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The Red Spinel
The red spinel shares the title of August birthstone along with the peridot. The name spinel derives from the Latin ‘spina’ for ‘thorn’ because of its pointed features, and the Greek word for ‘spark’ due to its brilliance.
A Brief History
Oftentimes referred to as the ‘balas ruby’, the gemstone originated in Badakshan, an ancient region of what is now north-eastern Afghanistan, eastern Tajikistan, and the Tashkurgan portion of China. Since it looks so much like a ruby, the red spinel earned the moniker of “the imposter gem” and was erroneously incorporated into several royal jewelry collections.
Some of what were once thought to be the most illustrious rubies on record have turned out to be red spinel. Case in point: The 175 carat “Black Prince’s Ruby,” was initially owned by a string of Moorish and Spanish kings prior to coming into the possession of Edward, Prince of Wales (aka, the Black Prince). He became the stone’s recipient in 1367 when Peter of Castile gave it to the prince for his victory in battle. Today, it is on display at the Tower of London and beautifully set in the Imperial State Crown.
Another legend tells us that a spinel worn in the battle helmet of Henry V saved his life when an axe aimed at his head landed on the spinel instead. Henry V was a lucky man, indeed.
When we are born, each of the elements of the universe are aligned in particular configurations. Since everything is connected, (as it is above so it is below) the stars and planets are situated in ways that will have both positive and negative influences on our lives.
Integral in these constellations and formations is a distinctive set of stimuli and characteristics. As humans we have free will, therefore, we can choose to go with the flow and roll with the punches throughout our lifetimes, or we can learn to understand the stimuli and how it operates, and then try to appropriately adjust our reactions to them.
In short, we have a choice: either accept it, or change it.
Our birthstones have been with us since Day One. They understand us, know what makes us tick, and are aware of our individual aspirations. As such, our birthstones can be like a lucky charm or talisman for us, should we decide to carry our birthstone in our purse or pocket, or wear it as a piece of jewelry. They also have the ability to clear negative karma we may have accumulated from past transmigrations, thus allowing us an easier, more pleasant experience in life this time around.
What the Red Spinel Birthstone Means for You
Like other red gemstones, the red spinel was employed as a remedy for excessive blood loss and inflammation. It was also used to diffuse anger and foster peace and harmony. The spinel is a soothing gem that is believed to foster courage and help its wearers face their challenges with grace. It is also used for stress-relief and is believed to help people who suffer from low self-esteem. Though spinel comes in an array of colors, it is the red spinel that is the rarest and consequently, the most precious.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, the spinel is an 8 which means it is strong enough from which to craft fine jewelry. While spinel can handle exposure to light and chemicals without fading, intense heat can cause instability in certain colors of this stone. In addition to being the second August birthstone, red spinel is traditionally gifted on the 16th wedding anniversary.