In his “Persian Motifs”, the Russian poet Esenin, infatuated by a beautiful girl, callsher by the name of a precious stone – Lal. It is the same name he uses to portray the sublime color of a woman’s lips. Color, beauty, and the gem are fused in a single word which itself pays homage to the nobility of femininity.
Traders traveling the legendary Silk Road en route to Russia, would pass by Badakhshan, home of the Kuh-i-Lal, the famous “Balas Rubies” and certainly added some gems to their loads at this point, so the marked affinity for the Pamir pink spinel shown at the Russian royal court should come as no surprise. The Badakshan mines are known to have been active for nearly the whole of the 2nd Millennium already delighting many a royal eye. Then with the advent of the Mazarin and Peruzzi cuts in the 17th century giving us the first hint of the splendors of the Brilliant Cut yet to come, the pink spinels took center stage at the imperial courts – with diamonds as their perfect foil. Lit by chandeliers burning with a hundred candles’ flames, given movement and scintillation at the swish of a crinoline, the graceful pink gem sparkled down the centuries, highlighting the complexion of queens and princesses as they danced.
With its exceptional brilliance and inner fire the pink spinel is unmistakable –quite unlike other pink gems. As light plays over the crystal it brings out the gem’s remarkable optical effects. The royal pink spinel emits vivid fluorescence in UV rays,seeming to absorb the light and then hurl it back into the dark, magnified in its own fiery glow. Then too there is the effect of its single refraction giving it one pure color in every direction and, in this case at least, in every light, never showing over tones of brown or gray whatever the illumination. Once cut in the elegant antique fashion with large facets, the color flashes out with each tilt of its pretty head: like a beautiful woman’s eyes as she glances back over her shoulder.
Traveling back through time, classical allusions to the royal pink leap out at us inart and fashion; a flash of color here in a formal medieval tapestry, another, there,in a stylish Regency bonnet, and there too, in the dried rose petals on the table of a heart-broken poet. Pink spinel has woven time and people together throughout history. It continues to do so to this day. Its nature – luscious, soft, yet crystal-clear –can touch a woman’s heart like no other. Its fire and sparkle call out for champagne.It should never be locked away in a box of treasures, pinned like a butterfly behind glass, or incarcerated in a vault. A pink spinel should glow on a woman’s skin, so that the jewel enhances her beauty, attune to all her nuances; it is a live gem, it needs to breathe. If there were one gem that represented the very nature of a woman, it would be a pink spinel: the heritage of the blood royal rediscovered.
(Chapter from the Book “Gemstones. Terra Connoisseur” by Vladyslav Yavorskyy)