You just saw a gorgeous antique cocktail ring with a giant red gem in the center. You fell in love with it and thought that it was perfect, especially considering the fact that you were born in July and that the ruby is your birthstone – but look again. Is that rock really a ruby or a spinel?
Spinels, just like rubies, are known for their bright red coloring – they were even referred to once as balas rubies, according to Gemstone.org. Today, most gem enthusiasts can spot the difference, so before purchasing a red gemstone, make sure that it's the piece that you wanted.
Ironically, the ruby alternates are far rarer than ruby itself but are still fairly less expensive. According to the news outlet, "being too rare can be a drawback because so few people even get the chance to develop a fondness for the varieties in question."
So if you're looking for something special in your antique jewelry, you might want to give spinel a chance.