The Better Ruby

red spinel

"Carmine is the red of wine and is as warm and lively as wine"

- Vincent van Gogh

Red Aesthetic

Both primitive and refined, red is the color of ceremony and ritual, blood and fire, passion and luxury. A symbol of majesties and merchants, of cardinals and princes. It's a dramatic color and gesture that leaves a mark. A contradictory color too, that extends an invitation and warning at the same time.

In other word's the perfect color to wear on your night our or to be gifted on Valentine's Day 😏.

Since we're all about finding gems and jewels off the beaten track, let's not focus on the obvious red out there, the ruby (though beautiful). But instead put the spotlight on another red beauty, the spinel.

It was only about 150 years ago when spinel was first recognized as an independent mineral. Before that, they were mostly mistaken for rubies. 

Suddenly, famous 'rubies' were unravelled as hidden spinels, such as the Black Prince's Ruby in the English Crown, the Timur Ruby in a necklace of the Crown Jewels and the red stones in the Bavarian Crown of Wittelsbach all turned out to be red spinels. 

Red Spinel Mark Rothlo

Because of its historical mix-up with rubies, spinels didn't have a good reputation for a long time. Only later was the rare stone regarded as a remarkable ruby-substitute. And only recently has spinel really gotten the appreciation it deserves (though I lost track of the number of times I had to spell it out 😆). 

Spinels come in a variety of extraordinary colors, the most valuable being the red hues.

Today some of the best gem dealers prefer red spinel over ruby.


Because it's red (and red tends to be the most expensive, valuable color in the gemstone arena). It's rare. It's hard (no quick scratches due to your busy lifestyle). It offers all the red color tones, from cool crimson red to warm golden red. And it's more beautiful than ruby because it's usually cleaner with a more brilliant sparkle. 

Express yourself in sparkling red this Valentine's Day or as in Christian Dior's 1947 haute couture collections, "rouge éclatant" or "rouge satan" and wear red passion 😉.

And if you need some help on your gem or jewelry journey, feel free to contact me with any questions.

Good luck and Happy Valentine's!

Christian Dior Red

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