Tips for stone care

What is the most expensive stone after diamond?

The price of a diamond, like other precious stones, depends on many factors, and here size does not always matter. Gemology pedants even developed the 4C rule to make it easier for others to determine the price of stones. According to this method, when evaluating a diamond, one should take into account clarity (clarity), color (color), cut (cut) and weight in grams (carat). In addition, other parameters are taken into account that were not included in rule 4C (apparently because they did not find a suitable term for them with the letter C): shape and the presence or absence of flaws. In addition, the origin of the mineral and the country in which it was mined also play a role (who knew that jewelers were such snobs). Today, Australia, Africa and Russia are considered the most respected regions: diamonds from these suppliers are among the most expensive. Taking into account all these characteristics, the expert makes his verdict. As a rule, the cost fluctuates around 18-22 thousand dollars per carat (1,5-2 million rubles). If anything, a carat is 0,2 grams.

The cores are pure emerald

Emerald is a transparent variety of beryl whose grass-green color comes from chromium oxide or vanadium oxide. They are mined almost all over the world, but the leaders in terms of volume and quality of stones are Colombia, Zambia, Egypt, Brazil and Afghanistan. Emeralds are one of the most vulnerable creatures at an elite party of precious stones, and their fragility is comparable to the fragility of the ego of a creative person: literally anyone can offend them. The hardness of emerald is 7,5-8 on the Mohs scale (for comparison: diamond is 10). Add to this the complex network of splits and cracks, without which these minerals are practically never found, and you get an incredibly susceptible stone, very sensitive to heat and pressure. For example, emeralds easily lose light at temperatures above 700 °C. Therefore, large, defect-free gems (from 5 carats) are more valuable than diamonds, but even for a small stone you will have to pay an average of 7 thousand dollars. There are also more expensive copies – so much so that you will have to use all your intellectual potential to understand how something picked up on earth can compete with the GDP of some small developing country. For example, the President emerald weighing 1993 grams, found in 1200 at the Malyshevsky mine in the Sverdlovsk region, was valued by independent American experts at $1,5 million. The cost of the most famous representative of the breed – the 1383-carat Devonshire Emerald, stored in the mineralogical gallery of the British Museum of Natural History – is not even announced today.

The color of mood is not only blue

Sapphires are not only blue. And while you are digesting this information and figuring out at what point in your life it could hypothetically come in handy, here are some more details: sapphire is corundum colored in any color. An inconspicuous grayish mineral begins to shine with completely different colors when titanium or iron come into play. Thanks to these impurities, corundum receives a rich blue tint; we are accustomed to calling such stones sapphires. However, in addition to the classics, there is a whole palette: orange, pink-orange, garnet-red, yellow, green and pink minerals, as well as colorless ones. Traditional cornflower blue stones are valued at an average of $6 per carat, but padparadscha sapphires, with their pinkish-orange flower-inspired coloring, cost around $15 to $30 per carat, which is more expensive than diamonds. Unlike delicate emeralds, sapphire is real flint. It has high hardness (a solid Mohs nine), and to melt it, you need a temperature of 2040 °C. Sapphires are most often mined in placers in the USA, Australia, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand and China. There are no large deposits in Russia, but stones suitable for cutting can be found in the Urals and the Kola Peninsula. Ural stones will most often have a grayish tint, but Khibiny sapphires have a green cast and are distinguished by a deep blue color. The largest sapphire in history was found relatively recently: in 2015, miners at a mine in the Ratnapura region (Sri Lanka) stumbled upon a 1404-carat stone. According to the roughest estimates, its cost fluctuates around 90 million euros. And they called this find the “Star of Adam”, because in the drawing on the stone, with some effort of imagination, you can see a white blurry star.

Yakhontovy you are mine

Red corundums are called rubies, and their color is due to the admixture of chromium. These mineralogical neighbors of sapphires are distinguished by the same high hardness. They are unpretentious in their habitat: rubies are found everywhere except Antarctica. Ahead of the rest of the planet are Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka. Rubies from East Africa, Kenya and Tanzania are also held in high esteem, but are valued slightly less. Since ancient times, they have been mined in the Pamir Mountains, for example, at the deposit with the bizarre name “Snezhnoye” in Tajikistan. In Russia, rubies are scarce: they are found only as rare companions of corundum in the Southern and Polar Urals, in Northern Karelia and on the Kola Peninsula. In one of the episodes, the heroes of the Discovery Channel project “Hunt for Precious Stones” go to the ruby ​​mines of Vietnam. A gem dealer, a jewelry expert, and a geologist travel to exotic lands to find the largest, brightest, and most expensive stones in the world. They will not only have to thoroughly study the rules of entry and exit from the country, but also competently evaluate local players, establish the authenticity of the goods, negotiate a purchase at the best price and, of course, flawlessly cut the stones, since otherwise the purchase will completely lose the price. Even our ancestors intuitively felt the kinship between sapphires and rubies: in Rus’ these minerals were called by the same word “yakhont”, sometimes adding to them the differentiation “red” and “azure”. However, today rubies are valued more than traditional blue sapphires, but pink padparadscha sapphires can compete with them: the price of rubies per carat is 15-20 thousand dollars. The record holder is considered to be a Burmese ruby ​​of the “pigeon’s blood” color: on May 13, 2015, a stone of 25,59 carats was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $30 million. At that time, this was an unprecedented price for both an individual ruby ​​and per carat for a non-diamond stone.


Alexandrite, although it sounds either like a verb or like a harmless chronic inflammation, was actually named in honor of Alexander II: the stone was discovered on the day when the future Russian emperor celebrated his coming of age. Alexandrite has an unusual history: Finnish geologist, corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Nils Nordenskjöld, who first came across this stone in 1834, initially suspected that it was not a completely pure emerald, since the mineral was obviously green in color. But after conducting an examination in the field, Nordenskiöld found out that the stone was much stronger than emerald: according to Mohs, it gave 8,5. “These are some kind of wrong bees,” Nordenskiöld decided, put the mineral in his pocket and brought it home. There he was surprised to find that the stone had changed color to bright red. Thus, not only a new breed was discovered, but also its amazing chameleon potential – what science calls pleochroism, that is, the ability of a stone to change color depending on lighting and viewing angle. In nature, in daylight, dark blue-green, bluish-green, dark grass-green and olive-green alexandrites are found. In evening or artificial light they appear pink-crimson, red-violet and purple. No matter what kind of chameleon you want to get, you will have to pay about 15-20 thousand dollars per carat. They are mined in large quantities in Russia. The Malyshevskoye field in the Urals contains the largest primary deposit in Europe. Sri Lanka also makes its contribution: alexandrite with a “cat’s eye” color is considered the hallmark of the region. In the 1980s, Brazil burst into the alexandrite market. True, the star of the state of Minas Gerais burned, although brightly, for a very short time: in just three months, from April to June 1987, the field was completely depleted and depleted. Today, Tanzania and Madagascar have become new suppliers of the mineral – the stones are found in the same places where rubies and sapphires are mined. Record prices for unique gemstones from year to year fuel interest in this beautiful category of goods. Auction sales data is published in the public domain and reflects current trends in the global precious stones market. Each price record for a certain type of gemstone often raises the price bar for other similar offers on the market. Therefore, the results of auctions are closely monitored by many participants in the “jewelry and stone” community: sellers of precious stones and jewelry, potential buyers, market observers, investors and simply jewelry lovers. In general, the cost of precious stones is influenced by 4 main quality parameters: color, clarity, cut and weight. The larger, brighter and purer the stone, the rarer and more expensive it is. It is worth considering that the best precious stones can be sold not at auctions, but in private, unadvertised transactions at prices sometimes even higher than auction prices. Or they may be kept in museums and classified as “priceless.” In this article we will look at the most famous and expensive gemstones sold at auctions. As well as those factors that generally affect the price of these types of stones.

The most expensive diamond sold at auction

Diamonds are the most popular and expensive gemstones. Let’s consider which parameters of these stones are most valued. The most expensive color for classic diamonds will be absolutely colorless – D according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) system. There are also even rarer and very expensive colored diamonds that many collectors and investors are after: pink, blue, yellow, green, etc. The brighter their color, the more expensive they will be. Diamond clarity refers to the degree to which the stone contains or does not contain inclusions and cracks, which reduce its value. The highest clarity parameters for diamonds according to the GIA system: FL (from “Flawless” – flawless, both internally and externally; without surface defects in the form of small scratches or chips) and IF (from “Internal Flawless” – internally flawless, but at the same time minor surface defects are acceptable). The weight of diamonds is measured in carats. 1 carat is 0,2 grams. The cost of a stone per carat increases exponentially with increasing mass due to the increasing rarity of such stones. The shape and quality of the cut also affect the price. Which diamond became the most expensive in history at auction? The record holder for the highest price for a diamond sold at auction is a hot pink one. diamond “CTF Pink Star” weighing 59,60 carats. It was sold in April 2017 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for 71,2 million US dollars. The preliminary value of the stone was 60 million US dollars. The diamond was bought by the popular jewelry company Chow Tai Fook (CTF) from Hong Kong. She renamed the diamond “CTF Pink Star” in honor of her brand. The color of this diamond according to the Gemological Institute of America grading system is Fancy Vivid Pink, clarity is IF. The diamond is classified as a rare type IIa diamond. It was cut from a 132,5-carat diamond mined by De Beers in 1999 in South Africa. It took almost 2 years to cut the stone. For the first time this diamond, under its former name “Steinmetz Pink”, was shown in public in Monaco in 2003. Note that this diamond was previously exhibited at Sotheby’s auction in November 2013 in Geneva. Then it was sold for a record amount of $83 million. But at the end of February 2014, it became known that the buyer was unable to pay for the diamond and Sotheby’s bought the stone for itself for $72 million. At the moment (December 2019) this is the largest and most expensive pink diamond sold at auction. Also “CTF Pink Star” it is the most expensive gemstone in the world ever sold at auction. See also articles: The most expensive colorless diamonds sold at auctions The Most Expensive Pink Diamonds Sold at Auctions

The most expensive ruby ​​sold at auction

Rubies are not only the most expensive, but also the fastest growing colored stones. They are a red-colored variety of the mineral corundum. Their cost is influenced by several main factors. The brighter the color of rubies, the more expensive they are. Additional shades of purple or orangish reduce the cost. The most expensive color of ruby ​​is a rich red, which in the trade is called “Pigeon’s blood”. Assessing the purity of rubies is not very strict, because. they are often characterized by the presence of various inclusions. The quality of the cut and the weight are, of course, also important. Note that rubies are very often cut with poor proportions, poor symmetry and polishing. Good quality rubies larger than 3 carats are already rare on the modern market. The next factor is very important – the presence or absence of refining of the stone, as well as the method and degree of refining. For rubies, the most common method of refining is heat treatment. It allows you to brighten the color of the stone, eliminate unwanted shades, and also visually improve purity, because some inclusions melt when heated and become less noticeable. Untreated rubies are many times more expensive than refined ones, because. they are more rare. An important factor is the geographical origin of the stone. Since ancient times, the best quality rubies have been mined in Burma (Myanmar). Therefore, Burmese rubies are several times more expensive than similar ones mined in other countries. From the above factors it follows that large Burmese untreated rubies of the “pigeon’s blood” color are most highly valued. The most expensive ruby ​​sold at auction is ruby “Sunrise” weighing 25,59 carats. It was sold in May 2015 at Sotheby’s in Geneva for US $ 30,3 million ($1185000 per 1 carat). Thus, the stone set two price records at once: both for the most expensive ruby ​​and for the highest price per carat for rubies. The preliminary cost estimate of the stone was 12-19 million US dollars. Expert opinions from the SSEF and Gübelin laboratories note that the cushion-shaped ruby ​​has not been refined and has the top color “pigeon’s blood.” Moreover, it is of “luxury” origin – it was mined in Burma. The stone has excellent clarity. The ruby ​​is also set in a ring from the famous Cartier brand. The head of the auction house’s international jewelry department, David Bennett, commented on the stone: “In 40 years of working in this industry, I have never seen a ruby ​​of more excellent quality.”

The most expensive sapphire sold at auction

Sapphires, like rubies, are varieties of the mineral corundum. The classic color of sapphire is blue. But they also come in almost any color. Sapphires of bright blue colors are most valued. There are two top colors for blue sapphires, commercially named Royal Blue and Cornflower Blue. Royal blue is a rich blue color that is often a little dark. “Cornflower blue” color is more intense and lighter. Like rubies, unheated sapphires are also much more valuable and rarer. The most prestigious deposits are Burma (Myanmar) and Kashmir. But excellent quality stones are also often supplied to the world market by Sri Lanka. The most expensive blue sapphire sold at auction is sapphire “Blue Beauty of Asia” (“ Blue Belle of Asia “) weighing 392,52 carats. It was sold in November 2014 at Christie’s in Geneva for US $ 17,3 million ($44000 per 1 carat). The estimate was about 7 million US dollars. The buyer of the necklace with this huge sapphire was an anonymous collector. The stone has a rich blue color. The gem was mined in 1926 in Ratnapura, the so-called “City of Gems” located in Sri Lanka. The stone went through many owners until a Saudi collector put it up for auction in 2014. The high quality and origin of the stone is confirmed by certificates from the reputable laboratories SSEF and Gübelin. Rahul Kadakia, global head of jewelry at Christie’s, said they were “extremely proud that the Blue Beauty of Asia has set a new world record for any sapphire sold at auction.”

The most expensive emerald sold at auction

Emeralds are the second most popular gemstones in the world after diamonds. They are a green variety of the mineral beryl. Stones of rich green color are highly valued (certificates indicate the “Vivid Green” gradation). Typically, emeralds are refined by oiling to visually improve their clarity by hiding their characteristic cracks. Clean and untreated stones are extremely rare and very expensive. The most highly prized emeralds are those mined in Colombia, where examples of excellent quality have originated for several centuries. The most expensive emerald sold at auction is “Rockefeller Emerald” Rockefeller Emerald “) weighing 18,04 carats. It was sold in June 2017 at Christie’s New York for US $ 5,5 million ($305 per carat). The estimate for the stone was 000-4 million US dollars. The stone was sold by a private American collector. The Rockefeller Emerald was bought by the famous jewelry company Harry Winston. The CEO of this company, Nyla Hayek, gave instructions to get this magnificent stone at any cost. After purchasing the emerald, Hayek commented: “Harry Winston is immensely proud to own the finest emerald in the world, which once belonged to one of America’s most important dynasties.” Expert opinions on the jewelry from the Gübelin and AGL laboratories note that the emerald is of Colombian origin and has not been refined. The stone formerly belonged to the wealthy Rockefeller dynasty and was part of a pendant brooch that John Rockefeller Jr. purchased in 1930 for his wife Abby. After her death in 1948, Rockefeller asked New York jeweler Raymond Yarde to dismantle the Van Cleef & Arpels creation so that individual emeralds could be given to his children. Yard set the center stone in a platinum ring, and Rockefeller gave it to his son David. As you can see, all the stones discussed above were sold at auction relatively recently – only within the last 3-5 years. So it is quite expected that very soon we will see the appearance of new record-breaking gems on the horizon. We recommend reading on the website Expensive jewelry as a gift for the New Year The Most Expensive Pink Diamonds Sold at Auctions What about precious stones? The most expensive colorless diamonds New Year’s gift with gemstone Zircon: description, properties and photos Collection stone: choosing sphene A trip to a zircon deposit in Cambodia – part 1

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