Because spinels made in a laboratory are often used for imitation birthstone rings, many people think ‘synthetic’ when they hear the name spinel. In fact, the main factor preventing the spinel from achieving greater recognition is its rarity. Fine spinels are now rarer than the rubies they used to imitate. Strangely, they are also more affordable: in the gem world, being too rare can be a drawback because so few people even get a chance to develop a fondness for the varieties in question.
In addition to Myanmar, spinel is mined in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Tadzhikistan (part of the former Soviet Union). Spinel is a durable gemstone that is perfect for all jewelry uses. It is most often faceted in oval, round, or cushion shapes and is not currently found in calibrated sizes due to its rarity.