by Hayley Pontia
If you were born in August and not in love with the stark yellow green birthstone Peridot, you’re in luck!
The American Gem Trade Association and Jewelers of America announced that spinel, which comes in a variety of colors, is now the second birthstone for August.
It is popular belief that birthstones have special properties relating directly to a person’s birth month. August, along with the months of March, June, October, November, and December, all are represented by multiple birthstones.
Spinel is more than just colorful. It also comes with an interesting history.
According to Doug Hucker, the CEO or the American Gem Trade Association, ancient gemstone merchants revered spinel, and it was widely sought after by royalty. It was known as ‘balas ruby,’ and it wasn’t until the late 18th century that we had the technology to distinguish spinel as a separate mineral from ruby according to Hucker.
Above is a spinel specimen from Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s collection in Pittsburgh.
Hayley Pontia is the marketing assistant at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Photo by Deb Wilson.