A Case of Mistaken Identity

Spinel may be one of the most underappreciated gemstones. It can be found in a variety of hues including intense red, hot pink, purple, vivid blue, and blueish green. For centuries it had been confused with both ruby and sapphire. 

One famous example of this beautiful gem is the “Black Prince’s Ruby” in the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain. For centuries the spinel, set proudly above the Cullinan II diamond was thought to be a ruby. In the 18th century, this and other spinels were differentiated from other similarly colored stones by their chemical differences.

This alternative August birthstone is thought to remedy blood loss and inflammatory diseases. Having an 8 on the MOHS hardness scale makes this gemstone a good choice for jewelry that will be enjoyed every day. 

Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom, c. 1919