A cheaper version of Ruby
Red spinel can look very similar to ruby and often looks even better because of its increased luster (light reflected from the surface of the gemstone) and brilliance (light reflected from the inside of the gemstone). Spinels are also much rarer than rubies, but amazingly, they cost a lot less.
However, the price of spinel is increasing as the demand continues to grow. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if spinel soon surpassed the price of ruby. Given their rising stats and generally better brilliance, I’d recommend a spinel to customers torn between the two.
One detail to note: the most beautiful red spinels usually have a touch of pink in them. So if you are looking for a deep dark red shade, a ruby is a better choice.
Too rare for mass production
It is fundamentally impossible to mass-produce spinels. The colors shift so much in different lighting conditions and the hues differ massively between the sources. This means that big box companies and malls cannot offer consistently high quality spinels because they cannot be bought in bulk.
So spinel is very special because you have to be small and local to find it. It’s a perfect stone for artisans, independent designers, and specialty retailers like Gem Breakfast.