There are roughly 200 varieties of natural gemstone known in the world today. Alongside the world’s precious gems (diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald) are numerous semi-precious stones, some of which are so incredibly rare that their value outstrips many of the world's most valuable precious gems. Here are a few of the rarest from around the world.
Tanzanite is a beautiful blue variety of the mineral zoisite, and is so named because it is only found in a small area near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The stone was not discovered in commercial quantities until the 1960s and since then its popularity has grown tremendously, thanks largely to the efforts of Tiffany & Co. Heat-treating tanzanite at very high temperatures can improve the blue coloration, so most gems on the market have been treated in this way, but any tanzanite that has not been heat-treated and has a strong blue color naturally will be of a much higher value. Because it is only found in one small location, the value of tanzanite looks likely to soar over time; once those mines have been emptied there will be no new stones coming onto the market—unless a new source is found.
2. BLACK OPAL // THE DARKER THE BETTER
Opals are usually a creamy-white color and are made special by the rainbow-colored inclusions that reflect the light as the stone is moved. Black opals are much rarer, because almost all of them are found in mines in the Lightning Ridge area of New South Wales in Australia. The darker their background color and brighter the inclusions, the more valuable the stone. One of the most valuable black opals of all time is the "Aurora Australis," which was uncovered in Lightning Ridge in 1938. The 180-carat opal is especially admired due to its large size and intense harlequin coloration; in 2005 it was valued at AUS $1,000,000, or about $763,000 U.S.
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Larimar is a very rare blue variety of the mineral pectolite and is found in only one small area of the Dominican Republic. This turquoise stone’s name was created by the man who brought the stone to prominence in 1974, Miguel Méndez—he took the first part of his daughter’s name, Larissa, and combined it with the Spanish word for sea, mar, to create the portmanteau larimar. Locals had known of the existence of the stone for generations, because small examples had washed up on the seashore, but it was not until the 1970s that sufficient quantities were found in the ground to open a mine.
4. PARAIBA TOURMALINE // NEON LUSTER
Tourmalines are common in many colors across Brazil, but the Paraiba tourmalines are the only stones with a bright turquoise hue, thanks to their copper content. The very rare gems were discovered in 1987 by determined miner Heitor Dimas Barbosa, who had been driven by a belief that something special lurked under the hills of the Brazilian state of Paraiba. Barbosa was right, and after years of fruitless digging, he finally unearthed a tourmaline of unrivaled neon blue that set the gem market alight. The extremely rare stone (only one stone is mined for every 10,000 diamonds) then became intensely sought-after. In 2003 very similar turquoise-colored tourmalines were found at mines in the mountains of Nigeria and Mozambique, although some say they are not quite as striking as the Paraiba tourmaline.
Grandiderite was first described in 1902 by French mineralogist Alfred Lacroix, who found it in Madagascar and named it in honor of the French explorer Alfred Grandidier, an expert on Madagascan natural history. This extremely rare blue-green mineral has been found in a number of places around the world, but so far only Madagascar and Sri Lanka have produced any gem-quality stones, and these are still extremely scant. The majority of the known stones are translucent, but the most rare, and therefore most valuable, example ever found was transparent. In fact, the stone was initially assumed to be another rare gem, serendibite, because grandiderite of that color and transparency had yet to be seen. The gem was only identified as grandiderite after expert analysis and was subsequently sold for an undisclosed sum. It’s safe to assume that if a gem of similar quality were to be unearthed, its scarcity alone would ensure it fetched an extremely high price.
6. ALEXANDRITE // COLOR-SHIFTING GEM
The amazing color-changing stone alexandrite was discovered in 1830 in the Ural Mountains in Russia and named after Russian tsar Alexander II. A variety of chrysoberyl, the stone’s remarkable color-shifting capability makes it especially sought-after: In sunlight the stone looks blue-green, but under incandescent light it becomes red-purple. The degree of color change varies from stone to stone, with some only showing marginal change, but the most valuable are clear stones that demonstrate complete color change.
Although some large examples of the stone have been found (the Smithsonian houses the world’s largest known cut sample of alexandrite at 65.08 carats), the majority are under one carat. This means that the value of a gem under a carat may only be $15,000, but a stone larger than one carat might fetch as much as $70,000 per carat.
Benitoite is only mined in one small area of California, near the San Benito River (hence the name), but the mine closed for commercial mining in 2006, making this gemstone yet more scarce. The gem was first identified around 1907 by geologist George Louderback and has a deep-blue color that shows especially interesting qualities when caught under UV light, when it glows fluorescent. The gem was named the official state gemstone of California in 1985 in recognition of the fact that, despite it being found in trace quantities in Arkansas as well as Japan and Australia, California is the only place where it can feasibly be mined. Due to the rarity of discovering a good quality benitoite of a reasonable size, it can fetch huge prices on the open market—a well-cut benitoite stone at over 2 carats can fetch more than $10,000 a carat.
8. PAINITE // ONCE THE WORLD’S RAREST GEM
Rob Lavinsky via Wikimedia //CC BY-SA 3.0
Painite was first discovered by British gemologist Arthur Charles Davy Pain in 1951 and recognized as a new mineral in 1957. For many years only one specimen of the dark red crystal was in existence, housed at the British Museum in London, making it the world’s rarest gemstone. Later on other specimens were discovered, although by 2004 there were still fewer than two dozen known painite gems. However, in recent years a couple of mines in Myanmar have begun to produce some painite, and there are now said to be over 1000 stones known. The scarcity of this gem has made it extremely valuable and just one carat can fetch more than $60,000.
Red beryl, also known as bixbite or red emerald, is so rare it is estimated by the Utah Geological Survey that a single such gem is uncovered for every 150,000 gem-quality diamonds. Pure beryl is colorless and only gains its bright hues from impurities in the rock: chromium and vanadium give beryl a green color resulting in an emerald; iron provides a blue or yellow tint creating aquamarine and golden beryl; and manganese adds the deep-red color to create red beryl. Red beryl is only found in Utah, New Mexico, and Mexico, and the majority of examples found are just a few millimeters in length, too small to be cut and faceted for use. Those that have been cut are generally less than a carat in weight, and a red beryl of 2 or 3 carats would be considered exceptional.
10. TAAFFEITE // DISCOVERED BY CHANCE
Austrian-Irish gemologist Count Edward Charles Richard Taaffe bought a box of cut stones from a jeweler in Dublin in the 1940s, thinking he had purchased a collection of spinels. But on closer inspection, he noted that one of the pale mauve gems was not reacting to the light in the same way as the rest of the spinels, so he sent it off to be analyzed. The results revealed that he had discovered a hitherto unknown gemstone—a serendipitous but frustrating situation, since he had discovered a cut gem and had no idea where the mineral naturally occurred. Fortunately, once the new stone had been announced, many other collectors re-examined their own spinel collections and a number of other samples were uncovered. Finally the source of the stone was tracked down to Sri Lanka, although a handful have also been found in Tanzania and China. It is thought that less than 50 examples of taaffeite exist—many of which are housed in geological and private collections, making this gemstone so rare the ordinary public are unlikely to ever encounter it.
Painite : Not just the rarest gemstone, but also the rarest mineral on earth, Painite holds the Guinness World Record for it. After its discovery in the year 1951, there existed only 2 specimens of Painite for the next many decades. By the year 2004, there were less than 2 dozens known gemstones.What is the number 1 rarest gem in the world? ›
Painite : Not just the rarest gemstone, but also the rarest mineral on earth, Painite holds the Guinness World Record for it. After its discovery in the year 1951, there existed only 2 specimens of Painite for the next many decades. By the year 2004, there were less than 2 dozens known gemstones.What are the most rarest gems on earth? ›
- Tanzanite. Tanzanite is only found in a very small area in Tanzania. ...
- Black Opal. Precious opal in itself is rare. ...
- Taaffeite. Taaffeite is a gemstone with an interesting history. ...
- Poudretteite. ...
- Larimar. ...
- Alexandrite. ...
- Benitoite. ...
- Paraiba tourmaline.
Rare gemstones are minerals that are usually found in one or two locations in the world. They are: poudretteite, paraiba tourmaline, taaffeite, tanzanite, laurentthomasite, red beryl (bixbite), benitoite, alexandrite, musgravite, painite, grandidierite, jeremejevite, pezzottaite.What is the 2 most expensive gem? ›
2. Pink Diamond – $1.2 million per carat. The second most expensive natural gemstone on this list is a pink diamond. Pink diamonds, like red diamonds, are classified as fancy-colored diamonds.What is the most exotic gem? ›
The mineral or gemstone chrysoberyl is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. Despite the similarity of their names, chrysoberyl and beryl are two completely different gemstones, although they both contain beryllium.What is the hardest gem to get? ›
You may know that diamond, with a hardness of 10, is the hardest material in the gem world.What is the rarest expensive gem? ›
Once called bixbite, red beryl is one of the rarest and most desirable gems. With good wearability, this gem can make an excellent jewelry stone — if you can find one! Gem-quality red beryl occurs only in Utah's Wah Wah mountains, and most specimens are kept by mineral collectors and never faceted.What gem is rarer than diamond? ›
Tanzanite. Tanzanite is a shocking 1000 times more rare than a diamond. Discovered for the first time in 1967 and only found in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, these gemstones go for about $1,500 per carat. Tanzanite has the ability to change color depending on the angle of light it is in.What is the most cursed gem? ›
The Hope Diamond
Arguably the most famous and most cursed precious gemstone in history, this 45.52-carat sparkler has a long and storied past. The Hope Diamond has been blamed for a laundry list of tragedies, including but not limited to: beatings, stabbings, murder, insanity, and suicide.
The twelve sacred gemstones of Revelations are Jasper, Sapphire, Chalcedony, Emerald, Sardonyx, Sardius, Chrysolite, Beryl, Topaz, Chrysoprasus, Jacinth, and Amethyst. Many also believe that there is a clear association between the twelve apostles and the twelve gems from the walls of Jerusalem.What is the queen of all gemstones? ›
Opal: The Queen of Gemstones.What is the number 1 gem? ›
The gemstone for number 1 is Garnet and it symbolises courage and strength.What are the four rare gemstones? ›
The four most sought-after precious gemstones are diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies.What gem is more expensive than gold? ›
Platinum. There are four precious metals used in jewelry: platinum, gold, silver, and palladium. Of the four, platinum is often the most expensive and definitely the most exclusive. It's 30 times rarer than gold and used in a purer form.What is the most valuable thing in the world? ›
International Space Station: $150 Billion
The most expensive thing in the world is related to the Universe and it is the International Space Station. The amount which has gone towards its existence in terms of building and designing is $150 billion.
Purple Sapphire have a high saturation level and are often considered the most valuable of all the sapphire colors. Purple sapphire is a rare and valuable gemstone. It is usually colorless or has a faint purple hues. Purple sapphire is considered to be a high-quality gemstone because of its rarity and its beauty.What gem is unbreakable? ›
Diamond – The Sheer Stunner
Possessing the highest shine of all transparent gemstones, diamond is the hardest material on earth that can only be scratched with another diamond. Its name comes from the ancient Greek adámas meaning “unbreakable”.
Perhaps the rarest gemstone is tanzanite. Found only in a small region of Northern Tanzania, it was first discovered in 1967. This blue variety of zoisite could be depleted within decades. It can appear violet or even green-yellow or brown depending on the angle you look at it from.What's the softest stone? ›
A stone's Mohs rating provides a measure of its scratch resistance to other minerals. Diamond is known to be the hardest and can scratch any other stone. Talc is the softest. Reference minerals in between include gypsum, calcite, fluorite, apatite, orthoclase feldspar, quartz, topaz, and corundum.
Moissanite's fire exceeds that of diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, as well as other popular gemstones. As a scientific measurement, moissanite's dispersion is 0.104, which means it has 2.4 times the fire of a diamond.What is the most expensive crystal? ›
1. Blue Diamond – $3.93 million per carat. Blue diamond is a type of diamond which exhibits all of the mineral 's inherent properties except with the stone's additional element of blue colour. They are colored blue by trace amounts of boron which contaminate the structure of the crystalline lattice.What is the largest gemstone in the world? ›
The Cullinan Diamond is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, weighing 3,106 carats (621.20 g), discovered at the Premier No.2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It was named after Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine.Is Moldavite rare? ›
An olive to bottle-green natural glass, moldavite is a rare material popular with collectors of unusual gems as well as those interested in its formation from a meteorite impact.Which is rarer ruby or emerald? ›
Ruby: Untreated natural rubies are extremely rare. They are actually significantly rarer than sapphires, which is why they are even more expensive. Emerald: Like sapphires and rubies, emeralds are among the rarest of all gemstones. They are rarer than sapphires but not quite as rare as rubies.What is 1000 times rarer than diamonds? ›
Described as 'a geological phenomenon', tanzanite is 1,000 times more rare than diamonds. Tanzanite jewellery is extremely valuable and coveted, both for the gem's rarity, as well as its beauty.What is 1000x rarer than diamond? ›
Tanzanite. Geography aficionados may have already guessed that tanzanite was named after Tanzania, its country of origin. Legend has it this beautiful gem is about 1,000 times rarer than diamond.Where are black diamonds found? ›
The term carbonado was coined by the Portuguese in Brazil in the mid-18th century; it's derived from its visual similarity to porous charcoal. Black diamonds are found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic.What is the easiest gemstone to find? ›
Quartz is one of the materials that is the least difficult to locate. Many kinds of quartz make gemstones, including amethyst, agate, carnelian, and citrine.Which gemstone is mysterious? ›
The Blue Diamond — A Source of Mystery
The Blue Diamond is the only precious stone whose current whereabouts are unknown — and whose existence has even been questioned.
Needless to say, if you were born in February, you should feel pretty special. February babies have the rarest birthstone of all. Diamond (April) is the rarest birthstone in a total of six states, while topaz (November) is the rarest birthstone in Montana, Wyoming, and Rhode Island.What is the most precious stone in heaven? ›
Jasper is the most commonly seen gemstone in heaven; according to John, the walls were made from this material. Often remembered as a prominent gemstone in ancient tribes, there are supposedly many forms of jasper in heaven. The gates to enter heaven are made of a giant pearl, thus quite valuable.What is the gem of the gods? ›
Amethyst is a member of the quartz family and February's birthstone.What are the 12 jewels in the Bible? ›
In the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, a different gemstone is listed for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. They are, in the 1st row, carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald; in the 2nd row, turquoise, sapphire, and amethyst; in the 3rd row, jacinth, agate, and crystal; in the 4th row, beryl, lapis lazuli, and jasper.What gem does not lose value? ›
Sapphires. Blue sapphires are the standard but pink and yellow colored sapphires are rising in popularity. A sapphire without any visible inclusions or chips can hold its price indefinitely. Pristine sapphires can easily reach $11,000 per carat.What is the cheapest stone that looks like a diamond? ›
Moissanite gemstones are one of the most affordable diamond alternatives. While characteristics like color, shape, and size can largely impact the price point of moissanites, a 1 ct. or 6.5mm equivalent can range from around $400 – $1,000.What is the king of all gems? ›
Ruby is the July birthstone – and it's one of the most coveted of gems. Called the “King of Gems” since it gained status in Ancient India, today it can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone.Which gem is the king of gems? ›
The birthstone of July, and the “King of Gemstones”, Ruby certainly is a popular gem choice among a vast collection. As we look at a glorious red ruby, one word pops in mind – Love. Yet, the Ruby is representative of many things along with love.What is the stone of royalty? ›
For centuries, Sapphire has been the blue gemstone associated with royalty and romance.What is rare lucky gem? ›
The Rare Lucky Gem is a gem stone used for Manual Hunting in the OwO Bot. It is a Rare tier gem and its purpose is to increase your chance of finding gem pets during manual hunting.
"Peridot confirmed as the weakest gem in Steven Universe (and the most self conscious)" by kayydotts | Steven Universe.What are the big five gemstones? ›
The Big Five gemstones are Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, and Tanzanite.What are the big three gemstones? ›
These 3 precious gemstones are referred to as the 'big 3' and remain the most sought-after gemstones in the world due to their hardness, rarity and beauty. Ruby, Emerald, Sapphires and Diamond are the only gemstones categorised as 'precious gemstones'. All others were referred to as 'semi-precious'.What are the 8 gems? ›
"Top quality and flawless ruby is the gem for the Sun, natural pearl for the Moon, red coral for Mars, emerald for Mercury, yellow sapphire for Jupiter, diamond for Venus, blue sapphire for Saturn, hessonite for Rahu (ascending lunar node), and cat's eye for Ketu (descending lunar node)."How much is a painite gem worth? ›
The price of painite averages an eye-watering $50,000 to $60,000 per carat. This high price is due to how rare painite is. While it doesn't reach the value of the most expensive rubies, it's still an exceptionally valuable gem.What is the king of all gemstones? ›
The birthstone of July, and the “King of Gemstones”, Ruby certainly is a popular gem choice among a vast collection. As we look at a glorious red ruby, one word pops in mind – Love. Yet, the Ruby is representative of many things along with love.What are the top 4 gems? ›
Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are known as the "Big Four" gemstones.Who owns painite? ›
It is owned by Dion and his family, as stated by the Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery (IIGJ). Painite was named after British mineralogist Arthur CD Pain, the first to discover it in the 1950s in Myanmar.What's the rarest ore in the world? ›
The rarest mineral on Earth is kyawthuite. Only one crystal, found in the Mogok region of Myanmar, is known to exist. Caltech's mineral database(opens in new tab) describes it as a small (1.61-karat) deep orange gemstone that the International Mineralogical Association(opens in new tab) officially recognized in 2015.Has anyone found painite? ›
The first painite specimen, a single crystal, was identified as a new gem species in 1957. Until 2001, only two more crystals were found. Since then, more painites have been discovered. Over a thousand crystals and fragments have now been recovered, but most of this material isn't facetable.
Tanzanite is rarer than diamonds.
This is due to the fact that it is only found in one very small area of the world. The gemstone was created millions of years ago by the same tectonic shift that created Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley of Tanzania.
Aben-Esra and Abarbanel translate yhlm as "diamond"; but yhlm was demonstrated above to be beryl. Diamond is made up of pure carbon, mostly of a white transparent colour, but sometimes tinted. White diamond is often regarded as the most precious because of its beauty and rarity.What is the most prized ruby? ›
The Sunrise Ruby is the world's most expensive ruby, most expensive coloured gemstone, and most expensive gemstone other than a diamond.What is the rarest sapphire color? ›
What is the rarest sapphire color? The two rarest sapphire colors are Padparadscha and cornflower blue. The most prized sapphires are Kashmir sapphires of a bright, velvety blue from the mountains in India. The last Kashmir sapphire was mined in 1927.