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Black, blue, red, violet , green, brown, pink
7½ - 8
Specific Gravity:
3.6 - 4.1
Crystal System:
Member of:
Named in 1779 by Jean Demeste from latin "spinella", little thorn, alluding to its sharp octahedral crystals. Confused with carbuncle = ruby in former times.
Spinel Group. Spinel-Hercynite Series, Gahnite-Spinel Series, and the Magnesiochromite-Spinel Series.

Intensely coloured varieties due to the incorporation of various impurity elements. A few spinels from Sri Lanka can show an alexandrite colour change effect.

Visit for gemological information about Spinel.

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Classification of SpinelHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
B : Metal: Oxygen = 3:4 and similar
B : With only medium-sized cations

2 : AB2X4

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
4 : Oxides of Be, Mg and the alkaline earths

Physical Properties of SpinelHide

Transparent, Translucent
Splendent to dull
Black, blue, red, violet , green, brown, pink
Greyish white
7½ - 8 on Mohs scale
None Observed
Separation plane {111} indistinct and probably represents parting rather than cleavage.
Irregular/Uneven, Splintery, Conchoidal
3.6 - 4.1 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.578 g/cm3 (Calculated)
Increases with iron and zinc content.

Optical Data of SpinelHide

RI values:
n = 1.719
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.000 - Isotropic minerals have no birefringence
Surface Relief:
Anomalous in some blue zincian varieties.

Chemical Properties of SpinelHide

Common Impurities:

Chemical AnalysisHide

Empirical formulas:
Sample IDEmpirical Formula
Sample references:
1Kjøde, Selje, Sogn og Fjordane, NorwayWikström, A. (1970): Note on the alteration of kyanite in the eclogites from the Nordfjord area, Norway. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift, 50: 183-186

Crystallography of SpinelHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 8.0898(9) Å
Unit Cell V:
529.44 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Usually octahedral; less often modified by a{010} or d{011}; dodecahedral or cubic rare. Massive, coarse-granular to compact.
Common on {111} (spinel law), with twinned aggregates often flattened parallel to {111}, the composite plane. Sixlings due to repeated twinning noted.
On synthetic material

Crystallographic forms of SpinelHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Spinel no.1 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Spinel no.23 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by

Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

Epitaxial Relationships of SpinelHide

Epitaxial Minerals:

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
Powder Diffraction Data:
4.66 (35)
2.858 (40)
2.437 (100)
2.020 (65)
1.5554 (45)
1.4289 (55)
1.0524 (12)

Synonyms of SpinelHide

Other Language Names for SpinelHide

Varieties of SpinelHide

Alkali-spinelVariety of Spinel containing Na2O 1.38%, K2O 1.31%.
Almandine SpinelA misleading name for a natural purple spinel.
Aluminium SpinelOctahedral crystals from a slag said to give analyses corresponding to the formula listed below.
CeyloniteA ferroan spinel with Mg:Fe from 3:1 and 1:1 and little or no ferric iron.
ChlorospinelA ferrian variety of spinel containing Fe 3+ next in abundance after Al.
CorundoliteAn artificial Alumina-rich spinel
FerropicotiteA ferroan variety of spinel.
GahnospinelA variety of spinel rich in zinc. May grade into gahnite.
Iron-magnesia SpinelA ferroan variety of spinel.
Magnesian Chromian SpinelFrom DeBeers mine (kimberlites), associated, i.a., with hawthorneite.
MagnochromiteA chromian variety of spinel.
PleonasteAn intermediate variety of the Hercynite-Spinel Series,
= iron-rich spinel or magnesium-rich hercynite.
RubicelleYellow to orange-red variety.
Titano-spinelA doubtful titanian spinel.
Originally reported from Mikro-Lakka Emery deposit, Kerketeas Mt (Kerkis Mt), Sámos Island, Sámos Prefecture, Aegean Islands (Aiyaíon) Department, Greece.

Relationship of Spinel to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
ChromiteFe2+Cr3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
FrankliniteZn2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
GahniteZnAl2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
GalaxiteMn2+Al2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
HercyniteFe2+Al2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
JacobsiteMn2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
MagnesiochromiteMgCr2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
MagnesioferriteMgFe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
MagnetiteFe2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
Nichromite(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
TrevoriteNi2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
XieiteFe2+Cr2O4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
Group Members:

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

4.BB.05ChromiteFe2+Cr3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05FrankliniteZn2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05GahniteZnAl2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05GalaxiteMn2+Al2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05HercyniteFe2+Al2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05JacobsiteMn2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05MagnesiochromiteMgCr2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05MagnesioferriteMgFe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05MagnetiteFe2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05Nichromite(Ni,Co,Fe)(Cr,Fe,Al)2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.05TrevoriteNi2+Fe3+2O4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
4.BB.10HausmanniteMn2+Mn3+2O4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
4.BB.10HetaeroliteZnMn2O4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
4.BB.10HydrohetaeroliteZnMn2O4 · H2OTet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
4.BB.10IwakiiteMn2+Fe3+2O4Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : I41/amd
4.BB.15MaghemiteFe3+2O3Iso. 4 3 2 : P41 3 2
4.BB.15TitanomaghemiteFe3+(Fe3+,Ti4+,Fe2+,◻)2O4Iso. 4 3 2 : P43 3 2
4.BB.25XieiteFe2+Cr2O4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

7.4.1BromelliteBeOHex. 6mm : P63mc
7.4.2BehoiteBe(OH)2Orth. 2 2 2 : P21 21 21
7.4.3ClinobehoiteBe(OH)2Mon. 2 : P21
7.4.4ChrysoberylBeAl2O4Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
7.4.5Magnesiotaaffeite-2N’2SMg3Al8BeO16Hex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m)
7.4.7PericlaseMgOIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fm3m
7.4.8BruciteMg(OH)2Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : P3m1
7.4.10MeixneriteMg6Al2(OH)16(OH)2 · 4H2OTrig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
7.4.11LimeCaOIso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m)
7.4.12PortlanditeCa(OH)2Trig. 3m (3 2/m)
7.4.13ChlormayeniteCa12Al14O32[◻4Cl2]Iso. 4 3m : I4 3d
7.4.14HydrocalumiteCa4Al2(OH)12(Cl,CO3,OH)2 · 4H2OMon. 2 : P21
7.4.16Ranciéite(Ca,Mn2+)0.2(Mn4+,Mn3+)O2 · 0.6H2OTrig. 3 : P3
7.4.17HollanditeBa(Mn4+6Mn3+2)O16Mon. 2/m
7.4.18Romanèchite(Ba,H2O)2(Mn4+,Mn3+)5O10Mon. 2/m
7.4.19Todorokite(Na,Ca,K,Ba,Sr)1-x(Mn,Mg,Al)6O12 · 3-4H2OMon. 2/m : P2/m

Other InformationHide

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Spinel in petrologyHide

References for SpinelHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Klaproth, M.H. (1797) Untersuchung des Spinells, Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, Zweiter Band, Rottmann Berlin, 1-11
Tilley (1923) Geol. Magazine: 40: 101.
Weigel (1923) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 48: 274.
Schlossmacher (1930) Zs. Kr.: 72: 468.
Anderson and Payne (1937) Mineralogical Magazine: 24: 547.
Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume I: 689-697.
Goodenough, J.B. and Loeb, A.L. (1955) Theory of ionic ordering, crystal distortion, and magnetic exchange due to covalent forces in spinels. Physical Review: 98: 391-408.
Smit, J. and Wijn, H.P.J. (1959) Ferrites. Physical properties of ferrimagnetic oxides in relation to their technical applications. Wiley, New York.
Sawatzky, G.A., Van Der Woude, F., and Morrish, A.H. (1969) Recoilless-fraction ratio for 57Fe in octahedral and tetrahedral sites of a spinel and a garnet. Physical Reviews: 183(2): 383-386.
Liu, L-g. (1975) Disproportionation of MgAl2O4 spinel at high pressures and temperatures: Geophysical Research Letters: 2: 9-11.
Schmocker, U. and Waaldner, F. (1976) The inversion parameter with respect to the space group of MgAl2O4 spinels. Journal of Physics C: Solid State Physics: 9: L235-237.
Yamanaka, T. and Takéuchi, Y. (1983) Order-disorder transition in MgAl2O4 spinel at high temperatures up to 1700°C. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 165: 65-78.
Osborne, M.D., Fleet, M.E., and Bancroft, G.M. (1984) Next-nearest neighbor effects in the Mössbauer spectra of (Cr,Al) spinels. Journal of Solid State Chemistry: 53: 174-183.
Yamanaka T., et al. (1984) Acta Crystallographica (1984): B40: 96.
Della Giusta, A., Princivalle, F., and Carbonin, S. (1986) Crystal chemistry of a suite of natural Cr-bearing spinels with 0.15≤Cr≤1.07. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie Abhandlungen: 155: 319-330.
Wood, B.J., Kirkpatrick, R.J., and Montez, B. (1986) Order-disorder phenomena in MgAl2O4 spinel. American Mineralogist: 71: 999-1006.
Wood, B.J. and Virgo, D. (1989) Upper mantle oxidation state: Ferric iron contents of Iherzolite spinels by 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy and resultant oxygen fugacities. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 53: 1277-1291.
Irifune, T., K. Fujino, & E. Ohtani (1991) A new high-pressure form of MgAl2O4. Nature: 349: 409-411.
Peterson R.C., Lager, G.A., and Hitterman, R.L. (1991) A time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction study of MgAl2O4 at temperatures up to 1273 K. American Mineralogist: 76: 1455-1458.
Cynn, H., Sharma, S.K., Cooney, T.F., and Nicol, M. (1992) High-temperature Raman investigation of order-disorder behavior in the MgAl2O4 spinel. Physical Review B: 45: 500-502.
Millard, R.L., Peterson, R.C., and Hunter, B.K. (1992) Temperature dependence of cation disorder in MgAl2O4 spinel using 27 Al and 17 O magic-angle spinning NMR. American Mineralogist: 77: 44-52.
Askarpour, V., Manghnani, MH., Fassbender, S., and Yoneda, A. (1993) Elasticity of single-crystal MgAl2O4 spinel up to 1273 K by Brillouin spectroscopy. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 19: 511-519.
Cynn, H., Anderson, O.L., and Nicol, M. (1993) Effects of cation disordering in a natural MgAl2O4 spinel observed by rectangular parallelepiped ultrasonic resonance and Raman measurements. Pure and Applied Geophysics: 141: 415-444.
Della Giusta, A. and Ottonello, G. (1993) Energy and long-range disorder in simple spinels. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 20: 228-241.
Carpenter, M.A. and Salje, E.K.H. (1994a) Thermodynamics of nonconvergent cation ordering in minerals: II. Spinels and the orthopyroxene solid solution. American Mineralogist: 79: 1068-1083.
Gillot, B. (1994) Infrared spectrometric investigation of submicron metastable cation-deficient spinels in relation to order-disorder phenomena and phase transition. Vibrational Spectroscopy: 6: 127-148.
Carbonin, S., Russo, U., and Della Giusta, A. (1996) Cation distribution in some natural spinels from X-ray diffraction and Mossbauer spectroscopy. Mineralogical Magazine: 60: 355-368.
Maekawa, H., Kato, S., Kawamura, K. and Yokokawa, T. (1997) Cation mixing in natural MgAl2O4 spinel: a high-temperature 27 Al NMR study. American Mineralogist: 82: 1125-1132.
Menegazzo, G., Carbonin, S., and Della Giusta, A. (1997) Cation vacancy distribution in an artifically oxidized natural spinel. Mineralogical Magazine: 61: 411-421.
Funamori, N., R. Jeanloz, J.H. Nguyen, A. Kavner, W.A. Caldell, K. Fujino, N. Miyajima, T. Shinmei, & N. Tomioka (1998) High-pressure transformation in MgAl2O4: Journal of Geophysical Research: 103: 20813-20818.
Redfern, S.A.T., Harrison, R.J., O'Neill, H.St.C., and Wood, D.R.R. (1999) Thermodynamics and kinetics of cation ordering in MgAl2O4 spinel up to 1600° C from in situ neutron diffraction. American Mineralogist: 84: 299-310.
Andreozzi, G.B., Princivalle, F., Skogby, H., and Della Giusta, A. (2000) Cation ordering and structural variations with temperature in MgAlO4 spinel: an X-ray single-crystal study. American Mineralogist: 85: 1164-1171.
Suzuki, I., Ohno, I., and Anderson, O.L. (2000) Harmonic and anharmonic properties of spinel MgAl2O4. American Mineralogist: 85: 304-311.
Warren, M.C., Dove, M.T., and Redfern, S.A.T. (2000a) Disordering of MgAl2O4 spinel from first principles. Mineralogical Magazine: 64: 311-317.
Warren, M.C., Dove, M.T., and Redfern, S.A.T. (2000b) Ab initio simulations of cation ordering in oxides: application to spinel. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter: 12: L43-L48.
Andreozzi, G.B., Halenius, U., and Skogby, H. (2001) Spectroscopic active IVFe 3+-VIFe 3+ clusters in spinel-magnesioferrite solid solution crystals: a potential monitor for ordering in oxide spinels. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 28: 435-444.
Andreozzi, G.B. and Lucchesi, S. (2002) Intersite distribution of Fe 2+ and Mg in the spinel (sensu-stricto)-hercynite series by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. American Mineralogist: 87: 1113-1120.
Carbonin, S., Martignago, F., Menegazzo, G., and Dal Negro, A. (2002), X-ray single-crystal study of spinels: in situ heating. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 29: 503-514.
Pattrick, R.A.D., van der Laan, G., Henderson, C.M.B., Kuiper, P., Dudzik, E., and Vaughan, D.J. (2002) Cation site occupancy in spinel ferrites studied by X-ray magnetic circular dichroism: developing a method for mineralogists. European Journal of Mineralogy: 14: 1095-1102.
Da Rocha, S. and Thibaudeau, P. (2003) Ab initio high-pressure thermodynamics of cationic disordered MgAl2O4 spinel. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter: 15: 7103-7115.
Martignago, F., Dal Negro, A., and Carbonin, S. (2003) How Cr 3+ and Fe 3+ affect Mg-Al order-disorder transformation at high temperature in natural spinels. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 30: 401-408.
Méducin, F., Redfern, S.A.T., Le Godec, Y., Stone, H.J., Tucker, M.G., Dove, M.T., and Marshall, W.G. (2004) Study of cation order-disorder in MgAl2O4 spinel by in situ neutron diffraction up to 1600 K and 3.2 GPa. American Mineralogist: 89: 981-986.
Van Minh, N. and Yang, I.-S. (2004) A Raman study of cation-disorder transition temperature of natural MgAl2O4 spinel. Vibrational Spectroscopy: 35: 93-96.
Papike, J.J., Karner, J.M., and Shearer, C.K. (2005) Comparative planetary mineralogy: Valence-state partitioning of Cr, Fe, Ti and V among crystallographic sites in olivine, pyroxene, and spinel from planetary basalts. American Mineralogist: 90: 277-290.
Martignago, F., Andreozzi, G.B., and Dal Negro, A. (2006) Thermodynamics and kinetics of cation ordering in natural and synthetic Mg(Al,Fe3+)2O4 spinels from in situ high-temperature X-ray diffraction. American Mineralogist: 91: 306-312.
Princivalle, F., F. Martignago, and A. Dal Negro (2006) Kinetics of cation ordering in natural Mg(Al,Cr3+)2O4 spinels. American Mineralogist: 91: 313-318.
Tilo Zienert & Olga Fabrichnaya (2013) Thermodynamic assessment and experiments in the system MgO–Al2O3. Calphad 40, 1-9.
Widmer, R., Malsy, A.-K., Armbruster, T. (2015) Effects of heat treatment on red gemstone spinel: single-crystal X-ray, Raman, and photoluminescence study. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 42, 251-260.

Internet Links for SpinelHide

Localities for SpinelHide

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