spinel gemstone august birthstone

Spinel (pronounced spin-elle) gemstones enjoy a long and storied history. Some of the most famous historical gems that were originally thought to be rubies turned out to be spinel. A notable example is the Black Prince’s Ruby, a centerpiece of the British Imperial State Crown, which was only recently confirmed to be a spinel. Spinels tend to be more reflective and glittering than rubies, because of their different optical characteristics. Much like rubies and sapphires, they can be found in a wide assortment of colors.

Spinel Facts

  • Spinel was made the birthstone for August in 2016, and it is sometimes used to commemorate a 22nd wedding anniversary. Everyone can take pleasure from its glittering optics and vibrant colors. View our spinel birthstone jewelry gift guide >
  • Spinel is a mineral that comes from Afghanistan, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Spinel is a durable gemstone with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Spinel is cut in many shapes and sizes. Colors range from orange to intense red or pink, and all shades between purple, blue and violet to bluish green.

Spinel Treatment

  • Spinels are not generally treated. Experimentally, however, some have been heat treated and infrequent surface-reaching fractures are treated with oils or polymers. Information about any stone known to be treated should be disclosed to the buyer.

Synthetic Spinel

  • Spinel can also be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, and this fact should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Spinel Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Avoid exposure to intense heat as light-colored stones may fade.
  • Spinel jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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