Alexandrite is more valuable than diamonds

Top 10: The Most Expensive Gemstones in the World

Gemstones are made up of a wide variety of mineral and organic materials. With over 300 gemstones currently recorded, there are some that are significantly rarer and more valuable than the fabled diamond.

A handful of the most valuable gemstones in the world are minerals that you will likely never see in person. These stones are very popular with museums and private collectors. In this overview you will find the 10 most expensive gemstones, as well as information about their origin and tips on where to find them.

10. Tanzanite

Photo: Wiener Edelstein Zentrum / CC BY-SA 3.0

In contrast to most of the gemstones that were mined at several sites, this relatively young stone was only found in northern Tanzania. The first gem was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesman Ali Juuyawatu. Experts assume that the supply of tanzanite could be exhausted in the next 20 to 30 years, which makes this stone significantly rarer than diamonds.

Tanzanite is on the Mohs scale of hardness at 6-7, so that the stone will hardly show any signs of wear even in daily use. The most valuable color is a pure blue, which hardly differs from a blue sapphire. Tanzanite owes most of its color intensity to thermal processing. The average price per carat is around 1,000 euros for the best quality.

9. Taaffeite

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com - CC-BY-SA-3.0

Taaffeite is a rare gemstone that most people have never heard of. The fact that it has been forgotten a little is not because of its appearance, but because of how incredibly rare it is.

The light purple gem was discovered in 1945 by the Australian researcher Richard Taaffe. Before it was discovered, the taaffeite was known as spinel. Spinel does not break the light, however, as does this gemstone. Taaffe's observation was the first gemstone to be discovered as a faceted gemstone rather than a rough stone.

Taaffeite has so far only been found in Sri Lanka and Tanzania, although the largest deposits are not suitable for further processing as gem stones because they cannot be cut. Because of this, the gemstone is considered 1 million times rarer than the diamond.

If you're looking for the look of taaffeite but don't want to pay for a collectible item, consider buying well-cut amethysts in a purple color. Although amethyst isn't as bright, the color is similar. Alternatively, if you are willing to spend some time searching, you can invest your money in a taafeit.

On the Mohs scale, it is in the upper range with a value between 8 and 8.5 and is much harder than amethyst. In terms of price, a top quality carat is around 2,000 euros.

8. Demantoid

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com - CC-BY-SA-3.0

Demantoid is an exceptionally green andradite garnet that was discovered in Russia in the mid-18th century. Although other types of warm-toned garnet are widely used and inexpensive, demantoid garnet is one of the rarest and most valuable varieties of garnet. You will have difficulty finding a demantoid garnet that is larger than 2 carats.

The demantoid garnet has a hardness between 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale, so that the stone is durable for daily use with proper care. Since this type of garnet is rarely found in larger formats, it is best to choose a stone between 0.5 and 0.75 carats. Make sure it is well cut to bring out the natural brilliance of the stone. The average price per carat is 3,000 euros for high-quality demantoids.

7. Black opal

Photo: Ra'ike / CC BY 3.0

The black opal is also one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. The black opal is the rarest and most wanted type of opal. It is also one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. Almost all of the world's black opal stocks are mined in Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia.

The main feature that distinguishes the black opal from the ordinary opal is its color effect. Although black opals come in many colors, their overall composition is on the darker end of the spectrum.

There are synthetic black opals on the market that are difficult to identify without the help of a laboratory. You should therefore only buy from certified sellers. The average price per carat is 3,000 euros and more for high-quality stones.

6. Benitoite

Benitoite in blue / Photo: Parent Géry

Most jewelry aficionados will never be able to see the true beauty of benitoite. This sapphire blue gem was only found in San Benito County, California. The mineral was first discovered by George D. Louderback in the early 1900s before it was named a California Gem in the 1980s.

This stone was also incorrectly identified as spinel in the past, but was then re-examined and reclassified due to its high brilliance.

When buying a benitoite, you need to search carefully to find a trusted dealer that only sells certified benitoite. A medium shade is desirable for benitoite. Stones that are too dark do not reflect the light strongly. Too light stones appear washed out and not intense enough. As one of the most expensive gemstones in the world, the average price is around 3,500 euros for benitoite with medium shades of blue.

5. Padparadscha sapphire

Padparadscha sapphires are extremely rare and are mainly found in Sri Lanka as well as parts of Madagascar and Tanzania. The unique combination of pink and orange tones makes this stone one of the most sought-after among collectors. The gemstone comes in a variety of shades, but medium tones seem to be the cheapest and most attractive.

Since padparadscha sapphires are so rare, you may have to compromise when buying them. This may mean that you have to go for a stone with less transparency or a smaller size. The shapes are also often a little unconventional, as the grinders give everything to retain as much weight as possible after the cut. Padparadscha sapphires are rarely larger than 2 carats. An average price for a one-carat is around 6,500 to 7,500 euros in good quality.

4. Red beryl

Photo: DonGuennie (G-Empire The World Of Gems) / CC BY-SA 4.0

Red beryl is an extremely rare variety of beryl found only in Utah and New Mexico in the United States. Although the stone was found in two locations, only the Utah occurrence is of suitable quality to be used as a gemstone. This rare gemstone, also known by connoisseurs as the "Red Emerald", is very difficult to find due to the unique conditions required to form this stone.

Similar to emeralds, the red beryl often has inclusions, but these do not necessarily affect the value, as is the case with diamonds, for example.

Large stones are so rare that they often remain unpolished and are sold directly to collectors as collector's items. Most cut red beryl stones weigh less than 1 carat.

The average price for one carat is between 8,000 and 9,000 euros in high quality, making it one of the most expensive gemstones in the world.

3. The most expensive gemstones in the world: alexandrite

Alexandrite is green in sunlight and red in lamplight, making it one of the few gemstones on the market that changes color. The stone was first discovered in 1830 in the Russian Ural Mountains and later named after Tsar Alexander II.

Smaller sites have been mined in Sri Lanka, Brazil and Asia, but high quality alexandrite is still very rare and expensive. If you are dealing with an alexandrite gem that is large and has excellent clarity, you are likely dealing with a synthesis.

For a natural alexandrite you pay around 10,000 to 11,000 euros per carat, which makes it one of the most valuable gemstones in the world.

2. Jadeite

Photo: greyloch / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Jadeite is almost at the top of the list of the most expensive gemstones in the world. This gemstone is the most expensive and beautiful form of jade. Since this deep green, translucent gemstone is significantly rarer than other types of jade, it is used exclusively for jewelry making and is extremely rare.

The value of a jadite is based on the degree of transparency and depth of color. Some extremely high quality stones have even sold for over $ 1 million per carat.

A high-quality but imperfect stone sells for an average of 15,000 to 20,000 euros per carat.

1. Musgravite

Photo: DonGuennie (G-Empire The World Of Gems) / CC BY-SA 4.0

Musgravite was discovered in 1967 and is arguably the rarest gemstone in the world. It was first discovered in the Musgrave Ranges, Australia. Later sites in Madagascar and Greenland were added. However, the first large specimen in gem quality was not discovered until 1993. As far as gem quality stones are concerned, only ten specimens are documented.

Due to the rarity of musgravite, the market for the stone is also very opaque.

Experts assume that a one-carat gemstone quality will cost at least 30,000 euros, derived from previous discoveries. This makes the musgravite by far the most valuable gemstone in the world.