spinel, magnesium aluminum oxide, MgAl2O4, a mineral crystallizing in the isometric system, usually as octahedrons. It occurs as an accessory mineral in basic igneous rocks, in aluminum-rich metamorphic rocks, and in contact-metamorphosed limestones. Common spinel usually ranges in color from dark green to brown or black, but transparent red, blue, and green varieties are found and are used as gemstones; Myanmar and Sri Lanka are the principal producing countries. Much gem-quality spinel is now produced synthetically.
More on spinel from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Mineralogy and Crystallography