“These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of.” This quote by George Eliot has roughly summed up why people crave to own these exquisitely carved stones. After all, every man loves to own the finer things in life, doesn’t he?
While it takes hours of perfection to carve them into their gorgeous forms, it takes an equal amount of fortune to make them all yours too. So, here’s presenting to you the 20 most expensive gemstones in the world which I bet will have you run to your nearest jeweler immediately! Ladies, this one is especially for you!
Top 20 Most Expensive Gemstones in the World
20. Tanzanite- $1,200 per carat
Originally discovered in Tanzania, I don’t need to mention why this gemstone is called Tanzanite. This violetish-blue stone is generally found in the Mount Kilimanjaro region and its color is said to be brought about by excessive heating. Mind you, the temperatures can reach as high as 600 degrees Celsius to attain the fine blue color.
Ever since its discovery in the 1960s, Tanzanite has found commercial importance in the north Tanzanian region despite its exhausting resources. It attained huge popularity when Tiffany’s called it ‘the most beautiful stone to be discovered in 2000 years. It was also named the official birthstone of December-born people in 2002. I’m so jealous of those guys right now!
19. Fire Opal- $1,500 per carat
On first look at this stone, you will feel as if you’re holding a ball of fire in your hands! Belonging to the family of opals, it is a mineraloid that consists of hydrated silica and comes in shades of orange or green. The stone is believed to have a high water content in it.
However, my introductory statement about this gem may sound ironic now. The stone is very delicate in nature and is prone to easy damage, especially when brought near a fire. Despite all that, the fire opal is not just one of the most expensive gemstones but is also a prized possession for the people of Australia.
18. Jeremejevite- $2,000 per carat
This aluminium and borate mineral was first found in the Adun-Chilon Mountains in Siberia. Along with the aluminum-borate mixture, it contains fluoride and hydroxide which give it a hardness similar to that of quartz.
Named after Russian mineralogist Pavel Eremeev, the stone is formed at a late hydrothermal phase along with albite, tourmaline, and quartz. The stone is widely used in jewelry-making and is also found in the regions of Tajikistan and Germany.
17. Poudretteite- $3,000 per carat
When you first have a look at a rough Poudretteite, you may think that this is just made for Queen Elizabeth herself. The pink beauty is one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones on the planet and was initially discovered in Quebec,Canada.
It is named after the Poudrette family who was its original discoverers and was never really up for commercial sale until 2000. With a hardness of over 5 on the Mohs Scale, it accounts for a pretty durable yet luxurious-looking stone!
16. Benitoite- $4,000 per carat
Benitoite is one of those rare trinkets which consists of barium, titanium, and silica. It generally forms during a late cooling phase of a hydrothermally altered serpentinite and is found in low-temperature, high-pressure environments.
Benitoite is found in San Benito, California and hence it bears its name. It is also found in Arkansas and Japan and its blue color emits a strong reflection when placed near the sun. It’s another spectacle in itself when you see this stone glisten in broad daylight!
15. Musgravite- $6,000 per carat
Now here comes a bright purple gemstone from Down Under (not underground though)! It first came into the public eye in 1967 when it was discovered in Musgraves, Australia, and belongs to the family of taffeites (it’ll greet you later in the article).
Musgravite is mainly an aluminum oxide that contains elements such as iron and zinc and is one of the hardest stones ever known. Such is its rarity that only eight of them were ever found and even auction houses are struggling to find them. If you know of someone who owns a musgravite, make them your best friend for life!
14. Black Opal- $9,500 per carat
Considered to be one of Australia’s national treasures, the black opals are the rarest opals in the world. While it isn’t exactly black, it is a mixture of blue and green attributed to its growth in low-temperature areas. A full-fledged black opal would normally weigh about 306 carats.
It is found only in the Lightning Ridge area of New South Wales and it was unheard of for 14 years before its discoverer sold it in the open market. The most famous black opal is named ‘The Royal One’ and has been priced at an astronomic $3 million. For a gem as exclusive as that, The Royal One is truly an apt name.
13. Red Beryl- $10,000 per carat
When red beryl sits on your ring, it’ll make you look like someone with blue blood in your veins. Also known as red emerald, it is a mineral that consists of aluminum, beryllium, and silicate. It was first spotted in the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah and is available only in a few locations of the USA.
Although the red beryl is colorless, its red shade is obtained from the presence of additional elements and artificial processes. Finding this gem is as good as finding Goldust and is not available in more than the 3-carat category. It’s so rare that even the miners of Utah and New Mexico are unable to find any!
12. Alexandrite- $12,000 per carat
Alexandrite is one of those rare gems that change colors depending on the light. This exquisite Russian stone is a type of chrysoberyl and contains minerals such as iron and chromium along with a few impurities. They are always found in small sizes and are mined even in India and Sri Lanka these days.
Alexandrite exhibits a property of metamerism. What this means is that it changes its color depending on the amount of illumination it receives. It is emerald in light and becomes a red ruby in the dark. Just imagine how cool is it being a witness to that!
11. Diamond- $15,000 per carat
This list would have been incomplete without including every woman’s best friend. One of the most expensive gemstones that everyone has heard of, diamonds are metastable allotropes of carbon atoms and take anywhere between 1-3 billion years to form.
They are found in cooled kimberlites and are one of the hardest stones available on the planet. As it is a naturally hard material, it has been used for many industrial purposes, including that of making jewelry. I bet all the women have begun dreaming about their next ring or necklace after reading this!
10. Serendibite- $18,000 per carat
One of the rarest and most expensive gemstones to have existed, Serendibite is an exclusive form of silicate discovered by Dunil Gunasekara of Sri Lanka in 1902. The stone was named after Serendib, the name given by the Arabs for Sri Lanka.
If I were to explain the complex elements easily, this mineral is boron metasomatism of carbon compounds along with graphite. It contains nearly 16 sub-elements with calcite and graphite included in that list. In recent years, there have been reports of discovering Serendibite in Myanmar as well.
9. Grandidierite- $20,000 per carat
This Madascagar jewel looks a lot more than a turquoise-colored stone. Named after French explorer Alfred Grandidier, Grandidierite is an aluminum-boron rock that has a high Iron and Magnesium content in it.
These gems are known for their unique phenomenon of trichroic pleochroism. This implies that depending on its viewing angle, it can display up to three colors, namely- dark blue-green, dark green, or even colorless. The more the Iron content, the darker the color of the stone. One stone, three colors, that’s music to the ears of gemologists!
8. Sapphire- $30,000 per carat
A popular and one of the most expensive gemstones, Sapphires have been a mainstay at every jeweler and astrologer’s place. It was first discovered in Sri Lanka but is now available in more than 10 countries and is artificially modified for commercial purposes.
The original Sapphire has a pinkish-orange hue but also comes in the colors of deep blue, pink, and yellowish-orange. The Padparadscha, as it is famously called, is simply impossible to find and the ones that we purchase are generally altered by heating them in ovens. It weighs not more than 5 carats and is priced at a mind-boggling 30 grand a carat!
7. Taafeite- $35,000 per carat
As promised to you, Taafeitt has finally arrived on this list! It was accidentally discovered by Richard Taafe in Dublin, Ireland, and is often confused with a spinel. The gem has a lavender or pale pink shade and is also found in a few regions of Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
It was only in 1951 that an X-Ray analysis was done to differentiate between spinel and a taafeite. Scientists found out that taafeite contains a mixture of beryllium, magnesium, and aluminum as opposed to spinels which contain Iron and Magnesium. On further examination, this fact was confirmed when they found out the double-refraction property in taafeites and not in spinels.
6. Emerald- $305,000 per carat
Emeralds are primarily known for their opulent green shade which has made them a fan-favorite among the ladies. They are found mainly in Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Colombia and contain minor flaws even after undergoing a host of processes.
The most expensive emerald ever purchased was by American billionaire John D Rockefeller. He purchased the 18.04-carat emerald ring for $5.5 million as a present for his wife. But along with it comes a huge drawback. Emeralds score a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale which means that they are susceptible to easy breakage. So the next time you deal with an emerald, be extremely careful when doing so!
5. Red Diamond- $1 Million per carat
Featuring at number six on this list of the most expensive gemstones is our first millionaire diamond- The Red Diamond. These diamonds have similar physical properties when compared to their colorless clan members and their red color is obtained from pressure and temperature changes.
Now, if you’re thinking red diamonds are easy to find, here’s some news for you! There are less than 30 red diamonds available across the globe and most of them don’t even amount to a carat. The last time a red diamond was sold was for $8 million in 2011 and there hasn’t been a major discovery or auction since. Looks like you need a daily trip to the mines to find this stunning jewel!
4. Ruby- $1.18 Million per carat
Anyone reading this article who hasn’t heard of a ruby would be an alien! Fondly known as ‘The King of Gemstones’, rubies are aluminum oxide rocks that are pink to blood-red in color. These gemstones are of immense significance in astrology and are considered to be extremely lucky when worn.
In ancient cultures, it was believed that ruby was synonymous with passion and zest and that it represented blood. 2015 was a year that was special for this sparkler as a ruby ring fetched over $30 million at a Sotheby’s auction. No surprises as to why is it counted among the most expensive gemstones in the world!
3. Pink Diamond- $1.19 Million per carat
While the valuation may be ahead of a ruby by whiskers, there’s just something about a pink diamond that gives it the extra edge. It is the rarest form of diamond available and only 0.00001% of all the diamonds are pink. Ranging from flawed to flawless, these beautiful pinkies get their color from plastic deformation and are mostly found in Western Australia.
The Pink Star has been one of the most sought-after gems at various auction houses. In 2017, a 59.60-carat pink diamond was sold in Hong Kong for a staggering $71.2 million! Here’s another bonus fact for you. Some of the most famous owners of the pink diamond include the Iranian Empress and the Queen of Elizabeth. Looking for some of the most expensive gemstones, head no further than the pink diamonds!
2. Jadeite- $3 Million per carat
Do you recall those long bead-like necklaces being worn by the Chinese? Yup, those were made entirely of Jadeite. Known as the purest and most vivid variety in the Jade family, Jadeites generally come in a green shade with red, black, and yellow as its other subsidiaries.
This green bead gained immense popularity in 2014 when Cartier purchased a Jadeite necklace worth $27.44 million. The Hutton-Mdviani necklace as it is called consisted of 27 large Jadeite beads arranged in a necklace. It was sold in under 20 minutes after an intense vying between 8 bidders!
1. Blue Diamond- $3.93 Million per carat
So, here it is! The crown of the most expensive gemstones in the world goes to The Blue Diamond! Like all other diamonds, the blue diamond retains the physical properties of a quintessential diamond. The blue color is obtained from the presence of boron which in actuality contaminates its crystalline lattice.
The Blue Diamond is extremely hard to find and it has been a regular at auction houses like Sotheby’s. ‘The Oppenheimer Blue’ is the world’s most expensive diamond ever sold at a whopping $57.5 million for 14.32 carats. With a diamond as uncommon and stunning as this, it truly is the deserved king of the most expensive gemstones of the world!