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Red Spinel Gemstones
The differences are easily spotted now due to the hardness of the gems and through x-ray testing. In the past, many supposed Rubies were actually Ruby Spinel. The most famous Red Spinel belonged to the Black Prince of Great Britain. He had a "Ruby" as his centerpiece of the royal crown, but later it was found out to be Spinel. Also the "Timur Ruby," another gem of the British crown jewels, was indeed Spinel. For this reason alone, Ruby Spinel actually received a lot of undeserved fame. It is rarer than an actual Ruby, but is far less valuable. The two largest Spinels ever discovered equal 520 ct each, and currently are on display in the British Museum of London. In Moscow, the "Diamond Fund" houses a spinel that is 400 ct.
It is unknown where the name was derived from; it's either from the Latin word "thorn" or the Greek word for "spark." Spinel is more desirable in its outstanding shades of blue, orange, pink, and purples. It is a hard gem, 8 on the Mohs scale, and its clarity is unbelievable. The rarest of the Spinels, is the Star Spinel and all Spinels typically come in smaller proportions. This gem is never treated and usually is substituted for sapphires and rubies.