Four Famous Spinels
Although the world’s most famous spinels are named “rubies,” these gems are distinct species. Learn the stories behind four of these jewels.
7 Minute Read
The Black Prince’s Ruby
Most likely mined in Afghanistan, the spectacular 170-carat red stone that would become known as the Black Prince’s Ruby was what was known as a balas ruby. For centuries, people in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia classified these gems as a type of ruby but with some differences in properties and value. The French mineralogist Jean-Baptiste L. Romé de l’Isle scientifically distinguished spinels and rubies (corundum) as distinct mineral species in 1783. Since then, many “balas rubies” have been identified as spinels, including the Black Prince’s Ruby.
A Fatal Attraction
The first recorded…
International Gem Society
Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.
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