When most people think of rare gemstones, diamond is most likely to come to mind. Other precious gems like ruby, sapphire, and emerald may too. But despite how valuable these are, others have accrued even more value because of how rare they are. Of the hundreds of types of gemstones found naturally, here are some of the rarest gemstones to date.
What Is the Rarest Gemstone?
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. Heat treatment makes its color more stable and creates a more stunning blue hue. Tanzanite is quite durable, as it ranks a 6-7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
Other extremely rare gemstones include:
Only found in San Benito County, California, this sapphire-blue gemstone became the state’s official gemstone in 1985. It was discovered in the early 1900s. Once misidentified as spinel, benitoite is a costly stone; its deep blue color is fluorescent under UV light. It has become even more scarce since the mine it originated from has been closed for commercial operations.
Most of the world’s supply of black opal is mined in New South Wales, Australia, at Lightning Ridge. Black opal has a unique body tone compared to common opal. The darker the background color, and brighter the inclusions, the higher the value of the stone.
Rarer than diamond, ammolite is found only in small deposits in the Rocky Mountains. It was first declared a new organic gem in 1981, by the World Jewelry Confederation. Bright and iridescent, it is derived from 65-million-year-old shells of marine mollusks. Ammolite is very colorful and can display any color in the spectrum.
It was obtained from Himalayan mines until the 1930s, when reserves were depleted. Kashmir sapphire is known for its soft, velvety blue hues. The price of such a stone is likely to be extremely high, if you can find one. Many of these gems can only be found in museums.
If you’re looking for gem quality red beryl, you’ll only find it in the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah. However, it’s an excellent stone for jewelry. Its bright red hue is created by manganese. Red beryl is related to emerald, aquamarine, and morganite.
We’ve all heard of pearls, which come from mollusks, which are highly abundant. But natural pearls have become extremely rare due to pollution, acidification, and overfishing. The cultured pearl industry has made up for this. Natural pearls are often off-color, not round, and contain more imperfections than cultured ones.
Other Rare Gemstones
Alexandrite, a variety of chrysoberyl, remains a rare stone. It was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830. This rare gem is known for its ability to change color depending on the light it’s exposed to. Its crystalline structure can range from emerald green or peacock blue in daylight, while under incandescent light, it can appear ruby red to purple.
Paraíba tourmaline was discovered in Brazil in the 1980s. Its price continues to climb with the demand for its brightly saturated blue-green hues, produced by an abundance of copper. It remains among the rarest of gems. However, it has since been found in Nigeria and Mozambique as well, where similar geological conditions are present.
Another extremely rare gemstone is larimar, which is mined only in the Dominical Republic. It is a turquoise stone that locals had seen washing up on beaches for generations. Miguel Mendez made the stone popular in 1974, and combined his daughter’s name, Larissa, with the Spanish word for sea (mar). Larimar wasn’t commercially mined until the 1970s.
Contact Jeweler’s Touch
We specialize in diamond jewelry and work with many types of gemstones, including alexandrite, opal, pearl, tanzanite, tourmaline, and many others. Conveniently located in Brea, CA, we’re committed to providing the highest quality custom jewelry and educating our customers in all aspects of gemstone and precious metal jewelry. To learn more about what we offer, our custom design and repair services, and financing options, continue browsing or call 714-579-1616.