By logic, pink spinel should have a much wider following among jewelers. It is often mistaken for pink sapphire (just as red spinel is for ruby), but costs far less. The confusion with sapphire is compounded by the fact that it comes from the same two major gem sources. Burma and Sri Lanka. Indeed, it is usually found in the same gem gravel as sapphire.
“Retailers have, for the most part, only seen synthetic spinels,” says well-known lapidary Reggie Miller. Reginald C. Miller Inc., New York. “It is hard for many to believe stones thay are being shown could be the natural variety. And even when they do, it is hard to believe the price.
Although prices are generally around 20%-30% lower today, that’s still condidered too expensive by most jewelers. however, some dealers versed in pink spinel claim the stone is really undervalued.
Spinel in general and pink spinel in particular are relatively rare stones. Jewelers theorize dealers may simply assume natural spinels share a commoness with the manmade variety. but the abundance of synthetic spinels should not be taken as an indicator of any natural abundance. To the contrary, fine pink spinels, from a rarity standpoint, are in a class with pink topaz – which makes them far scarcer than fine pink sapphires or pink tourmalines. Enter pink spinel’s tow other reasons for not finding acceptance.
When it comes to natural pink stones, pink sapphire and pink tourmaline present hard-to-beat competition. There are several reasons for this. Lately manufacturers are experimenting more than ever with pink tourmaline. It’s plentiful and affordable.
It’s too expensive for low-priced jewelry and too unknown for high-priced goods. All in all, scarcity, price and obscurity gang up on spinel. Yet having said this, we still feel the stone deserves, and can support, more attention than it’s getting.
Like ruby and peridot, pink spinel is a gem that is generally associated with Burma in its most desirable form – and thus shares the mystique of Burma origin. This mystique of place confers on many Burmese gems an extra aura that often translates into extra money in the marketplace. No doubt, Burma origin played some part in catapulting red spinel to such prominence among investors and collectors in recent years.
Some of that mystique seems to be rubbing off on pink spinel also – although many dealers resist the temptation to play up Burma origin. In any case, the best pink spinels are said to exhibit a hot pink color – typical of Burma.
“Because of interest in red spinel, pink spinel has found enough of a footing in recent years to go beyond being a collector’s stone,” Suleman says. “ It has earned a place in jewelry stores.”