Spinel has been mined in central and southeast since ancient times, although these exceptionally large crystals and fine stones were known as Balas rubies. One of the most famous Spinel gems is the “Black Prince’s ruby” which is set in England’s Imperial State Crown and on display at the Tower of London. Historical records show it was owned by several Moorish and Spanish Kings before Edward, Prince of Wales received the stone in 1367. Another large spinel in the Crown Jewels, the “Timur ruby.” It weighs over 350 carats and has Persian inscriptions which attest to its age. It wasn’t until 1783 that mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle identified spinel as a different mineral than ruby.
Spinel is singly refractive with the same physical properties in all directions. The Spinel crystal is said to be so perfect that, in Burma, they are considered “nat thwe” – polished by the spirits. Spinel can be found in a gorgeous range of hues including: intense reds and pinks caused by chromium; oranges and shades of purple caused by a mixture of iron and chromium orange; violet to soft blues with trace amounts of iron; and vibrant blues through trace amounts of cobalt. and red pink as well as all shades of purple, blue, and violet through bluish green.
The most desirable spinel is red, followed by cobalt (almost sapphire) blue, then vibrant hot pink and rich orange.
Natural fancy brown diamonds are available in shades from champagne to cognac to Chocolate Diamonds®, Le Vian®’s original brand of natural fancy color brown diamonds. Chocolate Diamonds® are naturally flavored, the depth of their color determined by the tremendous amount of pressure the diamond receives from deep within the earth.
The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia is the world's largest producer of brown diamonds – 80% of Argyle's gem quality is brown. Famous brown diamonds include the 545 carat dark rich champagne hued "Golden Jubilee," the world's largest cut natural diamond.
The journey of a diamond in the rough to the sparkling diamond design you love is a fascinating story, one that began billions of years ago, deep within the earth where a diamond has formed under extreme heat and pressure. Its ascent from its natural home is forced by nature or man where it is then cleaved, cut and polished revealing its natural beauty. Diamonds are the hardest material on earth and the only gem that is composed of only one element, carbon.
Vanilla Diamonds® are specially selected to adorn Le Vian® designs – from breathtaking one-of-a-kind red carpet favored designs in Vanilla Gold® to the trendsetting combination of Strawberry ‘N Vanilla® featuring the blushing hue of Strawberry Gold® topped with Vanilla Diamonds®.