Red spinel is a variation of the gemstone called spinel. In its pure form, spinel is basically white. It is because of the impurities found in these gemstones that the spinel gets its wide range of colors. Though all colors of spinel are used in gemstone jewelry, the most valuable and popular choice of spinel is the deep red spinel.
Red spinel is not only mined in Burma, but also in Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Tadzhikistan, a part of former Soviet Union. As this is a durable gemstone, red spinel is great for use in all types of jewelry.
Besides being a durable gemstone, an additional reason for the red spinel being so popular is because it resembles rubies so closely. In fact, the two has so much resemblance that they are difficult to distinguish.
In fact, this is the reason the red spinel is considered to be the greatest imposter in gemstone history where many crown jewels across the world that were considered to be rubies were actually later found out to be red spinels. As well, without analysis, red spinel is often confused with rubellite.
Famous red spinels
The famous Black Prince’s ruby is a red spinel, which is now found in the Imperial State Crown of England, in the British Crown jewels. This huge 170 carat red spinel has a long history, and it being worn by Henry V on his battle helmet is a part of this history.
Another famous red spinel is the 361 carat Timur ruby which is now owned by Queen Elizabeth. This gemstone is famous for the engraved names of some Mughal emperors who had owned it previously.
Though it was difficult to differentiate between rubies and red spinels till the late 19th century, today distinctions are made through its hardness and x-ray tests.
Red spinels can be made in laboratories
Today the red spinel is a collector’s piece and gem dealers’ favorite. Its brilliance, variety of colors and hardness has made this stone famous. Red spinel is not only found in red color, but also in gorgeous pink and purple pastel shades. One particular form of red spinel mined in Burma is a vivid hot pink, with a tinge of orange.
It is because red spinels can be made in a laboratory, that they are called ‘synthetic’ gemstones which are used abundantly in imitation birthstone rings. In fact, it is the rarity of red spinels that has prevented the stone from reaching great heights of recognition.
Rare red spinels are affordably priced
Today, fine red spinels are found to be rarer than the rubies they imitate, but are much more affordable than rubies. This is because in the gem world, too rare of stones are a drawback as not many people prefer them for use in jewelry.
In fact, the red spinel gemstone can be faceted in round, oval or cushion shapes, but not in calibrated sizes. However as red spinel can be easily synthesized, it is important that you ensure that the spinel you buy is natural and not a synthetic one.
Copyright 2008 Paraiba International