What is the top 1 gemstone?
What are the differences between precious and semi-precious stones?
Precious stones are distinguished by their quality, their rarity and the beauty of their colours. There are only four precious stones: diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald . All other stones are therefore called semi-precious stones.
This distinction is also due to their hardness, which translates into scratch resistance. One stone is harder than another if the former can scratch the latter. Only a diamond can scratch another diamond. However, it can still crack in the event of a major shock.
Hardness is measured on the Mohs scale that ranks minerals on a scale of 1 to 10. Diamond (10/10), ruby (9/10), sapphire (9/10) and emerald (7.5-8/10) are considered the hardest.
Nevertheless, all stones remain fragile and require the utmost care.
But what are the characteristics and peculiarities of the four precious stones?
Sapphire is usually blue but there are many other colours that depend on the chemical composition of the stone: yellows, oranges, greens, etc.
They are found mainly in Burma, Sri Lanka and Madagascar but also in India, China, Brazil, Thailand and some African countries.
Ruby is distinguished by its red tones, which can go through a gradient from pink to purple, to slightly brown. The most sought-after, and rarest, is undoubtedly the bright red colour. Ruby often has a secondary colour. However, the more pronounced these are (purple or orange) the lower the value of the ruby.
The rubies in greatest demand, for their dense colour, come mainly from Burma and Mozambique which alone account for 60% and 40% respectively of world production. Other countries such as Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Madagascar are also renowned for the brilliance and exceptional purity of their rubies.
Emerald is green in colour and can vary from pale green to deep green. More sensitive to shocks than other precious stones, it is generally mounted in emerald cut to limit the risks during setting. Emeralds are usually small in size. The larger ones are very rare and can be up to 20 times more valuable than a diamond of the same size. Today, the most beautiful emeralds come from deposits in Colombia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Brazil.
The white diamond is the best known of all. However, it has an incredible palette of colours. There are almost as many shades of white as there are letters in the alphabet (D being the most flawless and Z the richest in yellow highlights). In addition to its white shades, the diamond has many more or less unusual shades.
The rarest is the red diamond, of which there are very few. Blue, green, pink and orange diamonds are also rare. Then there are the yellow and colourless (so-called white) diamonds. These wonderful stones can be found in mines in India, South Africa, Canada, Russia and Brazil.
The 4Cs are the international standards used to accurately assess the quality and value of the precious gem. These criteria are Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat (weight).
On the one hand, the term «precious stones» does not necessarily reflect value, as they can sometimes be less expensive than some semi-precious stones.
Thus, a tsavorite green garnet may be more expensive than a medium-quality sapphire. Many semi-precious stones are rarer than precious stones.
The term «semi-precious stones» does not mean that they are less beautiful than precious stones. The best known of these are amethyst, topaz, peridot, citrine, aquamarine or green tourmaline. The range of semi-precious stones offers an infinite palette of colours and shades that is much wider than all the colours of the precious stones put together. It is always better to use a beautiful aquamarine rather than a poor-quality sapphire.
So, how should one choose?
Professionals have certainly classified gems for many centuries. Several criteria are taken into account such as hardness, colour, size, purity and rarity. However, the perceived beauty of a stone is very personal and unique to each individual. The choice of stone must be made according to one’s own sensitivity to what it emanates. After all, what better criterion than the choice of the heart? Because what should shine most, when the stone is revealed, are your eyes.
9 Most Expensive Gemstones In The World
The 9 most expensive gemstones in the world have been coveted for their beauty, rarity, and value as status symbols for decades, if not for centuries or millennia. Translucent, opaque, clear, or colorful, the most valuable stones are at their best when expertly cut and used in jewelry of the most exquisite craftsmanship.
Unearth the world’s most valuable gemstones below. Find out what they are, how much they sell for per carat, where they come from, and why they’re so expensive.
A blue diamond known as the Oppenheimer Blue holds the record for the highest price per carat, even though the Pink Star diamond is the most expensive jewel ever sold. The Oppenheimer Blue’s $57.5 million selling price breaks down to $3.93 million per carat.
Trace amounts of boron give blue diamonds their characteristic color – and it’s that color that classes the stones among what are known as ‘fancy color diamonds’. The stones range in grade from flawless to included. The world’s most expensive gemstones are mined in South Africa, India, and Australia.
Jadeite is one of the minerals usually marketed as jade, a stone that has been valued in China, New Zealand, Mesoamerica, and other regions for thousands of years. A monoclinic pyroxene mineral, jadeite is vivid green, dense, and has a Mohs scale hardness of 6.5 to 7.0.
One of the most expensive gems in the world, the best quality jadeite can sell for as much as $3 million per carat. The stone grabbed headlines in 2014 when the Hutton-Mdivani jadeite necklace sold for $27.44 million at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction. The necklace, which includes 27 large beads, went to the original designer, Cartier.
Amber Stone: Meanings, Properties, Facts and More
The rarity and gorgeous color of pink diamonds are two of the reasons they are among the world’s most expensive gemstones. The stones are found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Siberia, South Africa, and Tanzania. Despite being mined in several locations, these pink gems are so rare, they account for only 0.0001% of the world’s diamonds.
The only flawless specimen of those most valuable gemstones is the 59.60-carat Pink Star, which sold for an incredible $71.2 million at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction in 2017. The price breaks down to $1.19 million per carat. Pink diamonds have featured in popular culture in various ways over the years:
- Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) received a 23.6-carat stone set into a brooch as a gift in 1947
- The original 1963 Pink Panther movie takes its title from a fictitious pink diamond
- Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring in 2002
- In February 2021, American rapper Lil Uzi Vert had a 10-11 carat pink diamond implanted in his forehead
Rarer than the blue and pink family members, red diamonds have the same mineral properties as the far more common colorless stones. The exact source of their color is unknown, although some gemologists think it is caused by atoms that glide within the stone’s structure while it is being formed deep within the earth.
The fourth most expensive gems are mined in Australia, Brazil, Russia, and a few African countries. The largest specimen ever found was the Moussaieff Red Diamond. Discovered by a Brazilian miner, the rough stone measured 13.9 carats. The cut stone measures 5.11 carats and is worth an estimated $20 million. Red diamonds usually sell for approximately $1 million per carat.
Shungite: Meanings, Properties, Facts and More
A type of beryl, emerald is one of the world’s most famous green stones. The verdant hue is caused by trace amounts of chromium and vanadium. In addition to the stunning color, the stone also is numbered among the most expensive gemstones because of its hardness, which is at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.
The luxurious gems are found in Afghanistan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, and other countries. The largest flawless emerald in the world is the Rockefeller Emerald, which sold for $5.5 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017. The price breaks down to $305,000 per carat.
In 1975, mood rings first appeared on the market and delighted children and teenagers with their ability to change color in response to body temperature. One of the world’s most expensive gemstones, alexandrite is like a mood ring for the fabulously wealthy.
Temperature and light can cause alexandrite to appear green, pink, or raspberry red. The stones are a variety of chrysoberyl. They are found mostly in Russia, but they’re also mined in India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
The largest specimen is the Whitney alexandrite, a 65.08-carat stone valued at more than $4 million in the Smithsonian Institute. Alexandrite usually sells for approximately $70,000 per carat.
Formally known as magnesiotaaffeite-6N’3S, musgravite is a rare oxide mineral mined at the Ernabella Mission in South Australia’s Musgrave Ranges. The mineral was discovered in 1967, and it has been prized as one of the most valuable gemstones ever since.
The color of musgravite ranges from green to grey-green. The hardness measures between 8 and 8.5 on the Mohs scale. The rarity of the stone sees it fetch prices of as much as $35,000 per carat.
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Discovered in 1904, red beryl is found in a few locations including Utah’s Wah Wah Mountains and Juab County, as well as New Mexico’s Paramount Canyon and Round Mountain. The richly colored stone once was known as red or scarlet emerald and as “bixbite.”
Red beryl’s position among the most expensive gems is not due to its color or hardness (7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale). The stone’s also valuable because of its rarity: a single red beryl is mined for every 150,000 diamonds. Red beryl sells for as much as $10,000 per carat.
When most people think of opals, there’s a good chance they think of the milky stones shot through with what look like slivers of rainbow light. Or the fire opals that take their name from their blazing appearance. Black opals, however, have a dark body that acts as a backdrop for their splendid colors. Among the most expensive gemstones in the world, they are mined almost exclusively at Australia’s Lightning Ridge. They can sell for as much as $9,500 per carat.
The most precious example of black opals is the Royal One:
- Discovered in 1999 by a miner known as Bobby
- The Royal One measures 306-carats
- Bobby kept the stone under his mattress for 12 years
- The famous black opal is valued at $3 million
- The Earth’s Treasures
The world’s most expensive gems look as though they belong in the glittering halls of fairyland, but, like many other gemstones and minerals, they are wrested from deep within the earth. They really are buried treasure. Have you found your favourite one?
Chermaine Chee February 16, 2023
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The 10 Rarest Gemstones In The World
Gemstones were one of the first resources humans learned how to use. In modern days gemstones have been incorporated into many industries. They are used not only as decorations and in jewellery, but in construction, medicine and watchmaking. As we all know, the Earth’s crust is full of minerals, each more rare and valuable than the next. Though you might be familiar with the most common ones such as quartz, diamonds and sapphires, below we have listed the 10 rarest gemstones in the world. The list contains both minerals that are only mined in very limited areas and others that have less than 100 specimens discovered. Take the time to discover these gemstones which are all unique in their own way.
Tanzanite is only found in a very small area in Tanzania. The gemstone is incredibly rare and highly valued in the jewellery industry. The name of the crystal was given to it by Tiffany & Co. after they decided that its scientific name wasn’t marketable enough. Tanzanite is a blue/violet variety of zoisite. The mineral is trichroic, meaning it appears to be a different colour in different lighting. In order for tanzanite to get its much sought-after colour, the gem needs to be heat-treated.
These stud earrings are a fantastic example of tanzanite jewellery. The gemstone has a classic pear cut. The cut is specifically chosen in order to highlight the brilliance of the Tanzanite. The stone is surrounded by a halo of diamonds, that only accentuate its shine. The backing of the studs is made of 9-carat white gold.
Precious opal in itself is rare. The mineral is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Opal has a high water content so in its raw form, it needs to be kept submerged in water, as it can dry out and lose its iridescence. Opal comes in many different colours, from milky white to black. Black opal is the rarest amongst its kind. It’s characterized by its dark background colour, though in a natural black opal you should still be able to see the colourful iridescent flakes, which pop against the background.
Though black opal is the rarest of the opals, if you would still like to wear this gorgeous gemstone at an affordable price, we suggest this white opal jewellery piece from Elements Gold. The gemstone is set in the middle of the pendant, surrounded by a cluster of small diamonds. Due to the way the diamonds are set, the pendant has an appealing rounded rectangular shape. The pendant also features a polished twist bale. The backing of the piece is made of 9-carat yellow gold.
Taaffeite is a gemstone with an interesting history. It became the first and only gemstone ever to be identified from an already cut and polished stone. In 1945 Richard Taaffe bought some gemstones from a jeweller and upon discovering inconsistencies between one of the gemstones with the other spinels, he sent the gem for identification. Taaffeite was discovered to be an intermediate stone between spinel and chrysoberyl. Since, the gemstone has primarily been found in Sri Lanka and Tanzania, as well as in parts of China. Only less than 50 samples have ever been found of this incredibly rare gemstone.
Another stone deserving to be on our list of the 10 rarest gemstones in the world is Poudretteite. Poudretteite is a faded pink crystal. Incredibly small fragments were found in Quebec, Canada in the 1960s. The gemstone was named after the Poudrette family which owned the mine where the stone was found. Poudretteite and Taaffeite are tied for, world’s rarest gemstone, as Poudretteite also has less than 50 specimens found.
Larimar is a mineral rock only found in the Dominican Republic. The crystal has a beautiful blue colour, reminiscent of the Caribbean sea. The colour of the stone varies from white to dark blue. The gemstone is a variety of pectolite. Though the crystal is soft, with a hardness of 4.5 to 5 on the Mohs scale, locally it is often sold set into jewellery. The colour of the stone is photosensitive, similarly to amethyst, and if exposed to sunlight for too long it could begin fading.
Alexandrite is a variety of the chrysoberyl mineral. Chrysoberyls have a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale making them suitable choices for use in jewellery. Alexandrite stands out with its colour-changing properties, which depend on the nature of the ambient lighting. The most sought-after stones present a bluish-green colour in daylight and a deep pink to red in incandescent light. Due to these properties, gemstone quality alexandrite is extremely difficult to find. The gemstone is most commonly found in the Ural Mountains, but larger deposits have also been discovered in Brazil.
Benitoite is a rare blue coloured gemstone. When the gemstone was unearthed in the early 20th century, it was believed it was part of the corundum family, due to its colour similarities with sapphire. After some deeper investigation however it was discovered Benitoite is a completely different mineral due to its varying properties to sapphire. With only a hardness of 6 to 6.5, Benitoite is a soft mineral and is unsuitable for jewellery. The stone gets its name from the area in which it’s found near San Benito River. Gemstone quality Benitoite has only been found in the Californian Benito Gem Mine. Because of this in 1985 Benitoite became California’s official state gem. Benitoite has also been identified in Japan, Australia and Arkansas. It, however, appears to grow in small quantities and in slightly different conditions to the original Californian stone.
Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone. The secret behind the rarity of Paraiba tourmaline is its colour. Though tourmaline can be found in a large variety of colours in the US, Brazil and Africa, the Paraiba tourmaline gemstones are of much higher quality with intense colours due to the copper present in the mineral. The first Paraíba Tourmaline was discovered in 1989 in the state of Paraiba, Brazil.
Beryl varieties are already relatively rare. Examples are emeralds and morganite. Red beryl however is the rarest. The gemstone has only been found in several locations in Utah and New Mexico. What makes red beryl so rare is its intense red hue. Red beryl is formed due to the replacement of aluminium atoms with manganese. A feature of the gemstone is that it’s usually found highly included, similarly to its cousin stone emerald. This incredibly rare gemstone is valued as highly as a 40-carat diamond. In comparison, the largest red beryl ever found was 8 carats.
Musgravite is another incredibly rare gem. It is closely related to Taaffeite, with their main difference coming from the level of magnesium content. The gemstone was named after the Musgrave Ranges of Southern Australia where it was first discovered. Musgravite has an appealing array of colours, from light olive to deep violet.
Which one of the 10 rarest gemstones in the world do you wish you could have? Let us know in the comments below.