Mahenge Spinel (Ma-hen-gee) is the gemstone that changed the gem world and knocked it off its feet. In August, 2007 the world of gemology and jewelry was about to change. In a farmer’s field in Ipanko, near the town of Mahenge, Tanzania, workers were trying to move a boulder from a field. When oxen pulled the boulder, it tipped over, revealing an amazing colored gemstone - it was a giant pyramid-shaped spinel crystal weighing 52 Kgs (114 Pounds). This Mahenge spinel crystal displayed the gemmy neon vibrant orangey, pinkish red color that is now famous as The Mahenge Spinel. The crystal was highly included, but chunks of top quality stone were able to be faceted in Bangkok and distributed to the world market. From this point on, the Mahenge Spinel was thrust into the spotlight as one of the most famous, beautiful and vibrant gemstones of all time.
The remarkable glow that makes the best Mahenge spinel entirely unique. Like high quality Paraiba tourmaline, the Mahenge spinel seems to possess a kind of energy that glows even under low light conditions. It glows (fluoresces) bright red like a neon sign under black light. It is one of the most spectacular gemstones in any lighting.
Though miners have searched extensively in the Mahenge area for more of this rare material since 2007, this appears to be a one-time find, and sadly there is no more. The small number of new stones that have been found do not have the same neon glow as the original material. This is not unusual for exceptionally fine gems. It happened with Kashmir sapphire and Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline. It is only a matter of time before fine Mahenge Spinel gemstones will only be available at auction from Sotheby's or Christie's. This is one of the original Mahenge spinels from the 2007 find and has a neon glow. This setting properly showcases this ultra-rare gemstone perfectly with bright diamonds in a halo around the oval spinel and up to become the bail, all set in solid 14K rose gold. The chain is included.
Natural Mahenge Spinel
Weight: .72 carats (approx.)
Size (L x W x D): 6.72 x 4.87 x 3.1 mm (approx)
Cut/Shape: Brilliant oval
Color: Orangey, Pinkish Red
Origin: Ipanko, Mahenge Tanzania
Metal: 14K Rose Gold
Cut/Shape: Round, Brilliant
Clarity/Color: VS/G (colorless)
Weight: .20 cttw (approx)
Length of Pendant (top to bottom): 20.2 mm
18" solid 14K rose gold
What exactly is a Spinel?
Spinels are 100 times rarer than Rubies and Sapphires, yet less expensive (because most of the world still doesn't know about these rare beauties!). The minerals that comprise Spinel are very similar to Rubies and Sapphires (Corundum), in fact, Spinels are always found in the mines growing right next to Rubies and Sapphires. Spinels are hard and sparkly and make fantastic gemstones in jewelry to be worn everyday - with a lot of Bling! They have been mistaken for Rubies and Sapphires for centuries - they are even in the Crown Jewels of England, i.e., The Black Prince's Ruby - which is actually a large red Spinel. They come in a wide range of beautiful colors, just like sapphires. They are also similar to Sapphires in hardness (8 on the Mohs' Scale) yet half the price. This is a real find! We bought this gemstone from a connoisseur collector who purchased it from the mines in Ceylon - for your collection!
Spinel is a good candidate for the title of “History’s Most Underappreciated Gem.” Some ancient mines that supplied gems for royal courts from Rome to China produced spinel, but it was usually confused with better-known stones like ruby and sapphire.
In ancient times, the mines of central and southeast Asia yielded exceptionally large spinel crystals. These fine stones became known as Balas rubies, and some of them were the treasured property of kings and emperors, often passing through many hands as spoils of war. As a result, some of the world’s most illustrious “rubies” are actually spinel.
One of the most famous examples is the so-called “Black Prince’s ruby.” This historic crimson-red gem is set in England’s Imperial State Crown and displayed in the Tower of London. Smoothly polished and roughly octagonal in shape, it was probably mined in the mountains of Afghanistan. It first appeared in the historical records of fourteenth-century Spain, and was owned by a succession of Moorish and Spanish Kings before Edward, Prince of Wales—the “Black Prince”— received the stone in 1367 as payment for a battle victory.
Since then, many other English monarchs—including Henry VIII—have cherished the gem. It’s outlasted them all, surviving fires, attempted theft, and World War II bombing raids, to become—with the Koh-i-Noor diamond—one of the centerpieces of England’s Crown Jewels.
Another large spinel in the Crown Jewels, the “Timur ruby,” weighs over 350 carats. It, too, has a checkered history. Several Persian inscriptions carved into the gem testify to its age.
Modern technology hasn’t helped spinel’s confused identity as far as the general public is concerned. This is due largely to the widespread use of synthetic spinel as an imitation for many other gems. Most customers aren’t even aware that there’s a natural version of the stone. (Source: GIA)