Nature

8 of the World's Rarest Gemstones

December 15, 2015 | Joanne Kennell

The Hope Diamond, the largest of all blue diamonds, 45.52 carats.
Photo credit: Smithsonian Institute

Can you afford these gemstones? Probably not.

Humans have worn jewelry throughout history, but the material of the jewelry has changed through the generations.  Jewelry was first made from stones, animal skins, feathers, plants, bones, shells and wood, and later developed into valuable gemstones set in silver and gold.

Although the material of jewelry has changed through time, the reason for wearing jewelry has remained the same — to display wealth, rank, affiliations and/or affections.

Gemstones form over millions of years, and the value of a gemstone depends on factors including rarity, quality, and setting.  Here is a list of some of the most insanely expensive stones ordered from least to most expensive:

Tanzanite

A purple gemstone
photo credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

Tanzanite is a beautiful blue-purple stone that can only be found in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and is expected to be completely mined out within 20–30 years — making it even more valuable.

Value: $600–$1000 per carat

 

Black Opal

A smooth round stone that appears to glow with multi-colored bursts of light inside
photo credit: Daniel Mekis/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Black opal is the rarest opal in the world, and it is only available from the Lightning Ridge mine in New South Wales.  They are dark gemstones with patches of colors that look like fire.

Value: $2300 per carat

 

Red Beryl

An uncut piece of red gemstone
photo credit: Rob Lavinsky/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Red Beryl can only be found in Utah and New Mexico and is 1,000 times more valuable than gold.

Value: $10,000 per carat

 

Musgravite

A cut gemstone that is transparent and deep gray
photo credit: DonGuennie/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This rare stone is found in extremely small quantities in Australia, Greenland, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Tanzania.  It ranges from a brilliant shade of greenish gray to purple.

Value: $35,000 per carat.

 

Painite

A dull brown, uncut stone. Many imperfections
photo credit: Strickja/Wikimedia

Painite is an unusual brown stone that is one of the planet’s rarest.  There are only two specimens of this gem known to exist, making it more or less “priceless.”

Value: $50,000–$60,000 per carat.

 

Pink Star Diamond

A pink diamond set in a silver ring
photo credit: Jason Armstrong/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Pink Star Diamond (not shown) is a beautiful, vivid pink diamond that was mined in 1999 in South Africa.  It weighs 59.6 carats and sold for a record $83 million.

Value: $1.4 million per carat

 

Blue Moon Diamond

A blue diamond
photo credit: Fancy Diamonds/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This Blue Moon Diamond (not shown) was discovered in South Africa in 2014.  It weighs 12.03 carats and was declared to be internally flawless.  It was purchased in November 2015 by a Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau for $48 million for his seven-year-old daughter.

Value: $1.8 million per carat

 

Red Diamonds

a square diamond, deep red
photo credit: Fancy Diamonds/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Red diamonds are caused by a structural defect, making them the rarest of all colored diamonds.  There are only a handful given the grade of “Fancy Red,” meaning they are pure red with no modifying color.  Australia’s Argyle mine is the primary producer of pink and red diamonds.

Value: $2.5 million per carat

I think I will stick with the less rare gemstones.

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