How Much is Spinel Worth

High-quality blue or red spinel is still very affordable in sizes under 1 carat, costing between $200 to $500 per carat, 1-2 carat sized stones are priced between $600 to $1,200 per carat, and larger stones, which are extremely rare, are priced between $8,000 to $10,000 per carat. Mahenge spinels are now regarded as the best in the world due to their unique neon-like glow.

Spinel is a gemstone that can be red, blue, purple, rose, black, or brown in color, or also colorless. Its red and blue varieties are sometimes confused with ruby or sapphire, two of the gemstone variations of the mineral corundum, because of their striking visual resemblance. The main sources of high-quality spinel come from Mahenge, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Tajikistan.

 

faceted red spinel

 

How to determine value and cost

When determining the value of the gemstone you will be using GIA guidelines which means color, clarity, carat weight, and cut.  You’ll want to look at each one of these individually and then circle back when finished to evaluate the stone as a whole.

Color is going to be the most important factor when determining the value of gemstones.  Clarity and carat weight are tied for the second most important factor.  When valuing spinel you’ll need to know red spinels are the most sought after with blue spinels a close second.  In the last couple of years, the steel grey color has become increasingly popular.

 

Color – The more intense the color the more valuable the stone is.  When dealing with warm colors, think of red and orange, you’ll want to determine if there are brown undertones.  If you can’t see brown undertones then the color should be very vibrant.  The more vibrant and saturated the color the more expensive the gemstone.  If the gemstone has a unique “neon-like glow” then it will demand the highest price per carat.

 

Clarity – Buyers, and collectors prefer stones with no internal inclusions visible to the eye. Spinel can be found with visible inclusions all the way to flawless.  To determine the clarity ranking you’ll need at a minimum a 10x loop and a higher-powered microscope to confirm internally flawless and flawless designations.

If you can visibly see the inclusion while holding the gemstone then the highest designation would be SI1 and if the inclusion detracts from the overall beauty of the stone then the clarity designation would be I1 – I3.

Clarity designations – FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3

 

Gemstone clarity scale

 

Carat – Spinel can be found in sizes ranging from below 1 carat to above 10 carats.  As the stones become larger the rarer they become.  Generally speaking, sub 1 carat is fairly common, 1-2 carats are slightly less common, 3-5 carats while maintaining color saturation and high clarity are rare, and 5 carats+ with fine color and clarity would be considered extremely rare.

 

Cut – It is sad to say but cut has the least impact on value and cost unless it affects the stone in an extreme way.  For example, when you look at the stone you would be able to see through it which means light is not being reflected back to the eye.  This is called a window in the stone and it would have to be quite large to impact the price.  The other extreme would occur when you look at a stone and see a rough circle or oval shape inside the stone.  This occurs when the stone is very shallow and it’s reflecting the rough girdle inside the stone.  Note: the girdle is the edge/side of the stone where the pavilion and crown meet.

 

fancy colored spinels

 

Colors by Value

Black Spinel price per carat = $2.00 – $5.00

  • Price per gram = $10.00 – $25.00
  • Mostly found in trendy jewelry

 

Cobalt Blue Spinel price per carat = $100 – $1,000.00

  • 3 – 5 carat spinels – $500 – $3,000 per carat
  • Second most popular color of spinel

 

Red Spinel price per carat = $200.00 – $1,000.00

  • 3 – 5 carat spinels – $500 – $3,000 per carat
  • Most popular color of spinel

 

Purple Spinel price per carat = $100.00 – $500.00

  • 3 carats or more = $4,000.00 per carat
  • Fairly rare due to low commercial availability and low demand

 

Green Spinel price per carat = $100 – $1,000.00

  • Fairly rare due to low commercial availability and low demand

 

Grey Spinel price per carat = $100 – $1,000.00

  • 3 – 5 carat spinels – $500 – $3,000 per carat
  • These have become extremely popular in the past 2-3 years

 

Pink Spinel price per carat = $200.00 – $1,000.00

  • 3 – 5 carat spinels – $400 – $2,800 per carat
  • Highly sought-after color of spinel

 

How valuable is spinel?

It depends on the color because certain colors are rarer than others. Pigeon blood red spinel, 10 carats+ would be extremely valuable and very rare. Cobalt blue spinel with high clarity and weighing more than 5 carats would be extremely valuable as well.

 

Why is spinel so expensive?

Spinel is expensive because there are no major deposits producing large quantities of high-quality gems. Plus, it has never been used in mass-produced jewelry, think David Yurman. For these reasons, spinel maintains a high price per carat, and larger stones will appreciate in value over time.

 

Values of spinel will continue to increase

Each year I do research on market prices for spinel and I can tell you the prices continue to increase for high-quality stones above 1 carat. If you’re in the market for a precious gemstone then spinel should be at the top of your list.

If you’re not sure how to value a gemstone then you should consider a gemstone appraisal. Individuals acquiring gemstones through inheritance, estate sales, and auctions typically have the gemstone appraised to determine the value and to ensure the gem is what they think it is.

Jerred Morris
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18 Responses

    1. Paulino – Black spinel is not highly sought after by gemstone dealers because it has limited use. They can cab it and turn it into briolettes but not much else. If it’s in crystal form and is well formed then specimen collectors could pay more per carat then finished goods. At a local rock and mineral show I could see this selling for $1-$2 per gram.

  1. My father gave me a 4.79 carat deep red, flawless Burmese Spinel in 2021. It’s an absolutely gorgeous stone that I’ve been drooling over since I was a child. I want to say he paid around $5k USD in the mid 90s for it. Do you have any recommendations for appraisals?

      1. Hi Jerred, I have a 3.98ct dark red oval spinel that is GIA certified and eye clean. Can you please help me with your best valuation and selling information? I am in no hurry, just looking for best return. Thanks!

        1. Jamie – It depends on the tone and saturation of the stone. Spinel is not popular among jewelers because the everyday person doesn’t know what it is and therefor doesn’t apply a ton of value to them. Gemstone collectors on the other hand do.

          If you’re looking to sell it then don’t be in a hurry. You will need to market it online and it will take a minute before the right buyer shows up. If you need cash and that typically means a fast sale then you’ll have to work with a colored stone dealer directly and they will want to buy at a deep discount.

          1. Hi Jerred, i have a red rough gemstone what i thing is spinel it weight 240 gram , can you help to determined the stone

            Humbert

  2. Hi Jerred, I have a 5ct Blue Spinel it is the Mahenge Mines in Tanzania, the colour is slightly dark and cut is excellent. Can you help me with the correct market valuation.

      1. Hi Jerred, I got a 2.23 pink Spinel brilliant cut. Eye clean estimated at VVS1. May I know the estimate price? Thanks in advance.

        1. Billy – Color is going to play a major part in valuing the stone. How vivid is the pink? Light, dark, does it have a grey under tone?

          Eye clean and VVS1 are very far apart. Have you 10x looped the stone? Have you put the Spinel under a microscope? There’s no way to verify VVS1 without a microscope.

          2.23ct is a nice size, brilliant cut is fairly standard. How good of a cut is it? Does it window?

  3. Hello good time
    I have a Burmese pink spinel with a marble base weighing 5898 carats, but I have encountered a problem in selling it, because in Iran they do not pay much attention to precious stones and most of the buyers are not genuine, can you help me in this matter? do, thank you

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