Spinel gemstones are highly regarded in the gem trade by most professionals, but to the average consumer, it is still largely unknown. Since the supply of spinel is so limited, you'll rarely find spinel in local retail jewelry stores. Gem collectors value spinel for its sheer brilliance and excellent hardness, and it's favored for its wide occurance of colors. In addition to rich reds, spinel can be found in a range of lovely pastel colors, including shades of pink, purple and blue.
Historically, the most famous red spinels originated from the Balas region of Afghanistan and were thus referred to as 'Balas rubies', but as of more more recent times, Sri Lanka and Burma have been the leading sources for fine spinel. The highest quality spinels are transparent, blood-red spinels, known as ‘ruby spinels’, as well as hot-pink spinel, which are mined from the Mogok mines of Myanmar (Burma).
Burma Spinel today is considered to be some of the finest in the world, often fetching prices higher than ruby, especially large, clean red and pink Burmese spinel. And best of all, spinel is never treated in any way unlike red ruby and pink sapphire which are routinely heated to enhance their color and clarity.