Hey Steve –
Interesting…. just from the picture, that looks to me like beryllium treated corundum (sapphire). When they heat sapphire with Be, it reduces or eliminates any blue tones. This orangy-yellow hue looks almost exactly like most of the Be sapphires I’ve seen. Typically they take subtle/weak yellow or greenish-yellow gems, heat them with Be, and this is a typical result.
So my money is on it being a beryllium treated sapphire, not a spinel. Who is appraising/ID-ing it?
As an aside, I wrote about a case of mis-identification of sapphire as spinel pretty recently in this article. It’s a common mistake that, in that case, worked in my favor 🙂