Spinel comes from the Greek word SPINOS which means a Spark.

The ancient Greek believed that rubies lived in a palace. Andrea Bacci, a 17th century writer, said that "Balas (an ancient name for Spinel which referred to a locality where red spinels were found) is derived from PALATUS, a palace, which is the palace where the ruby lives." Today we know that this is true, because Spinels are often found together with corundum (rubies and sapphires). This means that the ancient Greeks and Middle-Age Europeans knew the difference between a Spinel and a Ruby and a Sapphire.

Spinel is a rare and flawless gemstone of magnesium aluminum oxide. It comes in a wide variety of colors such as red, blue, orange, brown, violet, purple, gray and black (green and yellow are extremely rare).

Spinel is transparent to opaque, with a glass-like luster. It has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale. That means that it can be cut and faceted into almost any shapes, although circles, ovals and cushion cuts are the most popular.

Red spinel has a strong red fluorescence whereas blue spinel has a weak, reddish and green fluorescence.

For over 1000 years, Spinel was mistaken and confused for corundum (rubies and sapphires). It could be due to the fact that Spinels and Corundum were often found in the same mines. Not only that, Spinels look exactly like the Corundum gemstones although they are chemically distinct.

Several of the most spectacular large "rubies" ever discovered mounted in "crown jewels" and other "jewelry of significance" were actually Spinels.

The most famous example of a spinel being identified as a ruby is a 170-carat bright red spinel named "The Black Prince's Ruby." It was mounted on the front of the Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom. Edward, Prince of Wales—the “Black Prince”— received the stone in 1367 as payment for a battle victory.

In 1415, the stone was said to have saved the life of King Henry V of England at the battle of Agincourt. Henry, who had placed the large red orb on his helmet, was struck by the battle axe of the French Duke of Alencon. The sword hit the stone; both the Spinel and King Henry survived.

In Russia, the Great Imperial Crown for the coronation of Catherine the Great in 1762 contained what was believed to be the second largest Spinel weighing 398.72 carats. It was one of the seven historic stones of the Russian Diamond Collection.

The French Crown Jewels that were symbols of Royal power between 752 and 1825 are on display in the Galerie d'Apollon of the Louvre, France's premier museum and former royal palace. It contained the most ancient Côte-de-Bretagne red Spinel, carved into the form of a dragon.

The "Timur Ruby" is a bright red spinel that weighs 352.5-carat and is currently in a necklace of The Royal Collection that was made for Queen Victoria in 1853. It was part of a group of Spinels from the Lahore Treasure presented to Queen Victoria by the East India Company in 1849. Several Persian inscriptions carved into the gem testify to its age.

The 500 carats Samarian Spinel from the Iranian crown jewel collection is one of many great treasures from Iran's crown jewels. The spinel was captured from India by a Persian king, Nadir Shah (1698-1747). It's likely that the Spinel was owned at one point by Jahangir, the fourth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1605 to 1627.

It was not until 1783 that mineralogist Jean Baptiste de Lisle using the science of crystallography as a diagnostic tool, differentiated the chemically distinct differences between Spinels and Corundum.

Spinel has been known by the nobility and jewelers since the eleventh century. At this time Spinels and Rubies were of equal value and this all changed in the 18th century when Rubies acquire a higher value than Spinel.

Spinel is a rare and often flawless gemstone which comes in a wide variety of colors. It is a natural stone with no enhancement or treatment given. Due to its rarity, Spinels are often synthesized in laboratories.

Unlike the natural colors of Spinels, Sapphires, Tanzanites and Aquamarines are often heat treated to achieve their coveted blue colors. This is not so with Spinel, it comes in a beautiful natural blue color.

Pure colorless natural spinel is very rare and natural white spinels always show a trace of pink. The colors of spinel are caused by impurities or traces of minerals. Trace elements of chromium can cause the red, pink and orange Spinels; while iron creates the deep red colors similar to rubies. Manganese and cobalt are also found in Spinel and sometimes two or three of these elements can combine to create the blues, purples, violets and grays that can also be seen in this colorful gemstone.

Most Spinels are transparent with no obvious inclusions. Sometimes a Spinel with a distinctive fingerprint like inclusion will appear but these swirling patterns actually add to the gemstone’s magic.

Mahenge Spinel displays a vibrant hot pink and red colour. This sophisticated and appealing Mahenge spinel is only found in Tanzania, one of the most sought-after color of spinel in the world.

One of the rarest hues ever found in spinel, a Cobalt Blue Vietnam Natural Spinel has a high refractive index that gives its natural color an intense fire. Vivid Traffic Light Red and Cobalt Blue are the most expensive colors for spinel.

Star Spinels are found occasionally and they may display either four or six rays depending on their orientation. While Spinels with a strong color change are extremely rare, stones that display a blue to violet color shift are more available.

Other trade names for Spinels and their colors are:

Almandine Spinel which comes with a violet color.

The " balas ruby " is a rose-red spinel.

Flame Spinel is of an orange or reddish-orange color also known as Rubicelle.

Picotite is a brown Spinel.

Ceylonite and Pleonaste are dingy blue or grey to black varieties of spinel.

Chloro-spinel is of a green color.

Alexandrite-like Spinel is the color-change spinel usually from gray to violet.

Spinels are a rejuvenating, re-energizing and inspiring gemstones. It is a destroyer of obstacles, giver of optimism and determination to succeed in whatever project you have set your mind to accomplish.

The revitalizing metaphysical property of spinel helps you in your career goals and in your amorous courtship. It also helps you to let go of negative relationships. Not only that, but each Spinel bring its own metaphysical healing properties: such as,

Red spinel - encourages physical vitality and strength.

Blue spinel - stimulates clear communication.

Orange spinel - stimulates creativity, intuition, and balances emotions.

Violet or purple spinel - stimulates spiritual development.

Pink spinel – is protective and calming.

Spinels were believed to be created from the blood of Christ that fell as he was crucified on the cross.

Spinel symbolizes perfect health, prosperity, life, and rebirth, marriage and fertility, offspring, regeneration, good luck and good fortune. It is a gem of happy omen; a protector of envious, destructive and evil forces. Spinels gives inspiring thoughts and purifies the imagination.

Spinels are to be put at each corner of the house if you want it to protect your home environment from calamity. The same thing can be done in your garden or cornfields and it will protect the harvest from storms and lightning, and thus give you a plentiful harvest.

The Spinel is also referred to as The Stone of Immortality. It boosts your vitality and stamina and allows you to overcome any health issues.

Spinels were known as The Perfect Health Stone, and it was used as a charm to be worn over the solar plexus.

It is a booster of energy, and it can help you to recover from a sickness and get you up on your feet quickly.

To clean your spinel simply hold it under running water and then sunbathe it for half an hour.

In 2016 Spinel was made an official birthstone for August and it is the traditional gemstone for the 22nd wedding anniversary.

Spinels can be found in India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan where perhaps the most ancient spinel mines are found.

The mines at Badakhshan near the Tajikstan border is thought to be the source of all the famous spinel found in the crown jewels of so many kingdoms throughout Europe and Asia. But it is from Myanmar and Tanzania that the finest samples of Spinels are found.

Spinels are also found in Australia, Russia and Vietnam.

The price of spinels has been increasing at auctions. Mr. Poindexer of Christie’s and Mr. Borruso of Sotheby’s both commented that the spinel is “the collector’s gemstone” and “a connoisseur’s stone.”