Evaluating a Moderately Included Red Spinel

So recently I was asked to consult on a stone for an international friend of mine. Typically what happens is that they will ask me to look at a stone that’s in the USA and then send it to them if it passes my inspection/and they like what they see in photos. To this point, it has all been with known vendors, but this newest one was a previously unknown vendor, so he wanted me to go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

The stone was described as being a top red, 2ct spinel that is eyeclean and the cut was “not precision cut, but good”. So I really wanted to go through this stone thoroughly because I know my friend has been looking for a good red stone forever.

First up was looking at color. This stone is a very good red, making my red spinel’s purple modifier and less than ideal saturation look, for a lack of better term, funky.


So, as you can see, the stone is not precision cut, and the meets between facets are all over the place. No symmetry, no problem. This was not an issue for my friend.


So, in evaluating it, I took out my loupe and macro lens and went at it. I noticed a couple problems right away. First one was the fact that the stone is not eyeclean. Second, and these images show it best, but there is also a small window in the middle of the stone, which means that it appears as a dead spot instead of being sparkly. Two different lighting situations and angles of the stone.


You can see the window manifesting as a black spot in the middle of the stone in the following image:


The more I looked at the stone though, the more obvious the inclusion problem became. This is the largest and most noticeable inclusion from the pavilion view. I thought that it would probably be covered up by a prong or an enclosed setting. Unfortunately it is also surface reaching, unevenness I could feel with my fingernail.

Spinel is considered a Type II stone, which means that it is usually included. After going through the stone, I would consider this to be an I1, because the inclusions have a moderate effect on appearance or durability. This is just based on my experience and what I can see with a loupe and feel with my fingernails – I do not have a formal education…yet.


The following image was taken trying to get a clearer image of the inclusion in the center of the stone. The resolution on this image took a dive when uploaded.


There was a point where I just started taking pictures of the stone from different angles so I could see what caught my eye in the stone. For this one, it was the feathers around 4 o’clock in this picture. I had thought there was only one feather before.


This image captures the off center culet. You can see it leaning to the left a bit. This isn’t as bad as it could be, or as bad as I’ve seen before.


This image shows how shallow the table is. It actually looks taller in this image than it feels in the hand.


In my first go around, I missed some things, for instance, what appears to be a small chip on the girdle, but could potentially be a small crack. I would need higher magnification to be able to tell for sure. Inclusions that are surface reaching are problematic because they can serve as weak spots for potential damage when worn. This is especially true for the girdle, which is one of the weakest spots in a stone.  Off to the right of the illuminated facet is an indented natural – a piece of what was originally the outside of the rough stone.


You can see how the middle inclusion is close to the table of the stone, and impossible to avoid.


A closer view of the pavilion of the stone shows the largest, closest to the surface and most noticeable inclusion to the left, the crack/chip slightly to the right, the greenish bit is the indented natural and then another cluster of inclusions all the way to the right. That’s not getting into the chunk of crystal inclusions closer to the middle of the stone, which does not include the inclusion I talked about being in the middle of the stone, close to the table of the stone – which is out of focus at the very bottom of this image:


A side view of the most obvious inclusion, from the girdle perspective.


Ultimately, my friend decided that this stone had too many problems for him to deal with and decided to return it, even though it was a nice color and a good size. There were other chips along the girdle that I haven’t included images of, so between the placement of the inclusions and the undisclosed issues, my friend was not interested in keeping such a risky stone, even if the color and size were exactly what he was looking for.

I am super excited to announce that I will be doing a feature on Erin and willajunejewelry in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that!


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