Saturday, September 20, 2008

Balas Ruby, Black Prince's Ruby and Timur Ruby

In ancient times red spinel was often known under the name "Balas Ruby", a name devised most probably from Balascia or Badakhshan in Northen India , where the the earliest gemstones came from. "Balas" could be also derived from Arabic word Balakhsh, which was itself derived from Balakhshan, as the early Arab gemologists knew that this gemstone was different from the ruby, while in the West, and until the 19th century, "Balas Ruby" referred to a variety of ruby that wasin fact a spinel.

Two famous spinels are in the English crown jewels - one is an oval gemstone in the Imperial State Crown and known as the "Black Prince's Ruby", and the other is 361ct gem known as the "Timur Ruby"on which are engraved the names and dates of all it's previous owners. These gemstones were thought to be rubies until 19th century. Other famous spinels are the spinels of the Wittelsbacher's crown of 1830, which were also thought to be rubies until recently

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