Learn about important spinel sources across the globe — from historical mines to recent discoveries — and the colors they yield.
4 Minute Read
Historical Spinel Sources
Most gem-quality spinel forms in regions with magnesium-rich limestone transformed into dolomite marble through metamorphic activity. Fortunately for gem enthusiasts, many locations meet the conditions for spinel formation.
Perhaps the most famous and historically important spinel sources are mines in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. These locations have produced spinel gems of many colors for centuries and remain productive today.
This island is one of the world’s most important producers of many different gemstone species, including spinels. Much of the spinel from Sri Lanka is found in alluvial deposits rather than primary stone.
Sri Lankan spinel can occur in many colors, including red, purple, and greenish blue. The Ratnapura region produces a highly saturated electric blue color caused by a combination of cobalt and iron.
The Badakhshan region, which now lies partly in Afghanistan, is likely the source of one of the…
Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.
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