Everyone knows diamonds are a girl’s best friend for their beauty and purported rarity, however we also know that their supposed scarcity as a mineral is somewhat false (its supply on the market is what’s limited). So what are the truly most rare gems on the planet? Find out in today’s Top Ten Tuesday!
10. Jeremejevite – ~$2,000 per carat
This very rare gemstone of the Borate Class was first discovered in 1883 on Mt. Soktui in Siberia by Russian mineralogist Pavel Jeremejev, after whom it was named. The best quality stones are found in the Erongo Region in Namibia but other deposits have also been found in Pantahole Mine near Momeik, Myanmar (Burma) and a deposit near the Tadjik town of Chorugh (Khorog). Jeremejevite can be colourless, yellowish and light blue to slightly purplish blue.
9. Black Opal – ~$2,355 per carat
Next time you go Down Under, be sure to check out their opal. Australia produces 97% of all the world’s opal, with the remaining 3% found in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia and, as announced by NASA in 2008, on planet Mars. However, almost all black opal is found in the Australian town of Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. Trace elements carbon and iron oxide give black opal its super dark body tone, allowing for the rainbow of colors to radiate much brighter than opals of lighter or milky body tones. This vibrant “play of color” and the stone’s rareness give reason for black opals’ high value.
8. Red Beryl – ~$10,000 per carat
Just like a ruby is really a red sapphire, the red beryl is also known as a “red emerald”. This incredibly rare gem, also referred to as “bixbite,” has only been found in a handful places in the US: Wah Wah Mountains, Utah; Paramount Canyon and Round Mountain, New Mexico; and Thomas Range, Utah. With colors ranging from rose pink to deep red, very few specimens that are found are large enough or of decent quality to be used in jewelry.
7. Musgravite – ~$35,000 per carat
Another rare wonder from Down Under, Musgravite derives its name from the Musgrave Range in South Australia, where it was first discovered in 1967. Limited qualities have been found in Greenland, Madagascar, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, but only eight specimens are known to be of facet grade quality as of 2005. Its colors range from light olive green, grey, mauve, grey purple and scores an 8 on the Mohs scale, making it one of the hardest stones on earth.
6. Grandidierite – ~$50,000
As is the case with all obscure and extremely rare stones, grandidierite was named in honor of its discoverer, French naturalist and explorer Alfred Grandidier. Mostly found in Madagascar, this bluish green stone is trichroic, transmitting blue, green and white light. The largest clean faceted specimen weighs a miniscule 0.29 carats and is the only one known to date. How incredibly rare!
5. Painite – $50,000 to $60,000 per carat
Once thought to be the world’s rarest gem, Painite still remains scarce but not as much so. Prior to finding a significant deposit in the Mogok area of Burma in 2001 (which also produced a 55 carat stone), there were only three known specimens of Painite. The rare borate mineral, found only in northern Myanmar, ranges in color from red to brownish to orange-red and scores an 8 on the Mohs scale.
Found in almost every color of the rainbow including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink and colorless, the blue garnet remains the most rare and most fascinating. It was discovered only recently in the 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar and other deposits have been found in the US, Russia and Turkey. What makes the blue garnet that much more beautiful is its color changing property, which is due to high amounts of the metal vanadium. In daylight, the gem is a soft blue-green but changes to a vivid purple under incandescent light. The most expensive blue garnet, at 4.2 carats, sold for $6.8 million in 2003.
3. Serendibite – $1.8 to $2 million per carat
For almost 100 years, only three known faceted specimens of serendibite existed and those were all from the first ever discovery of the gem at Gangapitiya, near Ambakotte, Sri Lanka in 1902. Then, in 2005 at the gemstone-rich Mogok region of Myanmar, additional deposits of the supremely rare mineral were discovered. The cyan colored stone, whose name comes from the old Arabic name, “Serendib,” for Sri Lanka (Ceylon), can thank the unusual combination of calcium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, boron and oxygen for its extreme rareness.
2. Red Diamonds – ~$2 million per carat
Though all colored diamonds are incredibly rare, none are more so than the red diamond. Less than 20 exist today and most weigh less than half a carat, however there are three that weigh over 5 carats with the biggest being the Moussaieff Red (5.11 carats). Notably, the Argyle Mine in Australia produces a small number of red diamonds each year. In 1987, the Hancock Red (0.95 carats), the first high quality red diamond at auction, sold for $926,000 per carat. Twenty years later that record would fall when a rare 2.26 carat purplish-red diamond sold for $2.6 million, or about $1.15 million a carat, at Christie’s in Geneva.
1. Jadeite – $3 million + per carat
Winning the title of rarest precious stone is jadeite. While not to be confused with jade, a term used to refer to both jadeite and nephrite, only jadeite retains value as a rare gem. With the best gem quality jadeite found in Myanmar (Upper Burma), other lesser quality sources include Guatemala, Russia, Kazakhstan, Japan and California. Jadeite’s value is judged by the combination of the intensity of green color and high degree of transparency. At Christie’s in 1997, a jadeite necklace called the “Doubly Fortunate” set the highest price for a piece of jadeite jewelry sold at auction, selling for $9.3 million.