A fancy cut (kite) Burmese grey spinel, amongst a Burmese spinel lot.

Grey Spinels: The King Of Wholesale Loose Spinels

A few decades ago, gray was unanimously associated with the representation of dark and gloom. In the gemstone world, bright, highly saturated colors without an overly dark tone were the trade of the season. However, there has been an incredible development in the market over the last few years and unsaturated pastel shades are increasingly becoming popular.

It is remarkable that gray spinels – which are technically an unsaturated color – are being consumed hungrily by the market. Be it trade shows or exhibitions, traders who had previously faced difficulty in moving these stones have now been the first to sell out! 

A stunning pear shaped grey spinel.
                                   A stunning pear shaped grey spinel.

The Color Grey:

Technically, the color grey is a combination of black or white. However, it can also be made through the combination of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Since the human eye can detect a very small amount of saturation, yellow, orange, and red create a warm grey whereas green, blue, and violet create a cool grey. 

Grey Color Chart Spinels
                                                                Grey Color Chart Spinels

This description of grey in color theory translates well into gemology. It is rare to find a neutral pure grey spinel in nature but will usually possess a secondary color component that is blue or violet. These are relatively more common than the former, which due to their notorious rarity are fairly expensive. As is the case with most colored gemstones, the value increases as the depth of color (in this case, grey) increases.

Buying Loose  Grey Spinel Wholesale:


In terms of sourcing, grey spinels are found along with deposits of ruby and sapphires, just like red spinels and multicolor spinels. It is obvious hence that the best quality grey spinels come from premium sources of sapphire and rubies. Burmese grey spinels are highly sought after because of their beautiful natural color and high quality. However, due to the ongoing civil unrest in Burma and the imposition of trade restrictions in many countries in relation to Burmese gemstones, particularly the USA, there is an acute shortage of genuine Burmese grey spinels in the market. Other sources include Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.

A fancy cut (kite) Burmese grey spinel, amongst a Burmese spinel lot.
                   A fancy cut (kite) Burmese grey spinel, amongst a Burmese spinel lot.


These factors become extremely important in the handling of a stone, where one wrong turn can disrupt the delicate balance of color. Loose grey spinel lots are one of our fastest selling lots and are available in calibrations of 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, and more, up to larger sizes like 5-carat stones. As market trends show, fancy cuts are the most popular cut for these stones, as they complement the eclectic color. In more conventional terms, cushion cuts are also fairly popular.

The Grey Spinel Phenomenon:

If by some chance, the grey spinel phenomenon hasn’t hit you in the face in the last couple of years, you must be asking “Why are grey Spinels popular?”, because conventionally they are the EXACT opposite of what has been selling in the market for almost forever! So, let us explore a few possibilities:

– The influence of social media: 

Today most trends are driven by social media instead of marketing. Social media has fundamentally changed the market scenario by changing the narrative around conventionally popular stones and giving much-needed exposure to novel and unusual gemstones that previously had almost no buyers!


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The grey spinel has been fondly termed as “space grey spinel”, “moon grey spinel” and many similar terms because of its obvious resemblance to a layman’s perception of astronomic entities. This has created a mystic aura around the gray spinel and we all know how difficult it is to resist the allure of the dark, mysterious stranger!

Looking to stand apart from the crowd Grey spinels might just be your thing!
            Looking to stand apart from the crowd Grey spinels might just be your thing!

– Rise of pastels:

Pastel gemstones, loose or retail, have taken over the market. This widens the scope for not just gemstone dealers but also for consumers as pastel gemstones are typically proceed lower than their saturated counterparts. Additionally, most pastel colors aren’t artificially treated to enhance their color. The buyer demographic today is definitely more conscious about purchasing natural stones and therefore natural grey spinels sit comfortably in this niche.

– Depletion of world resources:

The fact of the matter today is that gemstone mines have been rapidly depleted and finding genuine, bright, beautiful stones in nature is the matter of a blue moon. Therefore, it has become essential to find alternatives to satisfy the market demand. With a bend towards the eclectic, grey spinels have tapped beautifully into this market.

– Alternative Stones:

A focus on alternative gemstones that aren’t just natural but also ethically sourced has increased the pressure on the gemstone trading community to steer away from conventionally popular stones which are majorly mined in conflict areas. Most of the new generation finds are called “Green Stones” as they are responsibly sourced, without plunging the local community into social, environmental, and communal chaos.

Different Cuts of Spinels
                                     Different Cuts of Spinels


In line with the trends of this season, grey spinels are the perfect balance of uniqueness, affordability, and ethical sourcing. We deal in calibrated stones in a number of sizes along with single stone lots from 2-10 carat sizes and would love to discuss more them. Contact us at navneet@navneetgems.com or WhatsApp at +66985498500.

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