| Hong Kong Jewellery 香港珠寶
News & Highlight


  1. Lab-Grown Diamond Symposium to Take Place in Dubai
  2. JCK Industry Fund Announces 2023 Grant Recipients
  3. GIA Announces Jewellery Design Award Winner
  4. Hong Kong’s Luxury Retail Sales See Highest Rise in Three Years
  5. Chow Tai Fook Announces First Chief Operating Officer
  6. HKTDC Twin Shows Signal Hong Kong Comeback
  7. De Beers Profit Rises in 2022
  8. Rio Tinto Invests $40M in Diavik’s Underground Mining
  9. Gübelin Gem Lab Taps AI For Coloured Gemstone Grading
  10. Vicenzaoro January Exceeds Expectations With Record Attendance
  11. Fancy-coloured Diamonds Outperform Main Markets in 2022, says FCRF
  12. Gucci To Receive Gem Award From JA
  13. Gold Demand In 2022 Soars to A New Decade High, Says WGC
  14. GIA Launches AGS Ideal Report
  15. RJC Appoints New Executive Director
  16. Rio Tinto Production Jumps After Diavik Buyout
  17. Charles Stanley To Retire From De Beers
  18. Tiffany Joins LVMH Watches And Jewellery Division
  19. End-Year Diamond Prices Decline, says RAPI
  20. GIA’s Paperless Journey Begins
  21. Vicenzaoro January Reimagines Fine Jewellery Designs
  22. Gen-Zers favour personalisation over popularity
  23. De Beers Rough Sales Steady At Year End Final Sight
  24. Gemfields Emeralds Take Centre Stage in New Jewellery Collaboration
  25. A 303-carat Golden Canary Shines at Sotheby’s New York Sale
  26. Christie’s New York auction totalled nearly $59M
  27. Pantone’s Color of the Year 2023: Viva Magenta
  28. Christie’s Hong Kong Jewellery Auction Fetched $46M
  29. Gemfields’ 187,775-carat Emerald Cluster Sets Record Price
  30. Yellows Showed Highest Increase in Q3 Fancy-Colour Price Index
  31. GIA Joins Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030
  32. David Yurman Features First Celebrity Ambassadors in Holiday Ad Campaign
  33. Gemfields To Auction 187,775-carat Emerald Cluste
  34. De Beers Announces Hollywood Star as First Global Ambassador
  35. Kering Q3 Jewellery Sales Remain Strong
  36. Rio Tinto Unveils First Argyle Brand Jewellery
  37. De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver to Step Down in Early 2023
  38. Price Decline Fuelling Diamond Trade Uncertainty
  39. ‘Williamson Pink Star’ Diamond Sold at New Auction Record
  40. Pandora Unveils First Ever Art Collaboration - Keith Haring X Pandora
  41. Further Growth in Hong Kong’s Luxury Retail Sales
  42. Pandora Unveils First Ever Art Collaboration - Keith Haring X Pandora
  43. Further Growth in Hong Kong’s Luxury Retail Sales
  44. Platinum Jewellery Sales Rise in Key Markets in Q2 2022, PGI says
  45. AGTA Announces New Board Members
  46. Fura Gems Discovers 101-carat Ruby
  47. Lightbox Sells Lower-Quality Lab-Grown Diamonds
  48. 160-Carat Rough Unearthed from Angola Mine
  49. GIA Found Synthetics, Simulant among Four ‘Natural’ Sapphires
  50. ‘De Beers Blue' Might Originate from Deep Earth, Says GIA
  51. New Chairman Elected at India’s GJEPC
  52. Tiffany Launches Its First All Gender Bangle Collection
  53. Pandora Launches Lab-grown Diamond Jewellery Collection in North America
  54. Gemfields Reports Record Revenues
  55. IIJS Premiere Sees Record Number Visitors
  56. Signet Acquires Blue Nile for $360M
  57. Hong Kong jewellery sales slide in H1
  58. Fancy Colour Diamond Price Index Rises
  59. The Potentially Largest Pink Diamond Found in 300 Years
  60. Kering Reports Strong First Half Jewellery Sale
  61. Vicenzaoro Back In September
  62. eBay Offers Fine Jewellery Authentication with GIA Partnership
  63. New Executive Director and Secretary General Appointed for Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030
  64. VO Vintage Returns To Vicenzaoro September
  65. Sarine Partners With NGTC on Grading Reports In China
  66. Diamond Prices Slide Amid Economic Uncertainty
  67. De Beers, Botswana Sales Agreement Extended
  68. AWDC Appoints David Gotlib As New President
  69. IGI Debuts Online Learning Courses
  70. Swarovski Appoints First Non-Family CEO
  71. Kashmir Sapphire Ring Comes Out on Top at Bonhams
  72. WJA Foundation Launches New Scholarship for Women of Colour
  73. Blue Nile Merges with Mudrick for Its Second IPO
  74. RJC Launches ‘Gender Equality Toolkit’ at JCK Las Vegas
  75. GIA Reports to Go Digital by 2025
  76. Gemfields Achieved Highest Revenue at Emerald Auction
  77. DAMAC Group Now Owns de GRISOGONO
  78. GJEPC Proposes Lab-Grown Diamond Park in India
  79. Pandora’s New Crafting Facility in Vietnam Costs $100M
  80. Q1 Gold Jewellery Demand Soft, Says WGC
  81. Jewellery Buying Groups Formed New Global Alliance
  82. Singapore to Host Jewellery & Gem World 2022
  83. ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Premiered in Tiffany’s 2022 High Jewellery Collection
  84. Christie’s to Auction ‘The Light of Africa’ for $18M in June
  85. New Board of Directors were elected to Jewellery Exporters Association of Turkey
  86. Oroarezzo back with Première Competition
  87. ‘De Beers Blue’ auctions US$57.5M at Sotheby’s
  88. CTF launches Mother’s Day collection
  89. Jewelers of America Announces The 2022 CASE Award Winners
  90. De Beers: Diamond Businesses Staying Cautious About Business Expectations
  91. Synthetic Alexandrite Pioneer David Patterson Dies at 89
  93. Rebecca Foerster Appointed As President of Hearts On Fire
  94. US Steps Up Sanctions Against Alrosa
  95. PGI Study Findings: Consumers Have Different Interpretations of Sustainability
  96. Irving Wong Appointed as Pandora’s General Manager For China
  97. Rolex’s 6 New Watches Unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva
  98. Sixième Sens par Cartier High Jewellery: Heteractis Ring
  99. Will Russian Diamond Ban Help Foster Lab-Grown Diamond Business?
  100. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  101. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  102. JEWELLERY GENEVA Takes Place between 30 March and 3 April 2022
  103. Christie’s Presents 228 carat White Dimond
  104. Gold Bar Integrity Programme to be Implemented
  106. Early Spring Fashion for Natural Diamonds
  107. Jennifer Garner Shines in De Beers Jewellers at the Premiere in New York
  108. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, “Cartier Women’s Initiative Impact Report”
  109. American Gem Trade Association Announces Partnership with JCK Show Again
  110. Chow Tai Fook and Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds Sign Supply Agreement
  111. Registration Is Open for 2022 JCK Show
  112. Alrosa Caught Up in U.S. Sanctions
  113. Tawhid Abdullah Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
  114. The Largest Blue Diamond Appears at Sotheby’s Auction
  115. Price Rise for Nearly 90% Of Fancy Colour Last Year
  116. Dickson Yewn’s Collectibles Given for Sotheby’s Charity Auction
  117. De Beers Boosts Production
  118. Watches & Wonders Geneva To Be Held In Hybrid Format
  119. Jewellery, Gem & Technology Dubai to Debut February
  120. Hong Kong Losing its Dominance as the World's Largest Watch Market
  121. Gift Guide for CNY
  122. Press Release: Sotheby’s Announces New Appointments To Luxury Team In ASsia
  123. Georg Jensen Becomes a Certified Member of RJC
  124. 555.55-carat Black Dimond Unveiled at Sotheby’s Auction
  125. GIA Appoints Anna Martin as SVP for Institute, Industry Relations
  126. Alrosa Boosts Direct Sales of Fancy Diamonds to Investors
  127. CIBJO General Assembly postponed to March 17 and 18, 2022
  128. 7,525 Carat Emerald Discovered
  129. Karl Lagerfeld Jewellery Collections to Shine
  130. Diamonds Travel To The Space
  131. Vicenzaoro January postponed to March
  132. America’s Youngest Jeweller Starts Business via Instagram
  133. Concerns over conflict gold arise again
  134. The 1st International Gemstone & Diamond Trade Summit Wraps Up in Macao
  135. The Knot’s Study:Over 30% of Respondents Say Natural Diamond Unimportant
  136. Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year: Very Peri
  137. Phillips Jewellery Auctions Fetch over HK$181 Million
  138. The World’s First Pure Gold Castle of Magical Dreams by CHOW TAI FOOK
  139. Jewellery Sales Jumped 78% During the Thanksgiving Holiday
  140. Gem Auctions DMCC’s Debut Auction Successful
  141. Cartier’s Christmas Tree Lights Up the City with Love and Hope
  142. Rediscovering Lacloche in Hong Kong
  143. Blue diamonds to lead Christie’s HK autumn sale
  144. JMA show to stage next Thursday
  145. HK auction to help Cambodian kids
  146. Basel fair cancelled again
  147. HKDI show to continue in Dec
  148. Gemfields sells 7,500-carat emerald for good
  149. Sustainability is key to diamond purchases, a report says
  150. Christie’s Geneva jewellery sale fetches CHF53.7m
  151. Cibjo forms working group on fei cui standards
  152. Only Watch raises CHF30m for DMD research


  1. US market unfolds changes and potential
  2. The queen of gems, the gem of queens
  3. Classics return


  • Among the hottest colours of spinel today is the cobalt blue variety, seen here in this bracelet by Dior.
  • Gold ring featuring a 2.68-carat pink spinel from Luc Yen, Vietnam, accented with diamonds by Piaget.
  • Earrings featuring rough spinels in some of the gem’s many colours by Suzanne Syz.
  • Ring featuring an orange centre spinel accented by red spinels and diamonds by Alessio Boschi
  • The 50.13-carat Hope Spinel is thought to be an antique Mughal spinel that was recut. It sold at Bonhams in London in 2015 for US$1.47 million. (Photo: Bonhams)
  • The Timur Ruby is actually a 352.50-carat spinel, whose history is intertwined with Mughal rulers before transferred to Britain, where it was made into a necklace for Queen Victoria in 1853.
  • For centuries, spinels were thought to be rubies. One of the most famous spinels in history is the“Black Prince Ruby”, which adorns the Imperial British Crown, now in the Tower of London. (Photo: Cyril Davenport)

The sparkle of spinel

By Cynthia Unninayar

Throughout its history, spinel has been one of the world’s most under-appreciated gemstones. Today, however, a quick tour around the world’s major gem and jewellery shows that spinel, in its myriad colours, is not only highly regarded, but it is the hottest gemstone of the year. 

Spinel is a species of minerals made of magnesium and aluminium oxide, with the formula MgAl2O4 that forms in the cubic crystal system. It has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale and is heat-resistant. The name “spinel” may be derived from the Latin “spina” meaning “thorn”, due perhaps to the points of its octahedral structure in the gem’s rough form.

It is an “allochromatic” gemstone, meaning that it gets its colour from light absorbing “impurities”, i.e. trace elements that are not essential parts of spinel’s atomic structure, but that give the gem its colour. The most common “chromophores” found in spinel are cobalt, iron, chromium and vanadium. While the colour story is complex, fundamentally, the colours are created when one or a combination of these metals replaces the colourless magnesiumions in spinel’s chemical formula. 

In its pure state—i.e. with no impurities—spinel is colourless, but this type is very rare in Nature. In general, its colours range from very light pastels to strong vibrant tones, in hues of pink, red, orangey-red, lavender, purple, blue, black and, rarely, green and yellow. Grey and blue spinels are the result of iron impurities, although the very saturated “cobalt blue” colour comes from the presence of cobalt in the crystal lattice. Chromium creates the pink and red tones, while different ratios of these trace metals results in the various tones of purple and lavender. Vanadium is thought to be responsible for the rare yellow and orangey tones. Today’s hottest colours in spinel are intense pink and red along with the electric “cobalt blue”. 

Throughout most of its history, spinel was prized for its deep red colour, which resembles ruby. In ancient times, before mineralogy became a science, gems were categorized by their colour rather than their mineralogical or chemical properties. As a result, spinels were thought to be rubies. The confusion between the two gems lasted for centuries, until 1783 when spinel was chemically differentiated from ruby. Thus, some of the most famous “rubies” in the world are actually spinels. Among these legendary “rubies” is the “Black Prince’s Ruby,” a large, irregular 170-carat red spinel cabochon that is set above the Cullinan II diamond at the front of the Imperial State Crown of England. The stone first appeared in historical records of 14th-century Spain, and was owned by a succession of Moorish and Spanish Kings. In 1367, Don Pedro gave it to Edward, Prince of Wales—the “Black Prince”—as payment for a battle victory. 

Another famous spinel is the “Timur Ruby”, an engraved 352.50-carat spinel whose colourful trajectory is intricately intertwined with Mughal history on the Indian subcontinent. Successive owners engraved their names on the red gem, which was finally acquired by the Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab, who collected Mughal treasures, including the Koh-i-Noor diamond. When the British annexed the Punjab in 1849, the spinel was given to Queen Victoria and, in 1853, it was made into a necklace by Garrard. 

The “Catherine the Great Ruby” is another example of a beautiful spinel. The remarkable 398.72-carat blood-red stone is mounted at the top of the Great Imperial Crown of Russia. This crown was made for her coronation in 1762, and then used for the coronation of all the czars after her, up to the last Czar Nicholas II in 1896. 

Spinels—both historic and modern—have also achieved record prices at auctions over the last few years. At the June 2019 Christie’s auction in New York, an Imperial spinel necklace engraved with Mughal titles sold for US$3.015 million. In 2015, at a Bonhams auction in London, the 50.13-carat “Hope Spinel” sold for US$1.47 million. At Christie’s Geneva auction in May 2011, a historic Mughal spinel bead (1131.59 total carat weight) necklace sold for US$5.2 million. The beads were engraved with the titles of various emperors. All of these spinels are thought to be from the ancient mines in a region that is now in the nation of Tajikistan.

The historic Kuh-i-Lal mines in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan near the Afghan border are world famous for their spinels. The mines date back to the 7th century, and written records from the 11th century describe the “balas rubies” from these mines. Another historic source for spinel is Myanmar, mostly the iconic Mogok region. While known primarily for its rubies and sapphires, this area also is home to high quality pink and red spinels. 

Sri Lanka has also long been known for its spinels, in a variety of colours, including the electric “cobalt blue” spinels. These remarkable blue gems were also discovered in the Luc Yen area in Vietnam in the late 1980s, along with other colours. Today, cobalt blue spinels are one of the hottest gems on the market. Due to their scarcity and high demand, they can command high prices, even up to US$100,000 per carat for those very rare stones over 10 carats. 

The late 1980s also saw the discovery of red and pink spinels near Mahenge in Tanzania. While this area offers a palette of colours, Mahenge spinels are known primarily for their saturated pink-red tones. The orangey-red “flame spinels” are also found in this area. Other countries also host spinel deposits, among them Afghanistan, Madagascar, Kenya, Australia and Canada.

Although not common, spinels also exhibit asterism, with four, six, twelve and even eighteen-rayed stars in different colours. The stars are generally sharp and, in nearly all cases, the rays are complete. They are truly fascinating gems. 

Geologically speaking, spinel forms in marble, the same as ruby, which is why the two gems are often found together. While ruby and spinel both formed in marble, the composition of the host rock is somewhat different for the two gems. Spinel is hosted in a mixed calcite type with other minerals, including magnesium, while ruby forms in a purer calcite type that is often well crystallized. Some spinels are mined from the primary deposits where they formed, i.e. the marbles. Other gems are found in secondary alluvial deposits, called “gem gravels”, where materials have eroded from the primary deposits and washed downstream. From their rough and tumble travels through the water, these spinels are often rounded and smooth, rather than the octahedral forms found in the primary marble deposits.

While they come from around the world and in different colours, spinels are now fully appreciated for their historical significance, vibrant colours and individual beauty. On these pages are but a few examples of how jewellers are incorporating this colourful gemstone into their creations, where they highlight the sparkle of spinel.  (Photos are courtesy of each jewellery brand/ designer unless otherwise indicated.) 

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