Spinel is a stone composed of magnesium aluminum oxide, belonging to the spinel group of members. These precious gemstones are extremely rare and have ruby-like appearance; however, they are less expensive than rubies. Spinel appears in varying colors and its value is dependent on the color.


Spinels are usually found in low-silica plutonic rocks and metamorphosed limestones in combination with corundum. It is also found in the uppermost Earth’s mantle with peridotite. Large deposits of this stone are mined from Sri Lanka’s gemstone bearing gravel, Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, and Burma’s country Mogok.

It is also found in Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, Myanmar, Australia, Pakistan, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Cambodia, Sweden, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Madagascar.


The term spinel was derived from a Latin word for thorn and Greek word for spark. The name refers to the sharp edges of the gemstone and its sparkling color.

Before 1850, people used to consider ruby and spinels the same stone. Later, it was given a separate status based on its composition. This stone has been used as ruby in several royal jewels. The Imperial Crown of England contains a Black Prince’s Ruby that weighs 170 carats and Queen Elizabeth’s crown contains the Timur Ruby which weighs 350 carats. The amazing part about the Timur Ruby is that it is carved with the names of its past owners. It is said that these precious gemstones were mined in the Badakhshan mines.

Varieties of Spinel

Every color of the stone signifies particular properties. Here are the varying colors of spinel:

Red Spinel

The sparkling red color of this stone appears due to the presence of chromium. Red color symbolizes strength, energy, and vitality. This stone has the power to energize the root chakra, which is located between the spine and groin area.

Unbalanced root chakra leads to selfishness, restlessness, volatile emotions, and loss of interest in daily life. When root chakra stabilizes, you will feel energized and motivated. A balanced root chakra also promotes proper functioning of arterial blood, kidneys, adrenals, and muscles.

Several rubies were later discovered to be spinels as their color makes it impossible to distinguish the stones.