When it comes to birthstones there are several options for different colors for almost every month, that is every month but August, even January’s garnet comes in every color but blue! (learn more here) Since the establishment of the birthstone list in 1912, the warm yellowish-green to olive-green peridot has been a mainstay for August. There are many who do not prefer the very limited color range that peridot has to offer and thus have resolved themselves to never owning a piece of jewelry containing their birthstone. Until now!
This year marks the official addition of spinel as an alternate birthstone for August. Jewelers of America (JA), the organization behind the original birthstone list, added spinel to August in collaboration with American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the authoritative source on natural colored gemstones.
Spinels enjoy a long and storied history. Some of the most famous historical gems (even some of the British crown jewels) that were originally thought to be rubies turned out to be spinel! (learn more here) Spinels tend to be more reflective and glittering than rubies, because of their different optical characteristics. Much like rubies and sapphires, they can be found in a wide assortment of colors.
Quick Facts about Spinel
- Spinel is a durable gemstone with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This is in reference to it’s resistance to scratching. Diamond is 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning only another diamond can scratch a diamond. Sapphires and Rubies are 9. It must be kept in mind that the Mohs scale is exponential, meaning the difference between 10 and 9 is massive, the jump from 9 down to 8 is not as big. With a value of 8, spinel can withstand common everyday wear without worry. However, long term, heavy everyday wear (i.e. never taking it off) will cause Spinel to show wear over time.
- Spinel is cut in many shapes and sizes. Colors range from orange to intense red or pink, and all shades between purple, blue and violet to bluish green.
- Spinel is a mineral that comes from Afghanistan, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
To celebrate the inauguration of spinel into the birthstone family, JA has a sweepstakes One winner will receive a pair of 18K gold and red spinel earrings from Carelle’s Stacked Collection, valued at $1,250. The sweepstakes is running at their website through August 19, 2016, at 12pm EDT. (sweepstakes rules are available on the contest page).
Facts and header image courtesy of Jewelers of America.