New York--Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association announced Wednesday that they are adding spinel to the official list of birthstones. It will join the yellow-green gemstone peridot as a birthstone for the month of August.
The new birthstone will launch to consumers in July through a public relations and marketing campaign led by JA.
“At certain moments in history, when there is a strong call from gem enthusiasts to expand the list of official birthstones, Jewelers of America believes in recognizing the importance of historically significant gemstones and giving gemstone lovers a choice that suits their preferences,” JA President and CEO David Bonaparte said.
This is the third update to the modern birthstone list since it was officially created in 1912 by the American National Retail Jewelers Association, now known as JA.
It was updated in 1952 to add alexandrite, citrine, tourmaline and zircon as birthstones and again in 2002 when tanzanite was added as a birthstone for December.
AGTA CEO Doug Hucker said, “Ancient gemstone merchants revered spinel, and it was widely sought after by royalty. It was then known as ‘balas ruby.’ It wasn’t until the late 18th century that we developed the technology acumen necessary to distinguish spinel as a separate mineral from ruby. We are very excited to announce it as the newest member of the official birthstone list.”
Examples of notable spinel in history are a 170-carat red spinel, known as the “Black Prince Ruby,” that is set in the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels, and a 398-carat red spinel that sits atop the Imperial Crown of Russia commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1763.
For more information about spinel’s launch as an August birthstone, visit the Jewelers of America website in the coming months.