By Debbie Minshall, the Face of Holts:

I can’t remember how many years ago I fell in love with oval spinels. It could have been the brilliance that first attracted me, or the fact that mauve and pink are my favourite colours, and a lot of spinels are found in mauve and pink hues.

I later found out that red spinels are the most expensive, but for me I completely fell again when I saw an orange-red Mahenge spinel. It is the most amazing colour and when properly cut, nothing beats it in my opinion. There are very few in the world and I’m sure nothing much is coming out of that mine at present.

Out of the blue some years ago I was given a large red-mauve faceted stone. I was told: ‘you can have this glass for testing purposes’. I took the stone and believed it to be glass, but it seemed a bit too heavy, weighing over 28ct. to my surprise, after having it tested it turned out to be a spinel. It was included with natural crystals, so I assumed the person who had given it to me thought these inclusions were bubbles, characteristically found in glass. I told the person who had given it to me, and for a very small amount of money the stone became mine. I had it mounted in a ring, made by my friend Stuart, and treasure it over everything else I own in my jewellery box.