You have a choice for August birthstones… which will it be?

Photo courtesy of Luis Miguel Howard

Photo courtesy of Luis Miguel Howard

     In ancient times, people believed gemstones had amazing powers such as luck, health and prosperity.  Certain gemstones became associated with each month, called birthstones, and had special meanings and historical significance.  Over time, these changed and today’s list differs from those of ancient times.  Most months only have a single birthstone, but some months have multiple birthstones.  The months that have more than one birthstone are June, AUGUST, October, November and December.


     As described in a previous blog post, peridot is an August birthstone.  Another gemstone for August is spinel.  However, most people are not as familiar with it.  Spinel comes in a range of different colors -orange to vivid red, vibrant pink, and shades of blue, violet, and purple.  The most desirable colors are red, blue and pink.  Some red spinel color can rival the vivid red of a ruby!  Some historical gemstones which were thought to be ruby have proved to be red spinel. The famous Black Prince Ruby is actually one of the world's largest red spinels. With an irregular cabochon cut, it weighs 170 carats and is set into the Imperial State Crown of England. Spinel deserves to be recognized as a gemstone that is worthy of appreciation in its own right. 


Gemstones are rated on the Mohs hardness scale making certain stones better for everyday wear than others.  Spinel is a durable stone, rating 8 on the Mohs scale, making it a great choice for jewelry. When I taught gemology students about spinel, one of the first inclusions I had them look for is the octahedral crystal… exciting discoveries for them!  

The picture shown is the inside of a spinel seen in my microscope at 40x.  It is an octahedral crystal which looks like two pyramids with their bases touching.  This is a diagnostic inclusion that helps a gemologist, along with other factors, identify a gemstone as being natural spinel.  Spinel’s characteristic crystal shape is also a octahedron and these well-formed crystals are highly sought after by collectors.  Inclusions can add to the character of the stones.

So there you have it!  If you were not a fan of peridot as your August birthstone, you have now been introduced to another amazing August birthstone ~ beautiful spinel! 

Let’s START your design with spinel! 



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