Red Spinel has a long history… Of making ruby famous. Until mid 19th century all red spinels were thought to be rubies and many were found among Royal Jewels.
Examples include such great stones as “Black Prince’s Ruby”– 170 carat gem, that was a part of the English history since the 14th century. It was worn by Henry V during his campaign in France and is currently mounted in the Imperial State Crown.
“Timur Ruby” a 361 carat red spinel, named after its first recorded owner. It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1851. It is mounted in a necklace as a part of Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Great red spinel, mounted on top of the Great Imperial Crown of Russia, weighing 398.72 carats. It was brought to Russia by Nicholas Spafary, Russian envoy to China from 1675 to 1678.
“The Samarian Spinel” at 500 carats is the largest spinel in the world. It was captured by Persian King Nader Shah during his conquest of India and is now a part of the Iranian State Jewels.
The mistake of not recognising Spinel as a separate gemstone is justified as it is coloured by the same chemical element as ruby. It is also often found in the same deposits. This made them hard to tell apart before science of gemmology became mature enough.
Today red spinels are still much cheaper than comparable rubies but the market is catching up and the prices are rising every year.