August birthstone: the spinel
August is one of the few months to have three birthstones: spinel, peridot, and sardonyx. Our favorite is spinel, a very versatile gem that we use a lot at PAAR.
Spinel is known for its diversity of colors and its hardness (8 on the Mohs scale). These two characteristics make it an ideal gem for daily use since it is quite resistant to bumps or scratches. It is also ideal for customizable designs due to its variety of shapes and colors.
We have a wide collection of spinels for you to make your own design. Here you can assemble and customize your spinel ring.
This is one of our favorite PAAR rings, it is 14-carat gold with a purple/brown spinel and two black diamonds. To quote one like these, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout history spinel has not been appreciated as it should. Here we share five facts about spinel:
1- Some of the most famous "rubies" in history are actually spinels.
This confusion is due to the fact that spinels and rubies share many characteristics, including their bright red color. Here are some spinels that have been mistaken for rubies throughout history:
BLACK PRINCE’S RUBY
This 'ruby' is actually a spinel and is the centerpiece of the royal crown of Great Britain. This irregular cabochon cut spinel weighs 170 carats and is one of the oldest gems in the British Crown.
It was one of the largest rubies in the world until they discovered that it was really a spinel. This spinel was a gift from the East India Company to Queen Victoria and is now part of the collection of the British Royal Family.
2- One of the key differentiators so as not to confuse spinel with ruby is its refraction.
In the case of spinel the refraction of light is simple, and in the case of ruby the refraction of light is double. When a ray of light enters a double refractive gem, it splits into two rays, each at a different speed and a different path through the crystal. Most gemstones have double refraction, the only ones with single refraction are diamond, spinel, and garnet.
Photo by https://www.gia.edu/
3- What determines the color of the spinels is the dominant chemical element in each one, and depending on the color they are found in different parts of the world.
The very intense pink and red spinels contain chromium, the more chromium the stone becomes redder. Those with orange and purple colors have a mixture of chrome and iron. Spinels that range from purple to blue have more iron, and those that are deep blue have cobalt.
4- The name "spinel" comes from the Latin word thorn, and refers to the shape of the crystals in this gem.
5- Deposits of spinel are found in: Tajikistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan.
Hot pink and red spinels usually come from Myanmar.