3.60-ct spinel - spinel buying guide3.60-ct spinel - spinel buying guide

Spinel Buying Guide

Our spinel buying guide can help you learn how spinels are graded and how to identify a high-quality stone or a bargain in the rough.

6 Minute Read

Spinel Buying and the Four Cs

The colors of natural spinel can rival ruby red or sapphire blue. However, these gems are also available in many other colors and at broader price ranges than their corundum competitors. Although red and blue colored spinels command the highest prices, clarity and carat weight can also have a significant effect on value. Myanmar (“Burmese”) provenance always adds value.

The IGS spinel value listing has price guidelines for spinel buying with different color grades, sizes, and cut styles.


In the GIA color grading system, color consists of three qualities: hue, tone, and saturation. The basic hues are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and purple. Tone refers to a color’s relative lightness, from colorless (0) to black (10). Saturation refers to a color’s intensity, from grayish or brownish (1) to vivid (6). The dominant hue is capitalized. Other hues present are not capitalized and may be further described as “sl” for slightly and “st” for strongly.

Be aware when spinel buying that saturation or “spectral purity” is the color quality that will have the greatest impact on price. You could easily expect to pay five, ten or even twenty times as much…

International Gem Society

Barbara Smigel, PhD. GG

Barbara Smigel is a GIA certified gemologist, facetor, jewelry designer, gem dealer, gemology instructor and creator of the well-regarded educational websites acstones.com and bwsmigel.info.

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