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Spinel

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Throughout history, the red brilliance of spinel has led to great confusion, causing many to mistakenly identify this astonishing gemstone for ruby. In fact, many of the worlds most famous rubies are actually spinels. For example, the 170-carat Black Prince’s Ruby on the British Imperial State Crown and the 352-carat Timur Ruby have been authenticated as spinels by leading gemologists.

The source of confusion stemmed not only from color similarities, but is also attributed to the close proximity of their deposits. Burma, identifying the variety in 1587, was the first to distinguish spinels as a distinctive gemstone type. At this time other countries still referred to spinels as Balas Ruby.

Exceptional stones are found on the island of Sri Lanka and in Russia. However, most of the finest spinels currently available are mined in Burma.
 
Spinels come in many different color varieties, with hot colors, such as red, orange and vibrant pink, being the most expensive. Exceptional blue stones, also known as cobalt spinels, which resemble fine sapphires, have been discovered in Sri Lanka and command very high prices. Occasionally, large spinels with sizes greater than 5 carats are found; however, most stones in the market today are less than 5 carats in weight.

Having the hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, with no cleavage spinels are excellent for jewelry settings. Spinel rings, spinel necklaces, spinel earrings and other types of spinel jewelry are all valuable additions to a collection.

When evaluating the value of spinels, color intensity is the most important consideration. The gemstone should be intensely colored without any secondary brown tones. Clarity is also an important evaluating factor, with eye clean spinels being highly valued.

Cutting is very important, as well-cut stones can be quite spectacular. Having a high refractive index, the brilliance of a well-cut spinel is breath taking.

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