In the world of demand and sales, the notion of “rare” is automatically associated with the notion of “value”, or said otherwise, something unique and special that costs a lot of money. Precious stones are definitely setting the bar high when it comes to this matter, due to the simple fact that some of them are truly breathtaking and of course, incredibly rare. Today, we are especially excited to talk about the most expensive gemstones on the planet that have left an eternal hallmark on their auctions and have simply become, history. Stay tuned, because you will love what is coming next.
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A quick revision before the adventure begins:
- There are more than 4,000 minerals on the planet.
- Many of them are barely known by the world’s jewelry audience.
- Minerals are classified as “gemstones” based on their crystal structure, chemical composition, refraction and optical properties.
- Apart for classification, the degree of imperfection in a mineral can also significantly contribute to its overall value and price.
Now, let the countdown of the world’s rarest and most expensive gemstones begin!
❖ JEREMEJEVITE (estimated price: $2,000 per carat)
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If you have no idea what jeremejevite is, the mineral definition of it describes it as an aluminium borate mineral with associated fluoride and hydroxide ions. The discovery of the first jeremejevite gemstone took place in 1883, in the Adun-Chilon Mountains in Siberia. This gem is usually compared with quartz, due to their identical level of hardness that is rated 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. In jewelry craftsmanship, this is the ideal hardness a precious stone should possess to be perfect to work with. The most common color appearances of jeremejevite are cornflower blue, bluish-green and blue with yellowish-brown hues.
❖ FIRE OPAL (estimated price: $2,300 per carat)
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Fire opal is a vigorous gem with a waxy luster and a colorful background that is showcasing a remarkable fire-like hue ranging from yellow to red. This gemstone is not actually classified as “mineral”, but rather a “mineraloid”. It is because it does not have a crystal structure, which is one of the fundamental properties of minerals. Fire opal may or may not display the popular “play-of-color” effect that is generally described as flashes of spectral colors when the gem is exposed to light. The nature of the gem itself is to diffract light, which makes it dazzle in a variety of colors. When it comes to value, the criteria say that yellow-hued fire opals have the lowest value, while those with red hues are considered most valuable ones. The advantage of making jewelry with fire opal is that it can be carved into different shapes and adjusted for different jewelry styles.
❖ POUDRETTEITE (estimated price: $3,000 per carat)
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This is definitely one of the rarest gemstones the human eye has ever seen, discovered during the 1960’s in Mont St. Hilaire, Canada. It was found by the Poudrette family (operators of the Poudrette quarry), for which it was named after. Poudretteite is showcasing a tender, light pink color and it is rated 5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The most fascinating specimen of the poudretteite family that enjoys its reputation as one of the most expensive gemstones in the world is the 9.41-carat poudretteite gem found in 2000 in Mogok, Burma. Qualified as a fine poudretteite that is almost flawless in structure and appearance, it is also one of the largest faceted poudretteite gems in existence. Today, this renowned precious stone can be seen in the Smithsonian Institution, where it is known as the special gift offered by Frances Miller Seay.
❖ BENITOITE (estimated price: $4,000 per carat)
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Appreciated for its striking, vitreous luster, benitoite is a blue-colored barium titanium silicate mineral that occurs during the final cooling stage of a hydrothermally altered serpentinite. Its founder James Couch, is recognized in the world of gemology and mineralogy as the first person who discovered a deposit of benitoite near the San Benito County in California. Hence, the origins of this gemstone’s name. At first, benitoite was misindentified with sapphire, due to the similar velvet-blue color that both of these gems have. Once samples of both gems were sent to the University of California, the analysis confirmed that it is a question of two different minerals, which made the benitoite mineral stand on its own. Its most powerful characteristics are strong fluorescence and rich, blue color with noble flair.
❖ MUSGRAVITE (estimated price: $6,000 per carat)
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Musgravite is a limited oxide mineral mostly used as a gemstone. Its chemical composition includes the presence of aluminium oxide, magnesium, zinc and iron. It is also an exceptional member of the taaffeite family that was discovered in Musgrave Ranges, South Australia. The year of the discovery was 1967 and ever since, this precious gem has been a target of world’s most passionate, wealthy collectors. Musgravite is put on “The Most Expensive Gemstones In the World” list, due to the fact that by 2005, there had been only 8 samples of musgravite on the entire planet. Gemological reports say that the largest musgravite gem weighs 5.7 carats and believe it or not, one carat of it is estimated to be worth $6,000. In other words, its overall value would be $34,200, which is certainly not an everyday gemstone purchase, right?
❖ RED BERYL (estimated price: $10,000 per carat)
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Mined in Utah, or more precisely, in the Wah Wah Mountains in Beaver County, red beryl was first discovered in 1904. It was originally named “bixbite” in honor of Maynard Bixby, who is known as an acclaimed American miner and mineral collector in Utah. Red beryl is a special variety of beryl and it stays in a strong competition with two other beryl varieties: aquamarine and emerald. The authentic red color of this gem comes as a result of the manganese traces in its chemical composition. According to a research conducted by the Utah Geological Survey, the scarcity of red beryl is displayed with the following numbers: one red beryl specimen is discovered for every 150,000 diamonds. This rarity is justified by the fact that red beryl occurs only in certain geochemical conditions, where the beryllium mineral is present in large quantities. Some say that red beryl was brought to the Earth’s surface with a massive volcanic eruption that happened around 18 million years ago.
❖ ALEXANDRITE (estimated price: $12,000 per carat)
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“Emerald by day, ruby by night” is the label that makes alexandrite worldwide popular and definitely one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. Its native country is Russia, because the first alexandrite gem was found in the Russian Ural Mountains in the 1830’s. Other significant sources of alexandrite are Brazil, Sri Lanka and East Africa. Geologically, alexandrite is defined as a chrysoberyl variety and a gem-quality stone. It can be found in a spectrum of colors, but its most awe-inspiring exhibitions are emerald green and fiery red. The transformation of color happens when an alexandrite gem is exposed to different sources of light and when it is viewed from different angles. This phenomenon is also called “the alexandrite effect”. As for size and carat weight, the largest faceted alexandrite gem by far has been estimated to weigh 65.7 carats.
❖ DIAMOND (estimated price: $15,000 per carat)
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We all know it as “a girl’s best friend” that will never let her down in elegance, luster and value. Since forever, the diamond has been an honored member of the market’s most expensive gemstones, although it stands out of the crowd with its colorless, crystal-clear beauty that is so desirable to make a statement in outstanding jewelry creations. So, it is not a coincidence why it is the most preferred choice for a centerpiece of all types of jewelry, but mostly – engagement rings. A diamond is composed of carbon atoms arranged in a diamond lattice that bring the stone incredible grades of hardness and durability. The history of diamond is as long as the history of mankind, so there is definitely a lot to learn about these endlessly appealing, precious stones.
❖ SERENDIBITE (estimated price: $18,000 per carat)
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Serendibite is a boron-bearing mineral found in 1902 in Sri Lanka. It was named “serendibite” after the old name of Sri Lanka – Serendib. During the early 00’s, mineralogy experts claimed that there were only three samples of this gemstone, all mined in Sri Lanka. Two of them were discovered by D. P. Gunasekera and purchased by Prof. E. J. Gübelin of Switzerland. Back then, one carat of serendibite was sold at $14,000 and today, the price tag has slightly increased and it reached the amount of $18,000. Serendibite belongs to the triclinic crystal group and it can appear in blue, dark blue, gray blue, blue green, yellow and black color. Besides Sri Lanka, fine-quality serendibite gems treasured as some of the most expensive gemstones, are also mined in Tanzania and the United States. A recent serendibite discovery happened in Mogok, Myanmar.
❖ GRANDIDIERITE (estimated price: $20,000 per carat)
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This is another spectacular gem that fits in the group of “Top 10 Mineral Varieties On Earth”. For the first time, grandidierite was introduced to gemology in the early 20th century (1902), following its groundbreaking discovery in southern Madagascar. Alfred Lacroix, a renowned French mineralogist, is the name that officially stands behind this event. He named the mineral after another prominent explorer and naturalist - Alfred Grandidier. Usually, grandidierite is described as the gem that is so easy to fall in love with, but hard to find. Therefore, the few other places in the entire world that take pride in having grandidierite deposits are Sri Lanka, Namibia and Malawi. Seen from a gemological aspect, grandidierite represents a magnesium aluminum borosilicate. It is a relatively hard precious stone ranked 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale. Its typical color is bluish green, depending on the amount of iron in its chemical structure.
❖ TAAFFEITE (estimated price: $35,000 per carat)
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Now we are talking some serious numbers here, considering the fact that we are directing all of our attention and interest towards the most expensive gemstones in the world, which are also exceptionally rare and with one-of-a-kind properties. Named after Richard Taaffe, an Austrian gemologist responsible for the first cut and polished taaffeite sample, taaffeite is a dream come true of every jeweler and wearer. Its adorable violet hues that range from light to intense, are just perfect to create forever-to-be-remembered jewelry for the lady with inherent elegance. Taaffeite can also appear in greenish and colorless editions and it promotes a great hardness of 8-8.5 on the Mohs scale. Back in the day, taaffeite was frequently misidentified with spinel.
❖ RED DIAMOND (estimated price: $1,000,000 per carat)
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Unless you are a multimillionaire with a big appetite for rare and valuable gemstones, you could never feel the ultimate pleasure of owning a simple carat of red diamond. Many are the reasons why the red diamond is on the top of the list of most expensive gemstones; first and foremost, there have been only 30 red diamond samples ever found in history. Ironically but truly, for the first time the red color in this diamond is not seen as an impurity or a flaw, but a virtue instead. This color appearance occurs as a result of the deformation of the crystal lattice. Red diamonds are mined in Brazil, Africa and Australia, and the majority of them weigh half a carat. The red diamond looks breathtaking in candlelight and daylight, when its rich, ruby-like red color is emphasized the most. One of the most celebrated red diamonds in the world is the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red Diamond, fashioned in a triangular brilliant cut (popularly known as “trillion cut”). This enticing red-diamond discovery took place in the 1990’s in the Brazilian region Alto Paranaiba. The diamond in its rough form weighed incredible 13.9 carats and it was purchased and cut by the William Goldberg Diamond Corporation from NYC.
Written by: Liljana Tomova