Saturday, 27 February 2021

Royal Spinel - Balas Ruby

Spinel is the magnesium aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl2O4. Balas ruby is an old name for a rose-tinted variety.

After the 18th century the word ruby was only used for the red gem variety of the mineral corundum and the word spinel became used. "Balas" is derived from Balascia, the ancient name for Badakhshan. For centuries it was the main source for red and pink spinel.

Cartier Royal ring, platinum, 20.02 carat emerald-cut pink spinel, onyx, brilliants.
Spinel is most famous for its deep red variety that closely resembles ruby. The two gemstones can be very difficult to distinguish. Until the late 19th century, there was no distinction made between ruby and red spinel, as they look identical and are found in the same localities. Many famous old "rubies" were discovered to be spinel.

Mining in Afghanistan has a history over 2,000 years. Afghanistan's ruby/spinel mines were mentioned in the writings of many early travelers. The Badakhshan mines were of great importance during the period from 1000–1900 AD. They were the source of many of the finest early red spinels in gem collections around the world.
The crown jewels of Iran, the collection in Istanbul's Topkapi, Russia's Diamond Fund, and England's Tower of London all contain fine spinel.
Black Prince Ruby

The Hope spinel sold for a record £962,500 in late 2015

Imperial Mughal necklace sold in 2011 for $5,214,348
Samarian Spinel - 500 carats, largest known
Pink and Purple Spinel Ring