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Spinel: The Gem of Royal Misconception


For centuries, spinel was the unsung hero of the gem world, often mistaken for the illustrious ruby. Many of the world’s most renowned royal crowns and jewelry pieces, once believed to be adorned with rubies, were later identified as housing the vibrant red spinel. Today, with its true identity revealed, spinel has emerged as a gem enthusiast’s delight, not just for its durability but also for its stunning spectrum of colors, ranging from pastel pinks and purples to greens, blacks, vivid pink-orange, and the rare blue.

Composition and Appearance

Intriguingly, spinel in its purest form is colorless, owing to its allochromatic nature. The vibrant hues of spinel arise from trace elements or impurities, primarily chromium, iron, and cobalt. While most gemstones are more abundant and less valuable in their colorless state, spinel defies this trend. Pure, colorless spinel is a rarity in nature. Often found alongside corundum (the mineral family of sapphires and rubies), large spinel specimens are an exceptional find.


Spinel graces various parts of the world, with deposits found in:

  • Cambodia
  • Myanmar
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Afghanistan
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Madagascar
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Tadzhikistan
  • Tanzania
  • United States

Properties and Enhancements

With a commendable rating of 8 on the Mohs scale, spinel is a durable choice for various jewelry pieces.

Currently, there are no known treatments to enhance spinel’s appearance.

Lab-grown spinel, mirroring the composition of its natural counterpart, is available in a plethora of colors. Interestingly, lab spinel is sometimes employed as a simulant for other gemstones, including aquamarine, sapphire, and tourmaline.

Shop Natural and Lab Created Spinel Gemstones

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