With deep rich hues, and copper-green streaking on the encompassing azure-blue color makes Azurite or Blue Spinel an exotic stone worth showing off.
Many consider Azurite the most pious stone in history. Blue spinel is known for more than just its healing powers, as its hues make it stand out amongst collectors and professionals alike. There are gorgeous colors playing and transitioning on the surface of the stone make the stone almost look alive. A hypnotic blue background with streaking copper-green colors makes this gemstone a true showstopper.
What makes Blue Spinel a special gemstone is that it is one of few that occur naturally. Spinel Gems are becoming increasingly popular, however, it is the blue stones that are attracting the attention of experts. Unlike other blue gemstones, such as Sapphire, Tanzanite Stone, and Aquamarine, there is no known treatment for a spinel. Therefore, every spinel is 100% natural and without any manmade modifications beyond the cutting process.
For many years, spinel has gone unnoticed as a gemstone with excellent durability and intense color. In more recent years, famous red and vivid pink spinel from Mahenge, Tanzania, and Burma had got all the attention. However, now, more and more people are noticing the more pastel colors, including blue spinel.
What Causes the Color in Blue Spinel?
Blue spinel gets it color from the impurity of cobalt in the crystal’s composition. These gemstones are commonly known as Cobalt Blue Spinel. In many sources, such as Sri Lanka, the spinel will have a high iron content, which often makes the gemstone darker. This results in a blue greyish to violet-blue color, rather than the pure blue it is known for.
Dark Blue Spinel Color
When the blue spinel has a high iron content, it will have a darker color and is best viewed in daylight, especially when the sun is positioned over your shoulder, casting a shadow over the stone. Viewing the gemstone this way will enhance the bright sparkles of blue color in the spinel.
These stones will have a darker and less lively inside than the outside. The hues of the stone vary from azure-blue to violet-blue in color.
Blue Spinel Value
All spinel stones should be eye clean and free from inclusions, blue spinel is no different. If the gem has visible inclusions or markings, it will fetch less on the market.
The more vibrant the color, the more valuable the stone is. High saturation in color with a medium tone is the most valuable type of blue spinel. Gemstones with this color are always colored by cobalt and are extremely rare, which only increases the value.
Blue Spinel Reaction Under Chelsea Filter
Chelsea Filter is a tool used to show traces of chromium and cobalt in a stone. When a natural cobalt blue spinel is viewed through this tool, it will appear a bright red color. Spinel without any cobalt will not turn this red color.
Blue Spinel VS Sapphire
Thanks to modern day gemological tools it is easy to distinguish between blue spinel and sapphire. However, hundreds of years ago, when spinel was discovered next to sapphire and ruby, it was impossible to distinguish them. It is impossible to know for certain how many blue spinel gemstones have been sold as blue sapphire.
Origin & Supply
Spinel is abundant and can be found in different locations across the globe. That being said, most of the blue spinel on the market is from in Myanmar (Burma). Some stones are imported from Tanzania, at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. An interesting fact is that it shares these mines with tanzanite, one of the most famous and popular stones available.
Spinel from Burma is considered the highest grade and quality. Although, some African stones have been found to be excellent in all their visually aesthetic appeals. But they can’t compete with the stable and consistent high-quality stones supplied from Burma similar to Burmese Ruby.
Features & Specifications
Spinel is available in a variety of colors and grades. From red, to pink, orange, and even yellow, you can find almost every shade in this gemstone. However, it is rare to find a blue spinel. The rich cobalt blue hues of the gemstone make it a very desired gem, which a higher value and demand on the market than any other spinel. Such a high demand, the supply struggles to keep up.