Red Spinel

The Great Imposter

What are some rare photos of raw, rough and uncut gemstones?

This is rough spinel from a new deposit in Mozambique. Vivid red is considered to be the most expensive color for spinel and faceted stones over 3 carat in weight are always a rarity.

Before the advent of modern gemological techniques, red spinels and rubies were confused for hundreds of years. In fact, many famous rubies in crown jewels around the world are actually spinels. Spinel is a magnesium aluminum oxide that crystallizes in the cubic system while ruby is an aluminum oxide that crystallizes hexagonally. In ancient times, red spinel was often known under the name "Balas Ruby", a name devised most probably from Badakhshan (or Balascia) province in northern Afghanistan, where the earliest gemstones came from.