Diamonds are valued and prized for their rarity, but they aren’t the rarest gemstones in the world. There are several gemstones that are even rarer. Each has a history behind it, and can inspire completely different reactions when seen. Here are nine of the rarest gemstones on Earth:
- Red Beryl
Red beryl is also known as red emerald. Only one crystal of red beryl exists for every 150,000 diamonds. It is found almost exclusively in Utah. Its colour is an unlikely lipstick red. A polished piece flashes in an astounding way.
- Paraiba Tourmaline
These tourmalines are shaded differently due to exposure to copper in South America. Tourmalines that bear copper are brighter, and strike as almost neon in appearance. When viewing one, you may be left with the impression it’s actually powered by a light that shines from inside the gem itself.
- Black Opal
Black opal is a stunning gemstone. It’s laced with different colours and shades so that no two pieces look the same. Darker versions seem like stones that have captured a clouded midnight storm lit by the full moon, where more colourful versions begin to look like a clear, colourful night sky away from the light pollution of the city – as if stars and entire galaxies have been captured in the stone.
Few stones inspire the imagination so much with just a glance. Black opal is so rare that 97-percent of the world’s supply is produced from Australia.
Another rare gemstone found in Australia, the number of musgravite gems in the world is in the single digits. Nonetheless, they’re not rated as high a price as most other entries on this list – they’re chiefly a collector gemstone.
- Kashmire Sapphire
Kashmire sapphires are found in the Himalayan mountains, sometimes at elevations of more than 4,000 meters. Unlike many kinds of sapphire, the Kashmir variety boasts a cloudiness that seems to capture the light in a room and hold it in. This cloudiness is formed from inclusions, and can make every facet of a stone display a slightly different shade of cloudy blue.
- Burma Ruby
Burma rubies are prized for their rich, deep, almost blood-like colour. Rubies have long captured the minds of writers and artists because you can get lost when gazing into them. That deep red colour can both spark and soothe the mind. Unlike many gemstones, rubies don’t seem to draw your eye across their surface – instead, a ruby draws you to its centre and doesn’t let go.
- Padparadscha Sapphire
Combining the best from our last two entries, the padparadscha sapphire combines elements of both the sapphire and ruby. A sapphire’s colour is influenced by iron, whereas a ruby’s is influenced by the presence of chromium. Padparadschas include both, and balance the two into fiery oranges and soothing pinks.
Few stones are as valuable as alexandrite. Its colour changes depending on the type of light in a space. In sunlight or full spectrum light, it will appear greenish. In indoor, incandescent light, it will become redder. The closer to this green-to-red transformation an alexandrite gemstone gets, the more valuable it is.
Sometimes this change is more from a pale blue to a reddish brown, but the most valuable examples are those that change from yellow-green to a pinkish red.
Named after its discoverer Arthur C.D. Pain, and not after any kind of suffering, painite is the rarest gemstone mineral in the world. Although more than 1,000 have been found, only a handful are in quality shape. Nonetheless, their rarity makes them valuable.