This story may make you go from green to red. If you were born in the month of August, you are most likely a Leo or (for those born after August 23), a Virgo. You have also been long accustomed to your birthstone being the light green Peridot. However, the Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) have just changed all that – announcing a newcomer birthstone for August: Spinel.
The two organizations have added spinel to the Official List of Birthstones that was first established by Jewelers of America in 1912. The spinel has not cast out Peridot altogether, it has just taken a top billing next to Peridot – leaving it to the consumer to choose.
Spinel is most frequently found in a ruby red or dark pink color, although there are other hues that range from mauve to lavender, pink, orange and pale blue or gray to deeper shades. It is highly brilliant when polished and is a relatively affordable gemstone.
Generally found in Burma Sri Lanka, Brazil, Thailand, Tanzania and a few other locations, the spinel was believed in ancient times to protect people from harm and to soothe away sadness. Centuries ago, the spinel was sometimes erroneously said to ruby because of its likeness in color. Such is the case with the Black Prince Ruby that is on the British Imperial State Crown. Most recently a rare 50.13-carat rose-hued spinel, the Hope Spinel, sold at auction for $1.4 million.