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.
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.”
Sometimes a gem communicates itself to the viewer on an emotional level uniquely its own. Thus it is with this particular color blend which seems to bring an increased impression of clarity and complexity to the dominant red, evoking a different feeling about it in contrast to the classic pigeon blood of ruby and that of red spinel. Even in smaller sizes, this gem’s temperature draws one into its depths and evokes an intense emotional association.