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What is the most expensive semi-precious stone?

Gemstones can cost millions of US dollars per carat, or they can cost only $500. In this article we will find out what these unique minerals are, how they differ and why connoisseurs go crazy for them and shell out millions at closed auctions.

10th place – Sapphire

The cost of this stone today ranges from 4 to 000 US dollars per carat. This is a traditionally loved gemstone by mankind. Its properties are slightly inferior to diamond. For example, its hardness is only one less. The most expensive varieties of sapphires are royal, cornflower blue. They are found only in Kashmir, northern India. In nature, sapphires are also found in other colors – yellow, pink, green, orange. Apart from the well-known Kashmir sapphire, whose price reaches millions of dollars per carat at auction, the main deposits of sapphires are Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Burma and Australia.

9th place – Emerald

Emeralds cost up to $8 per carat. Emerald is a gemstone of the first order, i.e. one of the rarest, durable due to its strength, and expensive. Before colored diamonds began to be found, emerald was generally in the TOP 000 most expensive gemstones in the world. Today, emeralds are mainly supplied from Colombia and Zambia. Colombian emeralds are considered the most valuable in the world. They are bright green in color and rich in tone. At the same time, the cost, unlike other emeralds, may differ by 3 or even 2 times.

8th place – Red beryl

Essentially, red beryl is the same as red emerald – it is one type of mineral called beryl. Red beryl is found only in one place – the Waha-Waha deposit in Utah, USA. Today this deposit is closed and is under protection. Finding such a mineral now anywhere else on the planet is an almost impossible task. However, several crystals of such a beautiful red-crimson shade of beryl were still found. These stones cost around $10 per carat.

7th place – Alexandrite

Its value is up to 15 US dollars per carat. The famous jewelry variety of chrysoberyl was first discovered in the Middle Urals in 000. The mineral alexandrite was named in honor of Tsarevich Alexander, the future Emperor Alexander II. This stone, in turn, gives its name to a unique color-changing effect, the “Alexandrite effect” – in natural sunlight, it has a deep bluish-green tone, but when placed under an artificial light source, it becomes a rich purple-crimson. An incredible sight!

6th place – Paraiba Tourmaline

It is equivalent in value to alexandrite, also up to $15 per carat. This stone was discovered in 000, and is named after the place where it is mined – the state of Paraiba in Brazil. It belongs to the tourmaline group and has a unique shade of neon blue color due to copper compounds. The most important factor in its value, its exceptional value, is the so-called “neon glow”. This factor increases the cost of the stone tens of times. If you look closely, you can see a blurry green spot in the middle of the stone, which provides this effect. This glow is especially noticeable at dusk or in dim light. The transparency of these tourmalines is so strong that the sun’s rays are scattered with virtually no refraction.

5th place – Almaz

Diamonds cost up to $17 per carat. Diamond has the highest parameters by which precious minerals are evaluated. For example, its hardness is 000 units on the Mohs scale, and has no natural analogues. Among artificial materials, only CBN can compete with diamond in this parameter. No wonder the ancient Greeks called it “adamas”, which means “indestructible”. Today, the popularity of diamonds is primarily due to their high hardness, brilliance and the play of the stone, which experts call dispersion. Of course, diamonds are not at all rare minerals on our planet; their deposits are known today on all continents, except perhaps Antarctica.

4th place – Rubin

The price of this gemstone can vary up to $18 per carat. In terms of hardness, ruby ​​is second only to diamond – 000 units on the Mohs scale. Despite the fact that ruby ​​and sapphire are 9 varieties of the same mineral, it is called corundum, for one carat of ruby ​​you will have to pay three times more than for the same carat of sapphire. This is due to the rarity of high-quality rubies on our planet. And there is also a steadily growing demand for this stone. The geological conditions that are necessary to form rubies are much less common on earth than they are to form sapphires. Today, the main deposits of rubies are in the regions of Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Traditionally, “pigeon’s blood” rubies are considered the most expensive and most valuable. These are stones of rich red color with a bluish tint. Rubies are most valued for their fluorescent effect – the play of small pink-red shades, like embers. On May 13, 2015, a ruby ​​of this shade, weighing 25,59 carats, was sold at Sotheby’s auction for $30 million. This was a record for both the value of a ruby ​​and the value of a carat of non-diamond stones.

3rd place – Padparadscha Sapphire

This is one of the most expensive gems on our planet, estimated at up to $30 per carat, and even higher. These sapphires have a unique shade of pink-orange, the “lotus color”. Moreover, both pink and orange colors should be in equal proportions. If a padparadscha sapphire has not been refined, then the difference with a refined sample is tens of thousands of dollars. These sapphires are of exceptional quality and are found in Sri Lanka. This is where the highest value stones come from. This type of sapphire is also found in Madagascar, Thailand, Vietnam and Tanzania. Genuine Padparadscha sapphire is often passed off as irradiated or heated colorless corundum for less than $1 per carat, so the lack of refining is key to determining the value of this stunning stone.

2nd place – Colored diamonds

The cost of a carat of colored diamond starts from 1 million US dollars per carat. Why so expensive? First of all, due to their extreme rarity, their number is limited. Compared to colorless diamonds, which are mined up to several hundred tons per year, only 2-3 colored diamonds can be found during the same period. Colored diamonds are considered to be stones of all shades except colorless. At the same time, they must have excellent rich color and purity, i.e. absence of any inclusions, defects, etc. Yellow diamonds are the most common, and the main supplier is the Argyle diamond mine in Australia. This field ceased operations in 2020, due to unprofitability of production; there were practically no colored diamonds left there. In Yakutia, the Alrosa company is also engaged in the research and search for colored diamonds. So far, only stones of a light lilac hue have been found. Colored diamonds do not include diamonds of brown and black shades, as they have a large amount of impurities.

1st place – Red Diamond

A red diamond should be highlighted as a separate item from colored diamonds. This is the most expensive gem on planet Earth today. One carat of this mineral is valued at tens of millions of US dollars. As you may have guessed, this is the rarest type of diamond. Single finds of 0,1 carat or more are considered world exclusive. These diamonds were only found in the aforementioned Argyle deposit. In the entire history of mining, less than 20 of them were found. Whether red diamonds will be found anywhere else is unknown. However, their prices are only rising every year. The largest and truly priceless red cut diamond is the Musaev Red Diamond, weighing 5,11 carats and possessing internal flawless purity. Painite is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s rarest gemstone. At the beginning of 2005 there were only eighteen known examples, all numbered and described. Of these, there were only 3 pure red painites, and specimen No. 5 was considered the heaviest. This stone was cut into an oval and weighed 2.54 carats. In 2006, another source of painites was found in Burma, from which about 10 tons of raw material was recovered. The newly found painites turned out to be very dark red, or rather brown-red or red-brown stones, and their value turned out to be a thousand times lower than previously known. However, out of 10 tons of raw materials, less than 300 stones were cut, and now the total number known and confirmed painites do not exceed 330 pieces worldwide. In general, the color spectrum of painites ranges from pink to red and brown. Painite has extremely strong pleochroism and fluoresces a magnificent green color under ultraviolet light. The only reliably confirmed deposits in the world are in Burma, in the Mogoga and Kachin areas. Painite got its name in honor of the British gemologist Arthur Charles Davey Payne, who first studied and described it. In recent years, painites have often been offered for sale on the Internet. And if it is difficult to believe in the reality of the very dark brown-red paintites offered, but still possible, then the red transparent paintites offered for a relatively high price for online trading are an absolute deception! Real red pure painite HAS NO PRICE – IT IS PRICELESS. It is very easy to distinguish real, even super-dark painite from a fake, even at home. Under the light of an ordinary blue lamp, real painite will turn noticeably green. The mineral Serendibite (not to be confused with Serandite) is found in various parts of the globe. But the serendebite gemstone remains the rarest in the world. Serendibite has a fairly wide range of colors – blue, bluish-green, light yellow, dark blue and black. Currently, the existence of just over 1000 faceted serendibites has been reliably confirmed, of which the vast majority are black. But for example, there are only 3 copies of light blue serendebits, 0.35 carats, 0.55 carats and 0.56 carats. The first 2 were discovered by the famous seeker of gemological rarities D.P. Gunazekeroy, the larger of them is shown in the photograph. Both stones were purchased by the late Professor Güble of Switzerland, who valued the smaller serendibite at $14300 per carat. Serendibit has a very complex chemical composition, which includes calcium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, boron and oxygen. The name Serendibit comes from the ancient Arabic name for Sri Lanka “Serendibi”, which Sinbab refers to in the description of his sixth voyage. All unique pure, light-colored serendibites were found in Sri Lanka, and very dark blue (black) serendibites, from which stones of jewelry and collection quality are cut, are mined only in Burma, in a single mine in the South Mogog region. In 2000, in Burma, in northern Mogog, a stone was discovered that, after cutting, turned into an extremely beautiful purple, clearly precious stone weighing 3 carats. In 2004, nine more similar crystals were discovered in the same mine, including one pale pink, whose cut weight was 9.41 carats. A comprehensive study of these stones showed that they all belong to the mineral poudretteite, known since 1987. The mineral received its name in honor of the Poudrette family, which to this day owns a small mine located in the depths of the highest mountain in the vicinity of Montreal, in Quebec – in Mount Saint-Hilaire. Since 1987, several dozen small, very pale pink, almost colorless crystals have been found in this mine, which, despite their softness (5 on the Moss scale), could be cut to high quality. To this day, poudretteite has never been discovered in Burma, and the Canadian miracle mountain has given humanity only about 3 hundred stones of varying quality, of which about 2 dozen exceed the weight of 1 carat. Depending on the quality – purity and color saturation, the cost of poudretteite ranges from 2000 to 10000 per carat, not counting, of course, several of the largest and breathtakingly expensive stones. The light bluish-green or greenish-blue mineral was most recently found in Madagascar. Before that, the first grandidierite was discovered in Sri Lanka and was initially mistaken for serendierite. The very first sample, cut into 0.29 carat trillion (pictured), was purchased and first thoroughly examined in 2000 by Professor Güble in Switzerland. Grandidireite – a stone with trichroism (blue, green, white) received its name in honor of the explorer, historian and naturalist Alfred Grandidire, who, among other things, found and dug up the bones of the famous elephant bird fossil weighing more than half a ton in Madagascar. As of In our time, the existence of 8 grandidierites has been reliably confirmed, and about a dozen more stones are suspected of being identified as grandidierites. Eremeevite is an almost colorless, sky blue or very light yellow stone, named after the Russian mineralogist Pavel Eremeev, who first discovered this mineral in 1883 in the Namib Desert, Africa. Discovered to date in several regions of the planet, jewelry-collectible eremeyevites are still mined (no more than 1-3 per year) only in Namibia. In nature, this mineral is found in the form of small prismatic (obelisk-shaped) crystals. At first, these stones were mistaken for aquamarines of rare color and unusual crystallization. In 2005, the largest known faceted eremeyevite weighing 2.93 carats was presented in Switzerland. It is reliably known that there are several hundred faceted blue eremeyevites; their cost, including on the Internet, depending on the quality, ranges from 2000 to 20000 dollars per carat. In 2011, a huge colorless crystal was found in Madagascar, which was cut into what is probably the largest jeremeyevite in the world, weighing 27 carats. MAJORITE – PURPLE GARNET Majorite is the rarest form of purple garnet. Majorites can be formed either under the impact of a falling meteorite, or underground at a depth of at least 400 km! Named after geophysicist Alan Major, who studied the formation of garnets under ultra-high pressure. Majorite was first found in 1970 in the Koorara meteorite near the town of Yecla, Western Australia. In 1990, several large crystals were found in Madagascar, in the Bequili region. Several specimens were found over the next decade in Russia, Turkey and the United States. The latest discovery dates back to 2004, when about a thousand small mica-like crystals were found in France, in the Chantoneau region, which were subsequently cut and sold at a price of $2400 per carat. The most expensive purple majorite garnet to date, weighing 4.2 carats, was sold in 2003 for $6.8 million. It can be assumed that as humanity explores the Moon and Mars, majorites will cease to be uniquely rare, since the conditions on the Moon and Mars are much more favorable for their formation. Taaffeite is one of the rarest and most unique collectible stones. Over time, very few such stones have been found, and most of them have been mistakenly identified as spinel. Today, only in Sri Lanka and Tanzania a unique mineral is found from time to time. Since the deposits in East Africa and Sri Lanka are geologically related, our colleagues expect to find Taaffeite in Madagascar as well. In 1945, Earl Taaffe, a Dublin gemologist, found a pale pink-lilac stone in a box of waste from a goldsmith’s workshop. In appearance and properties, the stone reminded him of spinel, but at the same time showed a clear double refraction. The stone was sent to the British Museum for research, where it was determined that the stone was an unknown mineral. Although its refractive index is approximately the same as spinel, taaffeite is uniquely identified due to its birefringence and uniaxial negative characteristic. Despite constant searches, another taaffeite was found only in 1949, in a bag with a scattering of stones from Sri Lanka. The third stone was found in 1957 by Robert Crowningshield, a GIA expert. The fourth taaffeite was found only 10 years later. Since then, gemologists have been more or less aware of taaffeite, and individual stones continue to be discovered. Several years ago, our partners who own mines in Tunduru, Tanzania, discovered several taaffeites in their raw material brought to the surface from the mines. Since then, a constant process has been launched to recheck all materials, especially spinel, to detect the effect of double refraction. In cases of the slightest suspicion or uncertainty, additional research is carried out using the most modern equipment. Thanks to this, several hundred taaffeites have been found in Tanzania alone over the past 5 years. The largest taaffeite known today weighs 9.31 carats. The world price for Taaffeite ranges from $2000 to $10000 per carat Taaffeite has a very close relative – the chemically and optically similar musgravite. The mineral was first discovered in the Musgrave Range, which is how it got its name. Later, the mineral musgravite was also discovered in Greencandia, Madagascar, Tanzania and even in Antarctica. But all these samples could only be used for wall cladding, which was done by the Sultan of Brunei in one of his bedrooms. But the first sample suitable for cutting into a precious stone was discovered only in 1993. For some time it was believed that taaffeite and musgravite were the same thing, but in 2003, when studying both stones with a Raman spectroscope using a green laser, evidence was obtained that taaffeite and musgravite are different minerals and different stones. In 2005, the existence of only 8 musgravots was reliably confirmed; now 13 such stones are already known. The largest weighs 5.93 carats (shown in the 1st photo). The only benitoite deposit in the world was found only in San Benito County, California. Benitoite is an intensely blue stone, with very strong dispersion comparable to diamond, with intense blue-white fluorescence under ultraviolet light. The largest known benitoite weighs 15.42 carats, but stones weighing more than 1 carat are exceptionally rare, with no more than a dozen known. In 1974, a 6.52-carat VVS drop of benitoite was stolen at Zurich airport; the loss has not yet been discovered. There is a reasonable assumption that the stone was sawn and recut into 2 smaller ones and subsequently sold at one of the closed auctions. Since 1984, benitoite has been designated the state gemstone of California. On the world market, the cost of 1 carat of small benitoites varies, depending on the quality, from 500 to 4000 dollars per carat. Only a few red diamonds have been found in the entire history of mankind, and very few people have had the good fortune to see and hold them in their hands. The natural color of red diamonds is described by gemologists as purplish-red, which is not pure red (ruby). Regardless of size, red diamonds, along with natural black diamonds, are among the rarest and most expensive gemstones in the world. The world’s only industrially developed colored diamond mine in Argilles, Australia, produces a small number of red and near-red diamonds annually, in some years only a few carats. Red diamonds weighing more than 0.1 carat are usually sold only through auctions, and their value amounts to millions of dollars per carat. In connection with the above, regular offers of red diamonds on the Internet, including on e-bay, do not lend themselves to any serious comment.

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