Spinel is a gemstone that is not heard about as much as other gemstones and in my opinion underrated. The spinel’s most popular shade is a deep red and the stone and looks very similar to the ruby. In fact, you may mistake a spinel as a ruby, but an experienced jeweler will know the difference. One clue that may help you made the correct call is to view the stone under ultraviolet light. Spinels show up as fluorescent under UV light.
Spinel gemstones also come in white, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, black and even colorless. They are found in the same areas that rubies are found, another fact that makes them hard to distinguish between the two gemstones. Before the two gemstones were distinguished at two different gemstones, red spinels were known as spinel-rubies in past years.
One of the reasons spinel is not more popular is that the high-quality spinel gemstones are very rare. That is why you seldom see spinels in a jewelry store or advertised along with other precious and semi-precious stones.
Among the most famous spinels is the Samarian Spinel that weighs 500 carats and is the largest spinel that has been found in the world to date. However, the most famous spinel is the Black Prince’s ruby that weighs 170 carats. This jewel was traced back to being worn by Henry V in his battle helmet. It was later placed in the State Crown of England.
Queen Elizabeth owns one of the largest spinels found in history, the Timur ruby. The Timur ruby weighs 361 carats and is part of the British Crown jewel collection. It is also one of the most famous spinels in history. Spinels were also used to decorated the British and French Crown Jewels and were thought to be rubies at the time. Now we know that the beautiful red stones were spinels.The spinel gemstones are transparent to opaque and rate a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Some of the prettiest spinels have come out of mines in Burma. Spinels have also been found in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Pakistan. The most sought-after colors of spinel for setting into jewelry are the hot pink stones with a hint of orange. This shade makes for a brilliant sparkle and quite a conversation piece for the owner. The deep blue cobalt shades of spinel are very rare and also at the top of the most sought-after shades of spinel.Regardless of the shade, spinels are the perfect gemstone to show off in any type of jewelry setting. It’s beautiful, unique and not a gemstone you see often.