When it comes to precious stones of the crimson complexion, the choices are depressingly deficient. And if we wish to pursue a scarlet gem of significant size and beauty, the selection is reduced to just one – spinel. Unlike its more famous cousin ruby, spinel is regularly found in crimson hues that are so intense that they sear the eyes. How about the purity of its crystal? Again, it excels with a purity that is almost diamond-like. Finally, for those who believe size does matter, superb stones of sizes of five carats are often possible, with some tipping the scales above even 50 or a hundred carats. For this reason alone, royalty has always coveted spinel.
If you are someone who is content to live in search of the hereafter, then perhaps this gem is not for you. But if you want passion you can actually touch, taste and admire in this world, then look no further than spinel. RWH
Red spinel is colored by small amounts of chromium and has a phenomenon to take light of other colors and wing it back in the form of red “fluorescence”. Spinel (red and pink) and ruby are the only gems to display this property, something that caused the ancients to believe there was a fire burning inside the gem. Indeed, the word carbuncle means “glowing ember.”
A leap of faith
What does it take to get higher? Higher than anyone could possibly expect? Beyond the laws of nature? A scarlet robe, a vibrant nature, wild gestures.... and a leap of faith. This traditional Masaï “jumping dance” is a vivid illustration of the extraordinary spirit of the Mahenge Red Spinel, mined by these people themselves in Tanzania.
(This is a fragment of the chapter. Read the whole story in your new copy!)