Spinel is magnesium aluminium oxide crystallised in cubic system and usually found in nice octahedral crystals. It normally forms in metamorphic limestones, often alongside corundum (ruby&sapphire) deposits. With a hardness of 8 on a mohs scale, spinel is well suited for all jewellery aplications and although not as rare as ruby it is hard to come by in sizes over 5ct. Pure spinel is colourless, all of its many colours come from trace elements present in its structure and include shades of red, purple, pink, orange, blue and even black. There are many new sources of attractive looking spinels, high intensity, cobalt coloured blue stones of Luc Yen in Vietnam, or hot pink-red variety coming from Mahenge in Tanzania. Other sources include Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Burma and many others. There are no treatments commonly used on spinel but synthetic stones are fairly common and made in variety of colours, often to imitate other gems, a trained gemologist should have no problem in recognising those.
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