue or a condition you might be dealing with. For all those situations, you need to keep it close to you in the moments of need and next to whatever other element is required.

  • Folks that need better stability and security need to combine it with Rose Quartz, Blue Quartz, Clear Quartz, Black Tourmaline, or Topaz.
  • Folks who suffer from the symptoms of depression should combine it with Citrine, Carnelian, Botswana Agate, Eilat Stone, Fairy Quartz, Lapis Lazuli, Moonstone, Jet, or Lepidolite.
  • People who want to activate kundalini energy should use it with Jet, Kundalini Quartz, or Garnet.
  • For memory improvement, people should combine it with Blue Calcite, Emerald, Pyrite, Honey Calcite, Onyx, or Rhodochrosite.
  • To trigger your inner power, you need to pair it with Yellow Jasper, Sunstone, Sphene, Yellow Brown Scapolite, Yellow Sapphire, Golden Tiger Eye, Chrysoberyl, Citrine, or Rutilated Quartz. 
  • For folks whose energy levels are running quite low, it is recommended to pair it with Garnet, Carnelian, Calcite, Tiger Eye, Herkimer Diamond, or any Quartz.
  • Folks who need an intellect boost and want to improve their mental capacity should combine it with Topaz, Rose Quartz, Pyrite, Malachite, Honey Calcite, Obsidian, Tektite, or Turquoise.

Final Words

Black spinel is a genuinely exceptional gemstone whose properties and appearance make a powerful combination that can impress both royalties and everyday people alike. Plus, it is one of those stones whose radiance is abundant and felt all the time.

Above we have explained pretty much everything one should know about this precious stone. This is all the information one might need for the black spinel.