Gems are one of the most beautiful gifts Mother Nature has to offer us. I mean, do you realize that we’re able to find shiny, multi-colored rocks that are worth more than me, you and the population of a small village together? We all know about the veterans of the gemstone market: diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, so on and so on. However, there are some that you probably haven’t even heard of, which is mostly due to the fact that they are incredibly rare. It would probably literally take the population of a small village to get in contact with one. When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean it in the “honestly, you need to sell a whole country to be able to afford one of those” way, but also in the “there are so few specimens out there that we won’t need many people to mine them” way. Sad, isn’t it? Maybe for the stones, but the people who are fortunate enough to stumble upon a rare reserve, and smart enough to also get to sell a crystal, can make the deal of their life. So, to bring to light some of the perhaps lesser known precious stones of our world, we’ve compiled a list with the 10 Rarest Gemstones On Earth.
The only place in the world where you can find this gemstone is in Tanzania, where it got its name from, around Mount Kilimanjaro. After it was discovered in 1967, it was temporarily proclaimed the best gemstone of the 20th century. They have all the reasons to do it: its color scheme is a unique combination of brilliant blue with tints of purple around the edges. Fortunately, curtsy to the fact that ninety percent of the tanzanite merchants are members of the Colored Gemstone Association, it’s only traded via official means and to the biggest jewellers from every corner of the world.
This gemstone, which is pronounced “tar-fite” contrary to popular belief, manages to be a really strong competitor for the title of the rarest gemstone in the world. Since its initial discovery in 1945 by gemologist Richard Taafe, only a few more pieces have been found. Taaffeite comes in a variety of hues, ranging from essentially colorless, to shades of brownish violet, lavender or blueish.
3. Black Opal
You’ve obviously heard of opals before, but what about black opals, the rarest and most valuable of their kind? Considered to be the national gemstone of Australia, they can only be found in the Lightning Ridge mine from New South Wales. What truly makes a black opal stunning is the contrast between the dark color of the body and the “fire” of the stone, which creates an eye catching play of colors on its surface.
California’s own national gemstone, benitoite can be found in the only commercial mine in the world in San Benito Country. It was first discovered in 1907, and it’s widely appreciated for its color, which is a mix of blue and purple, though it allegedly glows in a shade of chalky blue under a UV light. Benitoite can also be sold in jewelry, but given its rarity, I think it’s safe to say that purchasing one isn’t exactly in everyone’s budget.
5. Red Beryl
Red beryl is a member of the beryl family along with the more generally known emerald, which is why it’s often referred to as the “scarlet emerald.” Bixbite, as it’s also called, was discovered in the early 20th century, and so far the only places where it can be found are in Utah and New Mexico, with the former hosting the only commercial red beryl mine in the Wah Wah Mountains.
Considered to be the rarest of all colored gemstones, alexandrite even went through a time when it was thought to be extinct, because of the exhaustion of the Ural Mountains mines that were at the time the only sources. It’s famed for its fascinating ability to change colors depending on the light cast upon it, being able to shift from green to red. After new reserves have been found in places like Brazil and Sri Lanka, alexandrite re-entered the markets and it’s deemed as more valuable than emeralds, sapphires and rubies.
Jadeite is one of the component minerals of jade, along with nephrite, though it can fortunately be found in a solid form of itself too. In fact, jadeite is countless times more valuable than its better known semi-precious stone, being hunted and desired for its translucent, raw green color. The best example of its value was exhibited in 1997, when a woman sold a jadeite necklace for no less than ten million dollars.
If you thought taaffeite was a rare gemstone, meet its even more limited and scarcer cousin, musgravite. For many years, the only resources could be found in South Australia, with more surfacing only recently, in places such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Greenland and Antarctica. Even with the increase in mines, musgravite remains one of the rarest gemstones on Earth.
Since painite was first discovered in a Myanmar mine in 1950, only twenty-five crystals had been been found until 2005, when more sources have been discovered and explored. In fact, for decades, there were only two cut specimens in the world, so I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it was as priceless as it gets. Today, it’s one of the rarest gemstones in the world and one of the most expensive.
10. Pink Star Diamond
A list about expensive and famed gemstones wouldn’t be complete without our old buddy, the diamond, would it? It’s rare and it’s a diamond, so it doesn’t come off as a shock that it also set a record. In 2013, an auctioned specimen was purchased by diamond cutter Isaac Wolf for the overwhelming price of $83 million, more than any other diamond or gemstone ever sold. Later, it was also Wolf who chose to rename the pink star as “The Pink Dream.”
Can you imagine accidentally discovering a reserve for one of these 10 Rarest Gemstones On Earth? As much as it pains me to say it, I’d rather not have that happen to me, since I’d probably not know the difference between chalk on a rock and a layer of precious crystals. Sad emoji.