Red Spinel vs Ruby: Which is Better?

Red Spinel vs Ruby: Which is Better?

You’re at the right place if you want to know the difference between red spinel and rubies. Read on.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about these two red gemstones along with answering some frequently asked questions about them including:

  • Is red spinel rarer than ruby?
  • Can I Get an Engagement Ring with a Ruby Spinel?
  • Is red spinel rarer than ruby?

Let’s delve in, shall we?

Red Spinel Vs Rubies – Sexy Scarlet Stones

Key Differences between Red Spinel and Rubies

  • A ruby is a precious stone, but a red spinel is classified as semi-precious.
  • On the Mohs scale, a ruby has a scratch resistance value of 9, but a red spinel has a grade of 7.5-8.
  • A high-quality ruby gem is more common than a high-quality red spinel, which is quite rare.
  • A high-quality ruby cost more per carat than a high-quality spinel.

Origin – Red Spinel Vs Rubies

Red Spinel

One of the first known gemstones, spinel has been used by ancient civilizations. Rubies and red spinel are frequently confused. So much so that some of the most renowned and ancient royal crown jewels in the world—such as the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Timur Ruby crown jewels—were actually spinel.

Red spinel is one of the sought-after and expensive colors of spinel, which may be found in a wide range of hues. Alluvial deposits frequently contain ruby red spinel. You can find then in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Red Spinel has been around since time immemorial. However, most people tend to confuse it for a ruby which made its popularity dwindle up until the 19th century.


The red variant of the mineral corundum is known as ruby. Save for red, all of the colors of corundum, are usually known as sapphires. You can say without fear of contradiction that rubies and sapphires belong to the same class of minerals and share similar characteristics.

Varieties of Corundum

Ruby is one of the four valuable stones used in jewelry pieces. Diamond, emerald, and sapphire make up the other three gemstones. While there are several locations where red corundum can be discovered, high-quality rubies with greater carat sizes can only be found outside of the United States in areas like China, Thailand, Myanmar, Greenland, India, Mozambique and Sri Lanka.

Appearance – Red Spinel Vs Rubies

Red spinel is obviously red. Pigeon’s blood ruby red or reddish-purple undertones are thought to characterize the top red spinel color. Spinel is an allochromatic gemstone, meaning that the chromium traces that enter the colorless spinel crystals give it a range of colors.

Colorless spinel is quite uncommon and usually regarded as a collector’s item, which is quite the opposite of the majority of allochromatic gemstones.

Red Spinel with Pink Secondary Hues
Deep Red Spinel on Calcite Matrix

You can enhance the hue of the spinel crystal basing on the amount of the chromium present in it. Red spinel come in different hues other than ruby red. These can be orangey red hues, brownish red gemstones that resemble garnets, or purplish red stones. Mahenge spinel, which is a reddish pink color gem with little to no secondary yellow colors, is equally valued.

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Light can easily flow through and refract back to the wearer since the crystal structure of spinel stones is singly refractive, Some gems, such as moissanite or cubic zirconia, may exhibit double refraction. If a gemstone has a high refractive index, double refraction could make it appear fuzzy or extremely dazzling.

The majority of red spinel gemstones usually have eye-clean clarity. For this reason, you notice that they are free of all kinds of natural contaminants. However, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they won’t have any at all. Under a magnifying glass, you’ll notice some imperfections in the red gemstone.

Since it’s one of the most sought-after colors of spinel, red spinel should be devoid of any natural inclusions if they are to be more valuable.

Imitations and Synthetics

The gem industry sells synthetic spinel as well. The flame fusion method used to manufacture lab-grown sapphires and rubies is also used to create red spinel stones. If you’re not a gemologist, it might be very challenging to tell the two gemstones apart. However, it totally makes sense since synthesized spinel shares the same chemical makeup, physical characteristics, and optical characteristics as natural spinel.

Rubies can be imitated with red spinel. At a relatively lower cost, it achieves different hues that are nearly identical to those of fine color rubies. Other red gemstones like red garnets, red colored glass, and cubic zirconia can equally simulate red spinel.

Due to the widespread production of mass-produced synthetic spinel for class rings and cheaper birthstone jewelry, spinel frequently acquires a reputation as a phony gemstone.


Pigeon’s blood rubies are the most valuable. The best rubies, traditionally known as Burma rubies, are said to come from Myanmar. The most sought-after rubies are usually those from Burma, but because of problems with the country’s ruby trade, jewelers now buy pigeon blood rubies from Mozambique.


There are different secondary colors in rubies including brown, pink, or purple. Similar colors can also be seen in red spinel. They’ve been confused for one another throughout history because of several factors, including their color.

Transparent rubies are the greatest, but it might be challenging to find one for a reasonable price. Several jewelers will sell opaque faceted natural rubies for more money, but these stones are of poor quality.

Imitations and Synthetics

Less expensive gemstones like a red garnet or a red spinel frequently approximate rubies in appearance. Rhodolite garnet, pyrope garnet, and even almandine garnets are just a few of the garnet varieties that can mimic varied ruby hues. What’s more, glass and cubic zirconia can be faceted to resemble red rubies.

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The most common imitations of rubies, however, are not actually copies. Market prices for synthetic rubies are inexpensive, particularly when the jewelry is set in sterling silver.

Synthetic Ruby


Natural Ruby



What’s Black Prince’s Ruby Crown Jewels?

The Black Prince’s Ruby is arguably the most well-known instance of a red spinel being mistaken for a ruby. The Imperial State Crown of the British royal jewels contain a big red stone that measures 170 carats.

Black Prince’s “Ruby”

One of the most renowned ruby stones to be recorded in history, this magnificent red gemstone has a long history, dating back to the 1300s. The issue is that nobody was aware that the Black Prince’s Ruby wasn’t really a ruby. Gemologists didn’t understand it was a huge red spinel and not the July birthstone until the 1700s.

Price – Red Spinel Vs Ruby

Secondary colors present in red spinel or rubies might impact its cost and worth. A ruby hue is used to define the top red in a red spinel. Pigeon’s blood red is a common name for the best-looking color of rubies in the market.

Natural Ruby from Mozambique


Natural Ruby from Burma


In the past, scientists were unable to distinguish between these two gemstones. However, gemologists can now easily tell the two apart. Red spinel stones are less common than top color red rubies, despite the fact that top color red rubies are more common.

The rarest and most expensive colored spinel are red and blue. In fact, other spinel stones are relatively economical. Red spinel gemstones of the highest quality, however, can cost as much per carat as high-quality diamonds. Though not all do.

Red Spinel Crystals

The price per carat for high quality hue red spinels between .5 and 1 carat can range from 2,000 to 500 per carat. The price range for gemstones is rather large, however it depends on a variety of things.

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Value – Red Spinel Vs Ruby

The cut is less important for colored gemstones like rubies and red spinel than the carat or hue. Also, the lucidity or clarity is valued more highly. Yet, if a colorful stone is regarded as uncommon, both color and carat account for the majority of the price.

In addition to rarity and price per carat, you should consider how your stones will hold up if worn frequently. The kind of jewelry you use to put your red gemstone might also affect how long it will survive.

People believe that a good product will live forever if it is made well. Jewelry, however, doesn’t function in the same way. The settings for the jewels are also composed of earth-mined natural minerals. To make the soft metals stronger and more long-lasting for protecting stones, they are combined with other metals.

The wearability of a gemstone depends on a variety of elements. Overall durability is influenced by hardness, gemstone cleavage, and different types of fracturing.

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The red type of corundum, which rates a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, is known as ruby. The hardness grade reveals a gemstone’s resistance to scratches from dust and dirt particles in the air. In actuality, corundum is regarded as having the best overall durability of all stones and diamonds are no exception. Unlike many transparent diamonds, they usually don’t split along the cleavage planes.

Purplish Red Spinel ring

A red spinel gem has a hardness rating of 7.5-8. For a while, it will resist dust and dirt in the air, but after years of use, especially in wedding ring jewelry, it will eventually scratch. You can occasionally wear rings and more frequently opt for red spinel earrings or necklaces if you want to keep your red spinel jewelry well-kept.


Ask the Imperial State Crown Jewels for proof that ruby and red spinel are both easily confused for one another. Both of these red gemstones are desirable, whether you prefer pigeon’s blood rubies or a deep red spinel.

While being less rare, a high-quality ruby is significantly more expensive than a premium grade red spinel. As a viable gemstone alternative for diamonds, rubies are regarded as one of the best colored gemstones for every day wear. What’s more, it has a greater Mohs hardness rating and lacks gemstone cleavage.

Red spinel has a lower hardness rating and has the ability to cleave. If hit hard enough, it is more likely to be scratched or chipped.

Regardless matter why you prefer one red gemstone over the other, they are both deserving of a place in your jewelry collection.

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