Spinel is the great impostor of gemstone history - many famous rubies in crown jewels around the world are actually spinel. In Myanmar (Burma), where some of the most beautiful colors are mined, spinel was recognized as a separate gem species since 1600 but in other countries, the masquerade continued for hundreds of years. Historically, fine red spinels were esteemed as much as ruby, and sometimes even more. Next to ruby and the rare red diamond, spinel is the most expensive of all the red gems. The most outstanding spinel in size, color, and quality is from Myanmar (Burma). Other sources of gem spinel are Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Madagascar.