The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewelers of America are adding spinel as an additional birthstone for August on the official list of birthstones, which was established by Jewelers of America in 1912. We highlight what makes spinel special, for jewelers and sales staff to use when educating customers on the new August birthstone. 

Spinel has a long and storied history. Since it is often found in shades of deep red and pink, some of the most famous historic gemstones that were originally thought to be rubies are actually spectacular spinels. A legendary example is the “Black Prince Ruby,” actually a magnificent spinel, on the British Imperial State Crown.

Here’s a quick guide to what makes spinel special and why it’s now recognized as a birthstone for August. 

What Makes Spinel Special

  • Spinel is a truly magnificent beauty just waiting to be discovered by today’s savvy gem connoisseur.
  • Spinel is also the 22nd wedding anniversary gemstone.
  • Spinel has been a longtime favorite of the serious gem collector, due to its incredible brilliance, outstanding durability and wide array of colors.
  • Making spinel even more attractive is its surprising affordability, often attributed to the general public’s lack of awareness of the gemstone. For those looking for an alternative to higher priced rubies and sapphires, spinel may be the best choice.


  • Myanmar is the source of some of the world’s most beautiful spinels, particularly the magnificent pink, red and orange-red colors.
  • Spinel can be found across the globe, also sourced from Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.

Color & Characteristics

  • Spinel comes in a variety of vibrant colors from soft pastel shades of pink and purple, fiery oranges, and cool hues ranging from powdery gray to the most intense blues imaginable.
  • Spinel has glittering optics and is more reflective than ruby. Spinel gems are brilliant when cut and polished, rivaling the beauty of other gemstones in the same color range.
  • Spinel is a durable gem, with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.


  • Spinel does not require special care. Clean it with warm soapy water and a soft cloth and avoid intense heat as a light-colored stones may fade.

Synthetic Spinel

  • While natural spinel is not generally treated, synthetic spinel is available. Always clearly disclose if you are selling synthetic, lab-grown spinel.
  • Remind customers that just because something is man-made doesn’t mean that it’s not as beautiful as its natural counterpart. It’s just not nearly as rare or valuable.
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