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The Spinel

Known since antiquity, spinel has often been confused with ruby because of its exceptional bright red. This did not prevent him from occupying illustrious places in the ornaments of many sovereigns.

The Spinel exists in colors as incredible and vivid as bright red, pink, orange, purple, blue or purple with shades more or less pronounced. Philippe Tournaire likes to highlight this gem through original creations. Spinel is a stone of choice because of its brilliance and beauty. 

Identity card of an unknown gem

Spinel is a species belonging to the family of oxides. Its hardness is 8 on the Mohs scale, which makes it a very resistant gem and appreciated in jewelry. In the raw state, this surprising gem presents itself as the diamond in the form of double pyramid with contours often very well drawn. It also appears in the form of a flattened crystal, which sometimes limits the lapidaries which in this case cut the gem with a shallow breech, so as to lose as few carats as possible.

Its origins

This gem forms regularly alongside sapphires and rubies (which contributes - besides its color - to explain the confusions it has known). It is found mainly in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania and Tajikistan. Yellow gold spinel pendant.

Its color

Spinel comes in many faces, the most known and most coveted being its vibrant red. Philippe Tournaire appreciates the intensity and the sparkle of a red pink spinel, which makes it possible to sublimate a harmony of colors and make it even more festive. Some are of a magic red, others are reddish orange or an intense red pink and their warm tones are largely due to the presence of chromium. The more this chemical element is present during the formation of the spinel, the more its color will be of a sparkling red. In colder tones, this gem may be blue, purple and violet, even up to bluish green.

Until recently, it was thought that iron was the only element responsible for the blue color of spinel. It has been discovered that, in fact, it is the combination of iron and cobalt that allows our admiring eyes to contemplate the intense blues of these spinels, mainly from Madagascar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Spinel, a gem too little known to the general public, can be enigmatic by having different colors depending on the light that illuminates it (daylight or electric light) and can also be starry, with 4 or 6 branches. Spinel ring in white gold

Synthetic spinels

These gems have been synthesized since the beginning of the 20th century. It is possible to unmask a false blue spinel by looking at its inclusions and testing it with gemmological instruments. The true blue spinels contain iron and cobalt, while the scythes have no trace of iron, which may help to distinguish them. There are also triplets, composed of two parts in synthetic spinel colorless, gathered by a thin layer of colored glass. By looking at this profile substitute, it is generally possible to distinguish the three different layers. 

The unusual story of a little-known gem

For centuries, spinel has been taken for another who resembles him very much and who has grown by his side: the ruby. It was not until much later in the 19th century that spinel was separated from the ruby into two distinct entities, thanks to scientific advances. The typical examples which follow show that a gem unknown at the time was nevertheless present in many ornaments of the sovereigns, without they knowing it…

Among the famous jewels with a spinel, we find:

- the "ruby" of the Black Prince : a spinel of 170 carats today jewel of the crown of England. He first decorated the helmet of King Henry V at the Battle of Azincourt in 1415.

- the "ruby" of Timour: an exceptional 361 carat spinel carved in cabochon belonging to this day to Queen Elizabeth of England. On this incredible gem are inscribed Persian inscriptions, testifying of its antiquity..

- the origin of the word spinel is debated: it could come from the Greek "spita" meaning "spark" or from the Latin "spina" which means "spine". The two sources could respectively refer to fire, the bright red color of a spinel and the sharp crystals that are peculiar to it. The red spinel would be a symbol of power and courage. The blue spinel, on the other hand, would allow the wearer to repel the negative energies..

Whatever the case, this gem with an unusual course has made a name among the great, thanks to its beauty and its sparkle. Recognized recently, it deserves to be appreciated for its sparkling colors, without being always associated with ruby. The jeweler Philippe Tournaire invites us to discover this precious gem with captivating colors. Succumb to its singular charm that makes us travel, thinking of it as a real spinel and not a false ruby!

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