Spinel forms in a wide variety of colors: black, blue, red, violet, green, brown, pink, white and colorless, and is most famous for its brilliant red variety that closely resembles ruby. Spinel was named in 1779 by Jean Demeste from the latin "spinella", or little thorn, due to its sharp octahedral crystals. In ancient times, exceptional large spinel crystals were mined in Southeast Asia, frequently becoming the treasured property of kings and emperors. In the United States, Spinel was recently added as an August birthstone, sharing this month with peridot and sardonyx.
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