Austrian Imperial Crown  | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti

The Stone That Fooled Kings - The Scintillating Spinel

Step into the captivating world of spinel—the birthstone of August, where brilliance and allure intertwine. Unravel its fascinating history, explore its mesmerizing colors, and discover the undeniable charm that captivates jewelry enthusiasts worldwide. Welcome to the timeless realm of spinel's sophistication and splendor.


In the radiant embrace of August, we turn our attention to the captivating world of spinel, the birthstone that graces this joyous month with its brilliance and allure. As we explore the fascinating realm of gemstones, we uncover the exceptional significance and unique characteristics that make spinel an extraordinary gem in its own right. From its historical journey through ancient civilizations to its prominent place in modern jewelry, spinel's allure has remained timeless. Join us as we delve into the captivating story of spinel, unraveling its mesmerizing colors, its symbolic meaning, and its undeniable charm that continues to captivate both gemstone connoisseurs and jewelry enthusiasts alike and pay homage to this extraordinary gemstone that adds a touch of sophistication to the jewelry collections of those born in this special month.

2.08 Carat Oval Purplish Red Natural Spinel Gemstone | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti


Spinel, known as the birthstone for August, holds a rich history and symbolic meaning. The stone is believed to bring protection, prosperity, and overall well-being to those born in this month. Its vibrant colors and brilliant sparkle symbolize strength, positivity, and a zest for life, making it a perfect gemstone for individuals born in this joyous month.


Spinel belongs to the cubic crystal system and is composed of magnesium aluminum oxide. Its crystal structure results in excellent hardness, ranking 8 on the Mohs scale, making it highly durable and suitable for various types of jewelry.

The gem exhibits a high refractive index, contributing to its exceptional brilliance and fiery sparkle. While commonly associated with its rich red hues, spinel's palette spans a range of colors, including alluring blues, vibrant pinks, captivating purples, striking oranges, and rare greens. This wide variety of colors is due to different trace elements within the crystal lattice.

Furthermore, spinel is known for its exceptional clarity, often appearing free of inclusions, further enhancing its brilliance. Gem cutters skillfully shape spinel to maximize its luster, brilliance, and color, creating dazzling gemstones that leave a lasting impression in exquisite jewelry pieces.

1.21 Carats  Purple Pink Natural Spinel Oval Cut | Modern Gem Jewelry  | Saratti

Unique/Distinguishing Characteristics 

Spinel is genuinely a gemstone of extraordinary beauty and uniqueness. What sets it apart from other gemstones is its exceptional brilliance and clarity. Often mistaken for other gems like rubies and sapphires, spinels possess a distinctive charm that captivates the eyes of jewelry connoisseurs worldwide. With a high refractive index, spinels can reflect and disperse light, resulting in a captivating play of colors that dance within the gem.

One of the most enchanting aspects of spinel is its diverse range of colors. While red spinels are the most sought-after, this captivating gemstone is available in many hues, including vivid blue, soft pink, mesmerizing purple, fiery orange, and even serene green. The rarity of specific colors, such as the blue spinel, adds to its desirability among gemstone collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

History and Lore – The Notorious Great Impostor!

The allure of spinel dates back centuries and has been celebrated in various cultures. Historically, ancient civilizations highly treasured spinels for their mesmerizing beauty and rarity. It was once called the "Great Impostor" because of its frequent misidentification as rubies or sapphires in royal jewelry collections. Notable historical instances include:

The Black Prince's Ruby: One of the most famous cases of spinel masquerading as a ruby is the "Black Prince's Ruby" set in the British Imperial State Crown. This large, red gemstone was initially believed to be a ruby, adorning the crown of Edward, the Black Prince of England, in the 14th century. However, it was revealed to be a magnificent red spinel upon further examination. Despite the revelation, the historical significance of the gem as the "Black Prince's Ruby" remains, highlighting spinel's ability to deceive even in royal regalia.

Black Prince Ruby | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti

Arthur Edwards WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Austrian Imperial Crown Spinel: The Austrian Imperial Crown Spinel is a large red spinel believed to be a ruby until the 19th century.

Austrian Imperial Crown | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti


The Catherine the Great Spinel: The Catherine the Great Spinel, also part of the British Crown Jewels, is a large red spinel believed to be a ruby until the 19th century.

Catherine The Great Spinel | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti

The Crown Jewels of Iran: Within the Crown Jewels of Iran, several spinels were once believed to be rubies, called 'Balas rubies.' Examples include:

The "Timur Ruby," an impressive red gem weighing 352 carats, was once believed to be one of the world's largest rubies. The gemstone adorned the crown of Timur, the 14th-century Turco-Mongol conqueror. However, modern gemological analysis has confirmed that the Timur Ruby is, in fact, a spinel. Its grandeur and illustrious history solidify spinel's reputation as an imposter with great allure.

The Timur Ruby | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti

The Court Jeweler 

The Samarian Spinel - one of the largest spinels in the world, was also considered to be a large ruby at one time.

The Samarian Spinel | Modern Gem Jewelry | Saratti 

Throughout history, spinels have been unknowingly intermixed with ruby and sapphire gem collections due to their similar appearance. Many ancient gem collections, both public and private, contain spinels that were once believed to be rubies or sapphires, only to be later identified through advanced gemological techniques. 


In conclusion, celebrating the month of August with the brilliance and allure of spinel is an exceptional choice. As a birthstone, spinel holds significant meaning and reflects the essence of this joyous month. Its unique characteristics, historical importance, and diverse color palette make it an ideal gemstone for crafting exquisite, personalized jewelry. As you explore the world of spinel, you will undoubtedly be captivated by its timeless charm and beauty, which will continue to shine brightly for generations.

So, let us commemorate August with the dazzling sparkle of spinel, adorning ourselves with its beauty and significance. Embrace the allure of this enchanting gemstone and allow it to become an integral part of your cherished jewelry collection.



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