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The gemstone family of spinel has caused confusion in the past age. Due to a very similar look, the actually red spinel was mistaken for a ruby for a long time. In the 19th century it was recognized that spinel is not a variety of ruby and finally received its recognition as an independent mineral. The discovery of the error brought the colored gemstone strongly into the spotlight and made it world-famous. This scientific distinction between spinel and ruby at that time heralded the birth of gemology.

Thus, the world-famous center stone "Black Prince's Ruby" in the English state crown was also mistakenly admired as a ruby for several centuries. In fact it is a large red spinel, polished in an irregular cabochon shape. This knowledge and resolution of the false belief was obtained and revealed in the 20th century by gemological research.

It is actually not difficult to distinguish the types of gemstones, provided that you hold the stone in its natural state, as a raw crystal. The crystal structure of spinels is cubic, while that of rubies is trigonal. However, the distinction between the stones after cutting is no longer visible to the naked eye. The cut stones can then only be distinguished by specialized personnel by means of a polariscope or a refractometer and observing the refraction of light and optical properties. 

 Even though spinel has always been in the shadow of its "nobler" relatives from the corundum family, ruby and sapphire, and cannot yet reach the top prices of the finest rubies, spinel has nevertheless long been an extremely valuable and sought-after gemstone. Spinel is more popular than ever, for which there are good reasons:

  • With a Mohs hardness of 8, spinels are hard and insensitive, making them excellent for processing as a gemstone, especially as a ring stone.

  • They have excellent brilliance and spectacular vibrancy.

  • The stones come in vibrant hues such as fire red, pink and cobalt blue, in soft lavender tones and elegant silver gray.


The pure spinel is colorless. Only through coloring components like iron, chrome, zinc, manganese, cobalt or copper, which mix with the pure state of the gemstone, a spinel gets its coloring.

Among all the color variations, red and cobalt blue spinel are among the most valuable varieties. Blue gemstones are especially desired because they are rarer in nature. Sapphires, tanzanites and aquamarines get their color from heat treatment to intensify their color. Spinel, on the other hand, has a natural blue coloration and does not need to be heated. It is one of the few minerals that are very rarely processed - this makes it extremely pure and valuable!

In general, learn more about Gemstones processing methods in our last blog post.

In the trade, spinel is given different names. Each describes the color similarity of spinel to other gemstones. Here are a few examples:

- Ruby spinel: dark red, chrome spinel.

- Sapphire spinel: blue spinel

- Ceylanite or Pleonast: dark green to black spinel, containing iron

- Chlorospinell: green spinel, containing copper and iron

- Picotite: dark green to brown spinel, containing chrome

In our online store we offer the spinel in 34 different variations, among other things in the colors blue, pink/pink, red, purple and a gray-blue.


Due to its radiant colors, spinel was already a very popular gemstone among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

In stone healing, spinel is known for the following properties:

  • For intensifying a life-affirming positive attitude.
  • For strengthening one's dynamism and temperament
  • For its support in overcoming fears and anxiety
  • For promoting self-acceptance and self-love
  • For conferring constancy and greater stamina

Spinel is thus a gemstone that can help quite decisively in sticking to one's goals and making them a reality.

Spinel can also have a positive effect on the physical level. For example, it makes the body more dynamic by strengthening the muscles and digestive system.


Spinels occur together with corundum in metamorphic rocks (marbles, gneisses etc.). Important deposits are therefore the same as for ruby and sapphire. Spinel is mined in numerous, worldwide occurring deposits. The most important deposits are:






Book: Edelsteine und Schmucksteine, author: Walter Schumann, edition: 2020 / 24.11.2022 / 24.11.2022


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