Cherry Picked Gemstone

Spinel has its devotees. And why not? This hard brilliant stone is favored by both dealers and serious collectors. But that doesn't mean that the general public knows much about this natural beauty.

What a History
Historically, spinel can be both intensely saturated in the various hues that make up this species, and it also takes a dandy polish. Can anyone say eye-popping brilliance? To give you an idea of just how richly-hued spinel can be, the British Crown Jewels including the Black Prince's spectacular Ruby is actually (drum-roll please) a luscious red spinel. When those magnificent jewels were unearthed, there was no reliable scientific method of separating one red stone from another. Add to that, spinel is often found in the same deposits that yield ruby . . . so . . . .

All the Colors of Spinel
Thanks to chemical impurities, clear spinel can also take on yummy jewel-tones like yellow, blue, orange, pink even purple and black.

And Then Came Mahenge
About a decade or so back, in Tanzania--the land that gave us tanzanite, a new supply of spinel was discovered. Vibrant pinks, some with an orange back color, and jaw-dropping cherry tints delighted regional dealers. Lively rose with a slight purple back tint took sellers by surprise. The material was so intensely saturated that it seemed to give off a neon-like glow ---much the same way that Paraiba tourmaline seemed other-worldly with its internal light.

Cutters thrilled to the clarity that the Mahenge material exhibited. The clearer the rough, the greater potential for large finished goods since you have less to cut away.

Rare is Always a Good Choice
Couture designer Erica Courtney earned a reputation for placing spectacular stones--often teaching the customer who then learns about their rarity--into glamorous settings. The combination is irresistible. Courtney's 3-Stone Cathedral Ring boasts 3 Mahenge spinels totaling 4.55 carats in an important mounting with over a carat of icy white accent diamonds. What a way to celebrate this most unusual and rare gemstone variety.

3-Stone Cathedral Ring: Erica Courtney


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