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Behind the Birthstone: Spinel for August

Originating from the Greek word spinos, for spark, and Latin word “spina”, August’s alternative birthstone can be found in almost every color of the rainbow. In ancient times, spinel was believed to clarify thoughts and creative ideas. It was also said to lend the body energy and help improve physical appearance and vitality. Both Leos and Virgos can find a selection of pink spinel jewelry to add to their birthday wishlist from Borsheims. To help celebrate this birthstone, we’ve rounded up a few fun facts below.
  • Spinel was named August’s alternative birthstone in 2016, and it is sometimes used to commemorate a 22nd wedding anniversary.
  • This gemstone is associated with rubies in most of the areas it is mined, leading to misidentification when it appears in some jewelry.
  • Sometimes referred to as balas rubies in ancient times, the name may have referred to their country of origin, either Badakshan in Afghanistan or the Balaksh region of Sri Lanka.
  • Many famous rubies in crown jewels are in fact spinel. One of the more fascinating instances of this is the Timur ruby which is a red spinel weighing 361 carats, that is cut in cabochon and named after Tamerlain, the Tartar conqueror, who was one of its owners.
  • Another notable example is the Black Prince’s Ruby, a centerpiece of the British Imperial State Crown, which was only recently confirmed to be a spinel.
  • Red and orange spinel owes its color to chromium, to manganese for the violet-hued spinel and to iron for the blue variety. There is also a black variety found in Thailand and Australia.
  • This alternative gemstone is mined around the world, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • It is an extremely durable gemstone, coming in at an 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • These gemstones contain fewer inclusions than rubies and have greater fire and brilliance.
  • Large stones are very rare; ten carat sized Burmese spinel gems are practically nonexistent. Most of the Burmese stones is under 2 carats, but there are some larger gemstones from Tanzania.

Find the perfect present below — sure to put a smile on any August babies’ face.