Jewelry sales professionals can use this information about both natural and man-made spinels to help educate their customers on the beauty of spinel jewelry. Remember, one important role of the jewelry sales associate is to teach customers that just because a gemstone is man-made does not mean that it is not as beautiful as its natural counterpart. It is just not as rare or valuable.

Most of spinel gemstones in jewelry today are man-made. These synthetic spinels are grown in a laboratory and have almost the identical chemical, physical and optical properties as their much costlier and rarer natural counterparts. Synthetic spinels have been used for decades in inexpensive jewelry, particularly class rings, costume and children’s jewelry.

Regardless of their low price, synthetic spinels can be truly beautiful. Common colors for synthetic spinel are red, blue, colorless and light green.

There are certain colors of synthetic spinel that are difficult to grow, including dark green, yellow-green and purple. To achieve these colors, manufacturers have to create something called a “synthetic spinel triplet.” Two layers of colorless synthetic spinel are joined together with colored glue. The glue is reflected throughout the stone, making the stone appear all one color.

Natural spinel is a relatively unknown, yet attractive and desirable, gem material. Commonly occurring in red, pink, purple, gray blue and orange red, natural spinels are often brilliant when cut and polished, rivaling the beauty of other gemstones in the same color range.

Fine-quality spinels, particularly in the red and pink range, can command several hundreds to more than a thousand dollars per carat.