Color: red, yellow, brown, blue, green, black
Moh's hardness: 8
Spinel classifies a whole group of related gemstones that occur in all colors. The favorite is the ruby-like red spinel. As a matter of fact, many famous 'rubies' in crown jewels around the world are actually spinel. The most famous is the Black Prince's Ruby, a magnificent 170-carat red spinel that currently adorns the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels.
Spinel was recognized as a separate gem species as early as 1587. Some of the most beautiful colors are mined in Burma (Myanmar). In addition to beautiful rich reds, spinel can be found in a range of beautiful pastel shades of pink and purple. The gem also appears in striking blues which are sometimes called cobalt spinel, but these are very rare.
Spinel is a durable gemstone that is perfect for all jewelry uses. In addition to its spectacular range of colors, spinel is also treasured for its amazing brilliance and hardness. Fine spinels are now rarer than the rubies they used to imitate. Strangely, they are also more affordable.
In addition to Burma, now known as Myanmar, spinel is mined in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Tajikistan, part of the former Soviet Union.