Spinel Specialist Mini Course
Identifying Synthetic Spinel
How is Synthetic Spinel Made?
Currently, manufacturers mainly use two methods to grow synthetic spinel: flame fusion and flux. Although flux-grown spinels were accidentally created as early as the mid-19th century, according to Muhlmeister et al., they were not commercially significant as gemstones until the early 1990s. In contrast, flame-fusion spinels have been marketed as faceted gems since the 1920s. (81)
The flame-fusion procedure, also known as the Verneuil method, involves dropping the powdered form of the constituent elements through a flame, which causes them to melt. This now fluid mixture falls on a pedestal. As this pedestal rotates, the gem solidifies in layers.
In the flux procedure, a hot flux material dissolves the elements needed for spinel into a solution. As this solution cools, it crystallizes. First identified on the gem market in the 1990s, flux-grown spinels require significantly longer growth times — and cost more — than their flame-fusion counterparts.
Are Flame-Fusion Spinels True Synthetics?
There has been some discussion in
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