Spinel red. "Spinel blue." Doesn't quite capture the depth and richness of shade and tone like "ruby red" or "sapphire blue" do, right? Well, if your naked eye can tell the difference between spinel and ruby or sapphire, perhaps a lucrative career in the gemstone business awaits you. Merchants in the trade have confused these gem minerals for over a millennia, because the differences are so slight that one large spinel stone found itself mistaken for a ruby in the British Imperial State Crown and another for a ruby in one of Queen Victoria's necklaces. Spinel can occur in nearly identical shades of red and blue as ruby and sapphire, and it also comes from the same rocks in the exact same geographical locations as these precious gemstones. It's little wonder then that confusion has persisted for so long. However, spinel remains less hard, features different crystal shapes, and costs much less than ruby and sapphire do. To get the same rich color and luster of ruby and sapphire for a fraction of the price, shop for new spinel stones on eBay. Unless others want to inspect your jewels with a microscope, it?s likely that no one will know the difference.