Most of the spinels of a “ruby-red colour” are produced from alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and other countries. Other countries where spinel is mined include: Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Australia, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Tanzania. While August’s newly designated official birthstone is widely recognized in its deep red variety, spinel is also available in a wide range of colours. Pure spinel is colourless, but impurities give rise to a spectrum of choices, from peach, pink and red to green, blue and purple.
Sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum as are the equally famous and valuable Rubies. Rubies make up the red side of the family while Sapphires are all the other colors – the famous blue as well as pink, green, purple, orange and yellow. There are also black and colorless Sapphires. The traditional blue sapphire represents loyalty, wisdom, truth, sincerity and faithfulness both in religious matters and in personal relationships. Sri Lanka is the oldest known source of sapphires along with India and Burma (now called Myanmar). As of 2007, Madagascar has been leading the world in sapphire production, though Sri Lanka continues to be the only steady producer of fine quality blue sapphire. Sapphire is the birthstone of September.