Spinels are one of the greatest imposters in jewelry as many can be found in the royal collections and labeled rubies.  One of the most famous examples of this is found in the British Imperiel Crown where the Black Prince's "ruby" is actually a 170 carat red spinel!  At one point Henry V of England actually wore this spinel on his battle helmet. In fact, this stone spawned the birth of the science of gemology due to the need to distinguish it between ruby.  In Burma, spinel crystals are considered to be so perfect that they are called nat thwe or "polished by the spirits."

This stone is a favorite among gem dealers and collectors and can be found in shades of red, pink, blue, purple, black and violet.  It is an affordable stone, although more rare than a ruby itself, and is an 8 on Mohs scale which means it is quite hard.

Spinel is mined in Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and many other areas in the world.

This gemstone is thought to increase intellectual power and lessen forgetfulness  Some think the stone can bring calm in times of stress.


  • Warm, soapy water can always be used to clean spinel.
  • Though rare, spinels may be filled with glass or other glass-like substance to improve clarity and strengthen the stone.  Care should be taken cleaning these with ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
  • Heat can fade the color of spinel.  Light and chemicals are usually not much of a worry.

For more information about spinel care and cleaning, see the GIA site: Spinel Care and Cleaning.