Transparent Mg-Al spinel ceramics of four different nonstoichiometries were obtained utilizing two-stage sintering technique of vacuum sintering and post hot isostatic pressing using MgO·nAl2O3 powders with n of 1, 1.3, 1.5 and 1.8, respectively, as raw materials. The mechanical properties of the ceramics were measured and indentation shapes and radial crack propagations were observed. The results showed that change of molar ratio of Al2O3 to MgO leads to variation of indentation shapes and crack propagations of the ceramics, resulting in the change of mechanical properties of the ceramics. The flexural strengths of the ceramics increase first then decrease with increasing n. However, the hardness and fracture toughness of the ceramics increase with increasing n. As a result, an optimal n for high performance ceramic is suggested to be 1.5. In addition, mechanisms of toughening and strengthening of the transparent ceramics have also been discussed.