Spinel is often called the great imposter of the gemstone world, being mistaken for all sorts of other gemstones, often on purpose. Spinel is commonly mistaken for ruby, sapphires and tanzanite.
Of the worlds crown jewels, most of what was thought to be rubies, are actually spinel. The most infamous is certainly Prince Edward’s (the Black Prince, eldest son of King Edward III of Britain in the Middle Ages) magnificent 170 carat red “ruby” that currently adorns the Imperial State crown in the British Crown jewels, was discovered in the 1940s to actually be red spinel.
Another would be a 352 carat stone currently owned by Queen Elizabeth, the Timur Ruby, which has the names of all the Mighal emperors who previously own it, engraved on the face…turned out to be red spinel, as well….just imagine.
Spinel is now a gemstone that is treasured for its own beauty. It’s wonderful brilliance, hardness and wonderful range of spectacular colors makes this gemstone a favor amongst dealers. It’s colors range from reds, pinks, violet, and blues.
Due to the fact that it is actually spinels that are created in a laboratory to be used for imitation birthstone rings, most often people think “fake” when they hear the name spinel. It is a shame that a great number of people will never actually set eyes on the real thing.