There’s a new birthstone in town and its name is spinel. While peridot has been the only recognized birthstone for August, the Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association recently announced that spinel is going to be the new, additional birthstone for this month. With the beginning of August just a few days away, we thought we would take some time to highlight some of the interesting facts about this new birthstone.
- While the origin of the name spinel is unknown, many believe that the name came from either one of two sources. Some believe that the name originated from the Latin word “spina,” meaning thorn, which can be used to describe the crystal’s pointed form. Others believe that the name was derived from the Greek word “spitha,” meaning spark, in reference to the gem’s bright color.
- Spinels are known for their high clarity, overall brilliance, hardness, refractivity, and intense color.
- Due to their similar appearance, spinels have historically been mistaken for rubies. In fact, some of the world’s most famous “rubies” are actually spinel. One example is the Black Prince’s Ruby, which is actually a 170 carat red spinel that was set into the English state crown and is now on display in the Tower of London.
- Like rubies, the intense red color of spinel is due to trace amounts of the element chromium. The more chromium found in the gem, the more intense the color will be.
- Spinel is thought to increase the intellectual power of the wearer while also reducing forgetfulness.
- Even though spinels are known for their intense red color, they can actually be found in a range of hues including orange, blue, and violet. Pure yellow and green are the only two colors that have never been found naturally in this gemstone.
- Colorless spinel exists in nature but is extremely rare. In fact, it wasn’t until a relatively recent discovery that colorless spinel can be found in nature.
- Some of the world’s main spinel sources include Tajikstan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Tanzania.
- Spinel is actually rarer than the ruby it resembles even though it is far less expensive. In fact, its rarity is the reason why this gem is so affordable. Since there aren’t a lot of spinels available in the world, there hasn’t been a lot of marketing promoting these gems. Because of this, so few people even know about the gem and are thus never given the chance to develop a fondness for spinel. Since the demand for these gemstones has been low, their cost has remained relatively low as well. However, this all might change given spinel’s new status as a officially recognized August birthstone.