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Cobalt Blue Spinel

mellowyellowgirl

Ideal_Rock
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I really like it!!! I think you’ve described it spot on. It hasn’t got any faults colour wise but it’s not vivid. Lovely, non grey colour though!

I think whether you keep it depends on how you function with jewellery. I would keep this if it were me but I’m the type who would turn it into a ring and wear it heaps with various outfits that suit it. So I tend to be more forgiving because I’m all about wearability. If it’s a decent price and will get lots of use, it’s the right stone for me.

Me thinks you might not operate like that though so keep us updated on what you will do!
 

LilAlex

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I like it! Hard to argue with that color -- it's what I'd be hoping for with an online purchase.

Is it ridiculously vivid? No, but I infer it's not ridiculously priced. I don't think I have ever seen a good-sized vivid blue spinel. Like you, I love the absence of gray or teal.

It also does not scream "sapphire" to me for some reason. Not a violet-blue which I am more accustomed to in this tone. (It looks medium-toned in your photos but I know you called it medium-dark.) More diamond-like -- can't tell if that's the luster or RI or something else. Maybe it's the cut -- not the standard sapphire step-cut pavilion.

The melee is also spinel?
 
Joined
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4,740
I really like it!!! I think you’ve described it spot on. It hasn’t got any faults colour wise but it’s not vivid. Lovely, non grey colour though!

I think whether you keep it depends on how you function with jewellery. I would keep this if it were me but I’m the type who would turn it into a ring and wear it heaps with various outfits that suit it. So I tend to be more forgiving because I’m all about wearability. If it’s a decent price and will get lots of use, it’s the right stone for me.

Me thinks you might not operate like that though so keep us updated on what you will do!

That's the thing! It's not a disappointment, but I'm not wowed either. Should I be?
 
Joined
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I like it! Hard to argue with that color -- it's what I'd be hoping for with an online purchase.

Is it ridiculously vivid? No, but I infer it's not ridiculously priced. I don't think I have ever seen a good-sized vivid blue spinel. Like you, I love the absence of gray or teal.

It also does not scream "sapphire" to me for some reason. Not a violet-blue which I am more accustomed to in this tone. (It looks medium-toned in your photos but I know you called it medium-dark.) More diamond-like -- can't tell if that's the luster or RI or something else. Maybe it's the cut -- not the standard sapphire step-cut pavilion.

The melee is also spinel?

I'm glad she appeals to you! It does look sort of diamond-y in its brilliance... I'd say it's the cut. Yeah, it's right on the line between medium and medium-dark tone for me. I agree, it doesn't really look like a sapphire. It's lacking the violet modifier and richness, as you said. Yes, the melee is spinel too. I'm undecided, my friend!
 

glitterata

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That's the thing! It's not a disappointment, but I'm not wowed either. Should I be?

I can't interpret the photo well enough to tell what I think of it, but you've seen it in person and know what you think. You're not wowed. I take it you would be keeping it because it's a large, affordable cobalt blue spinel, not because you love it for itself. So the question is: Is the fact of owning a large cobalt blue spinel worth the price to you, even though people will "inevitably mistake it for a sapphire" that won't "blow anyone's compression socks off"?

I've bought and kept things to fill a gap in my collection, even though I don't love them for themselves. Sometimes they grow on me. Sometimes they irritate me. How do you think you'll feel about this spinel in the long run?
 

landscape

Shiny_Rock
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Dec 22, 2020
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449
No offense, this spinel may not be the typical color of Vietnamese cobalt spinel.

The colors of Vietnamese cobalt spinel can be generally summarized as: 1. Dark blue (rich blue reflection color + dark body color), 2. Neon blue (rich blue reflection color + light body color), 3. Light blue (light blue reflection color + light body color). All three color types do not have gray and purple tones.

The reflection color of this spinel is close to light blue (sky blue), but the body color has a purple tone and the body color is too dark. So the color of this spinel is similar to No. 3 in the picture, but with a purple tone, and may have a slight color change effect.
Overall, this is a good blue spinel, because blue spinel without gray tones is also relatively rare.
But there are more beautiful Vietnamese cobalt spinels worth looking for. DSC_9751 拷贝.jpg DSC_9770 拷贝.jpg
 

Dr_Diesel

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
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As an aside, here's my red one. She's exactly the same size, shape, and faceting (she's 2.72ct., but cut very deep). Isn't that funny? I mean, they're just begging to be a toi et moi. But I don't know how that would work with cushions. Plus, I'd like to have 2 rings. Also, the red is super neon and might overshadow the blue.

thumbnail_Resized_20240630_145516_1719773926859 (1).jpg

That’s a crazy color!!!!
 

Dr_Diesel

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So here it is along with my first impressions. I had about a half hour of light left to snap a couple of pix.

Pros:

~Feather is all but invisible at eye level when viewed face up... the only time it's obvious is when the stone is backlit or viewing it from the pavilion.
~Color is decidedly blue... no gray or teal.
~Tone is definitely not inky or overly dark. I think the vendor's assessment of medium-dark (6) was accurate.

Cons:

~Cut is way wonkier in person than I was expecting... culet is off-center... crown is not level... overall proportions and shape are asymmetrical.
~Saturation, in my opinion, is intense (5) and not quite vivid (6) when compared to my melee. It's certainly not "neon" and I don't think it would blow anyone's compression stockings off when they inevitably mistake it for a sapphire.
~Probably nixing the toi et moi idea... it really doesn't pair that well with the red spinel.

Yet, I think I got a decent price and I know it's very rare material in this quality. I don't think I could do any better in this size and price range. If I keep it, I will need to zhuzh it up with either a colorful halo or a matched pair of bright, contrasting side stones (and then maybe a diamond border all around).

What does everyone think?

Autumn

In front of window... not direct sun.
thumbnail_Resized_20240705_174155_1720219316699.jpg


With the melee I bought from Yvonne... they are super duper vivid in person.
thumbnail_Resized_20240705_173158_1720225242534 (1).jpg

You don’t sound thrilled.

A long-time friend & gem dealer once gave me some invaluable advice, and it has proven true time and time again:

“If you don’t fall in love with a stone in the first 3 seconds, let it go.”
 
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jenzgemz

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Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
82
It's a beautiful stone, love this color of blue. While it may not be the glowy "cobalt blue" tones, if you are happy that is what counts. It's hard to find a good blue spinel that doesn't shift to grey in certain lighting conditions. I bought a couple at the Tucson show (JOGS) that do this. So there is also merit to the advice by Dr_Diesel above ;-) And if there are things that trouble you, they will likely always trouble you. So pretty though!!
 

Dreamer_D

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Dec 16, 2007
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I think it’s lovely but I can understand if it’s not “the one” for a connoisseur like you.
 

Ionysis

Brilliant_Rock
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Oct 1, 2015
Messages
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I think it goes pretty damn well with your complimentary stones. Would you consider a minor recut to tweak it? Always a gamble on how that would affect colour though. Could be better, could be worse.
 

Ionysis

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Oct 1, 2015
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If you had a double halo with diamonds between the main stone and the accents, or an air gap, I think this could be quite spectacular.
 
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I've bought and kept things to fill a gap in my collection, even though I don't love them for themselves. Sometimes they grow on me. Sometimes they irritate me. How do you think you'll feel about this spinel in the long run?

This is so true... thank you! More often than not, I end up selling those types of pieces (for an upgrade). I'm just not sure I can do better than this one in this size. That's where I'm stuck! :doh:I'm afraid of returning it only to spend more for a grayer stone. They're all so gray in these sizes!
 
Joined
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Messages
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No offense, this spinel may not be the typical color of Vietnamese cobalt spinel.

The colors of Vietnamese cobalt spinel can be generally summarized as: 1. Dark blue (rich blue reflection color + dark body color), 2. Neon blue (rich blue reflection color + light body color), 3. Light blue (light blue reflection color + light body color). All three color types do not have gray and purple tones.

The reflection color of this spinel is close to light blue (sky blue), but the body color has a purple tone and the body color is too dark. So the color of this spinel is similar to No. 3 in the picture, but with a purple tone, and may have a slight color change effect.
Overall, this is a good blue spinel, because blue spinel without gray tones is also relatively rare.
But there are more beautiful Vietnamese cobalt spinels worth looking for. DSC_9751 拷贝.jpg DSC_9770 拷贝.jpg

Thank you for the input! I see so many of these impossibly blue colors from reputable vendors online, and then when I get them home, they look nothing like it in person (I have an example I really want to show, but I'm afraid of insulting the vendor). So I'd need to evaluate them in person to compare to this stone. :|
 
Joined
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Messages
4,740
You don’t sound thrilled.

A long-time friend & gem dealer once gave me some invaluable advice, and it has proven true time and time again:

“If you don’t fall in love with a stone in the first 3 seconds, let it go.”

It's a beautiful stone, love this color of blue. While it may not be the glowy "cobalt blue" tones, if you are happy that is what counts. It's hard to find a good blue spinel that doesn't shift to grey in certain lighting conditions. I bought a couple at the Tucson show (JOGS) that do this. So there is also merit to the advice by Dr_Diesel above ;-) And if there are things that trouble you, they will likely always trouble you. So pretty though!!

Wise words... thank you!
 
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If you had a double halo with diamonds between the main stone and the accents, or an air gap, I think this could be quite spectacular.

I like this idea, thank you! I also considered a double halo with paraiba and diamonds. :think:
 

toomuchB

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Joined
Nov 17, 2022
Messages
163
There is no doubt that its a beautiful stone and it wouldn't be a mistake to keep it and enjoy it (which seems to be your plan).

Personally, I know I would constantly compare the color to the melee's color and question it, leading to indecisiveness. But that size is almost impossible to find in that quality not to mention the cost. Based on this, if I concluded the two types (big vs melee sized) should be judged using separate criteria, I would lose that impulse to compare them because I decided the criteria are different. Then I would decide if the larger one indeed fits my criteria well enough. That's how my brain works anyway (thanks law school)

Kind of like judging a Brazilian vs Indian alexandrite. Good Brazilian ones are usually fairly dark with a great color change and incandescent color. Indian ones can have a more pleasing, lighter tone and nicer daylight color - but I don't expect the incandescent color or color change % to be as nice. Since the criteria are different for the 2 locales I wouldn't feel the need to compare them (at least not with the intention of finding flaws).
 
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Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 19, 2013
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What does everyone think?


I don't think I could do any better in this size and price range.


That's the thing! It's not a disappointment, but I'm not wowed either. Should I be?


Thank you for the input! I see so many of these impossibly blue colors from reputable vendors online, and then when I get them home, they look nothing like it in person (I have an example I really want to show, but I'm afraid of insulting the vendor). So I'd need to evaluate them in person to compare to this stone. :|

Do you have a gel sticky top gem box to view the stones closer together, in formation?

My thoughts
If in a ring, at the angle(s?) you’ll be viewing it from, that the cut faults you mention become more bothersome?
No mention of the girdle, but is it apparent that a symmetrical setting might enhance the stone’s table and outline shape wonk you mention? A wonkly girdle will compound that. If so - might the setting be less symmetrical to try and mask? Is any of that acceptable?

Does the center vs melee change their behavior similarly to each other as the lighting environment changes? Always pleasant, or not?
(Would ideal cut diamond melee or rose cut melee in your design contrast or soften that difference?)

Save your melee for something else - If the center is kept in a gem box as a rare prized loose specimen, is it more acceptable, or less acceptable to you?

You mention it being mistaken for a sapphire by others, and not an impressive sapphire at that. Will explaining it is a spinel alleviate your feelings on that, or compound it?

And lastly
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone to hear me say
Failure to share your thoughts and experience because fear of insulting a vendor.
That’s a shame.
Although your words should set the tone of such a thing, that’s not always what happens. I get it.
 
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Dreamer_D

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
26,338
I was also going to comment that it is not fair to compare this gem to the tinies from Yvonne as that gem material may be impossible to find in the size you want for a price anyone but a billionaire could pay!
 
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There is no doubt that its a beautiful stone and it wouldn't be a mistake to keep it and enjoy it (which seems to be your plan).

Personally, I know I would constantly compare the color to the melee's color and question it, leading to indecisiveness. But that size is almost impossible to find in that quality not to mention the cost. Based on this, if I concluded the two types (big vs melee sized) should be judged using separate criteria, I would lose that impulse to compare them because I decided the criteria are different. Then I would decide if the larger one indeed fits my criteria well enough. That's how my brain works anyway (thanks law school)

Kind of like judging a Brazilian vs Indian alexandrite. Good Brazilian ones are usually fairly dark with a great color change and incandescent color. Indian ones can have a more pleasing, lighter tone and nicer daylight color - but I don't expect the incandescent color or color change % to be as nice. Since the criteria are different for the 2 locales I wouldn't feel the need to compare them (at least not with the intention of finding flaws).

We share a brain! Once I chatted with Yvonne and she told me I'd never find a similar vibrancy to the melee in an over 2.5ct. stone (unless it's maybe a $$$ museum piece), I felt better. So now I can stop comparing them... and they're not that far off anyway. Yvonne said she walks the gem shows in Asia and never sees vivid cobalts in anything over smaller stones that are highly included and misshapen. In fact, her exact words about the crazy neon shades were, "that color doesn't even exist."

I saw this one below while browsing... my stone is larger, about the same clarity, and judging by the listing videos, equal or better color (no purple or color shifting). And I paid less. The cut on my stone leaves something to be desired though. Still, I think it's a really nice gem. Breathtaking? No. But he deserves some love.


Thank you for the advice!!
 

LilAlex

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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3,769
Wow -- that's US dollars on that 1.58 ct? That's pretty dear.

I like "yours," @Autumn in New England. Having never priced a sizable blue with no gray or teal, I have no anchor for my bias.
 
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Messages
4,740
Do you have a gel sticky top gem box to view the stones closer together, in formation?

My thoughts
If in a ring, at the angle(s?) you’ll be viewing it from, that the cut faults you mention become more bothersome?
No mention of the girdle, but is it apparent that a symmetrical setting might enhance the stone’s table and outline shape wonk you mention? A wonkly girdle will compound that. If so - might the setting be less symmetrical to try and mask? Is any of that acceptable?

Does the center vs melee change their behavior similarly to each other as the lighting environment changes? Always pleasant, or not?
(Would ideal cut diamond melee or rose cut melee in your design contrast or soften that difference?)

Save your melee for something else - If the center is kept in a gem box as a rare prized loose specimen, is it more acceptable, or less acceptable to you?

You mention it being mistaken for a sapphire by others, and not an impressive sapphire at that. Will explaining it is a spinel alleviate your feelings on that, or compound it?

And lastly
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone to hear me say
Failure to share your thoughts and experience because fear of insulting a vendor.
That’s a shame.
Although your words should set the tone of such a thing, that’s not always what happens. I get it.

I need to get one of those boxes! I am not setting the cobalt melee with this stone, so I'm not as concerned with the slight difference in color. I'm going to stick to my original plan of using them to accent the red spinel. I'm thinking I might do a double halo with the cushion blue spinel and paraiba melee I bought previously from Yvonne. Do you like that color combo?

The girdle is likewise wonky, and it's going to give David fits trying to set it. The only time the cutting deficiencies become bothersome is if the stone is tilted more than 45* to the right or left. But then most stones will have tilt issues. I will ask David to set it the way he feels maximizes performance, whether that means the crown is going to be a bit askew or the pavilion is. Not sure I will do an asymmetrical design, but I'm going to make the outer halo quite busy with different shaped diamonds.

The melee somehow brighten under artificial light, which is rare for spinel of any color. The larger stone does not. It stays pretty consistent. It is not color change material. My pear spinel is a distinctly cool lavender in daylight and quite a warm lilac in incandescent lighting.

I don't think anyone here would mistake the stone for a sapphire, as LilAlex pointed out, but the average person thinks all blue stones are sapphires. lol In that case, they probably won't even really understand color nuances. But yes, I do, and I have to make sure that won't irk me.

I am still considering sharing that vendor's listing photo with the actual photo. He's a powerful, respected, international trader that everyone here knows. I'm just afraid of repercussions in the future. They're awfully nice folks too. I shared it with Yvonne, who knows him/them. It's night and day. How about if I share the pix without mentioning the vendor? You guys will be able to suss it out fairly quickly, but perhaps we can avoid naming him/them. I outed a vendor once before and immediately regretted it, because he is so kind (but the discrepancy was just so very dramatic). This one, however, is even worse.

Thank you for all the food for thought and your valuable insights!!
 
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Wow -- that's US dollars on that 1.58 ct? That's pretty dear.

I like "yours," @Autumn in New England. Having never priced a sizable blue with no gray or teal, I have no anchor for my bias.

Right? I'm telling you... these are the prices Luc Yen blues are demanding! And they don't have to be the top color of the smaller stones. Yvonne has some (lovely) material selling at $20k/carat and she's not exactly known for price gouging.
 
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I was also going to comment that it is not fair to compare this gem to the tinies from Yvonne as that gem material may be impossible to find in the size you want for a price anyone but a billionaire could pay!

Here is an emoji depicting my desire to collect fine gems in decent sizes... and my budget saying not so fast.
kick-in-nuts.gif
 

lilmosun

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I love the stone and think it's beautiful in it's own right...and much nicer than most other cobalt blue spinel's I've seen of that size.

Given you said it was still a sizable purchase, would this tick your box for a larger blue cobalt spinel or would you be inclined to keep looking? That would be the deciding factor for me.
 
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Messages
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I love the stone and think it's beautiful in it's own right...and much nicer than most other cobalt blue spinel's I've seen of that size.

Given you said it was still a sizable purchase, would this tick your box for a larger blue cobalt spinel or would you be inclined to keep looking? That would be the deciding factor for me.

I think I'm going to keep the stone, and if I did ever come across something I liked better, I could always (try to sell) this guy. But I think it's going to be difficult to trump this gem in my price range. It certainly wasn't inexpensive, but it wasn't the outrageously high pricing you'll routinely see. I suspect this is because I imported it directly from VN.

Thank you for the lovely comment!!
 

Dr_Diesel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
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515

This is about right in terms of pricing for the truly neon material. I saw a stone that was just over one carat in Bangkok. It was super neon and clean and the price tag was over $20,000 USD.
 
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