Therapeutic properties

Which mineral is the rarest?

Currently, science knows more than 5300 minerals existing on Earth, and this list will expand every year. However, not many rare gemstones are known – about 200 varieties. But which of these minerals is the rarest and most expensive? Someone will probably say that such a stone is a diamond. It is indeed very expensive, but it still cannot be called rare. Diamonds were discovered back in the XNUMXth century, and during this time large quantities were mined. But there are minerals that were discovered quite recently. They exist in single copies, and their owners are known by name. It is these minerals that will be discussed further. What stones are called minerals Stones can be roughly divided into two types – rocks and minerals. But how are minerals different from rocks? Minerals are usually called parts of rocks, ores, and meteorites that are homogeneous in composition and structure. They arise as a result of natural geological processes and are a chemical compound or chemical element. Rocks are a combination of one or more minerals; accordingly, they have a heterogeneous structure. According to the US Geological Society, minerals are elements and compounds that are not organic, meaning they do not contain carbon. However, according to the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), minerals also include some salt-like organic compounds, such as oxalates, mellitates, acetates, etc. Mineral kiavtuit How many copies of one mineral must exist on Earth for it to be considered the rarest? Of course one! That is why kiavtuit (kyautuit) was awarded such a title. It was discovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar in a single copy. A description of this stone can be found in the Caltech Mineral Database. Kiawthuite is described here as a small, water-polished crystal that is dark orange in color and has a “diamond-like luster.” The size of the single copy is only 1,61 carats. The MMA recognized the mineral relatively recently – in 2015. The description for the stone says that it is fragile. The discovered sample has a fracture and three chips. Unfortunately, there is very little information about this mineral. Mineral painite The second rare mineral, which will be discussed further, was also discovered in Myanmar. We are talking about painite, which was first discovered in 1956. The mineral belongs to the class of borates, that is, minerals based on salts of orthoboric acid (H3BO3). This stone was named in honor of its discoverer, mineralogist and collector Arthur Payne. Painite is a hexagonal crystal, usually dark red in color, but sometimes pink specimens are found. Externally it looks like a ruby. Moreover, Arthur Payne himself in 1952 acquired two crimson-colored crystals in Myanmar under the guise of rubies. The collector did not even suspect that he had come into his hands with something much rarer than just the rubies for which Myanmar is famous. Until 2001, there were only three small painite crystals in the world. Then their number increased to 25. In 2006, a deposit of these crystals was discovered here in Myanmar. They are found, in fact, in the same place where rubies are found. However, all stones mined since 2006 are of much lower quality than the first crystals discovered before 2006. The latest study to date on painite (namely, the very first stone purchased in 1952 by Arthur Pen) was published in 2018 in Mineralogical Magazine. The author of the study, George Rossman, was able to find out that the mineral, as previous studies had shown, contains aluminum, boron, calcium and oxygen. But there is no zirconium in its composition, which suggests that the British Museum scientists made a mistake in their first studies. Why does the stone look like a ruby? It contains vanadium and chromium, which give it its red color. But the most important feature, and even the mystery, of this mineral is that it contains boron and zirconium. These substances do not bind well to each other. In fact, painite is the only mineral in which these two substances occur in nature in a combined state. The reason for this is still unclear. Even though painite is now a much more common mineral than it was just 20 years ago, quality crystals suitable for jewelry are still very scarce. Therefore, the cost of the crystal reaches 60 thousand US dollars per carat.

  • Scientific research
  • earth minerals

There are 2 of the rarest minerals on Earth, and they were first discovered in Myanmar.

Different minerals can be found all over our planet. According to scientific definition, they are naturally occurring elements or chemical compounds that are inorganic, meaning they do not contain carbon. Each type of mineral has a special structure and unique chemical composition. The shape of the mineral’s crystals, as well as its other physical properties, may vary. Quartz is considered the most common mineral on Earth, but which mineral can be considered the rarest? Scientist George Rossman from the California Institute of Technology told Live Science about this.

In Focus. Technology has its own Telegram channel. Subscribe so you don’t miss the freshest and most exciting news from the world of science!

The rarest mineral on Earth

So, the rarest mineral in the world, which was recognized as such in 2015 by the International Mineralogical Association, is kiawtuit. Today, only one crystal of this mineral is known, which was discovered in Myanmar. It is a small mineral, weighing 1,6 carats, which is a dark orange gemstone.

But scientists still know very little about this mineral, so painite is considered the more common and second rarest mineral in the world. By the way, it is this mineral that is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest mineral on Earth.

Painite is a dark red mineral with pink inclusions that is now easier to find than before. However, this mineral is still considered very rare, and its chemical structure makes it something of a scientific mystery.

Painite was first discovered by the British mineralogist Arthur Payne, who also collected precious stones. Scientists acquired two crystals in Myanmar in the early 50s and thought they were the rubies for which the region is famous. Subsequently, it turned out that the new mineral, which was named after Payne, is very rare. It was not until 1979 that another specimen of painite was discovered in Myanmar, and until 2001 these three crystals were the only known examples of painite in the world.

Through careful research, George Rossman was the first to determine exactly what elements painite consists of. Rossman also discovered an error in the chemical composition, which was originally determined by scientists from the British Museum, to whom Paine deposited the first discovered samples of painite back in the 50s. Although scientists correctly identified aluminum, boron, calcium and oxygen, the element zirconium was missing.

Also, according to Rossman, he found out for the first time what gives painite its reddish tint. It turned out that what makes painite look like ruby ​​is a small amount of vanadium and chromium in its composition.

Why is Painite so rare?

“This mineral is very rare because it can only be found in Myanmar, but there is also a reason why it is formed. Painite belongs to the minerals called borates, meaning it contains boron. But it also contains zirconium. As is known, boron does not combine well with zirconium. That is, painite is the only mineral in nature in which these two substances are combined together,” says Rossman.

According to the scientist, the reason for this unusual phenomenon still remains a mystery.

“As far as I know, no one has done serious research into what it takes to form painite. I don’t know of any attempts to synthesize it in the laboratory,” says Rossman.

Why was the rarest mineral discovered in Myanmar?

Rossman has one idea why the world’s rarest minerals, kyawtuit and painite, were discovered in Myanmar, like many precious stones.

“When the ancient supercontinent Gondwana began to break apart approximately 180 million years ago, modern India crawled north and collided with what is now South Asia. The pressure and heat from the collision created a treasure trove of rocks, many of which are gemstones. And the boron found in painite and other borate minerals may have come from the shallow seas around the newly formed land mass,” Rossman said.

According to Rossman, painite, which is used to create expensive jewelry, is really hard to find. By the way, its cost reaches 60 thousand dollars per carat. After 2005, this mineral began to be found more often, but still its amount in the world remains insignificant.

We remind you that Chinese scientists discovered a new mineral on the Moon and have already written about its features Фокус.

Scientists also discovered a new mineral deep in the Earth’s mantle, which has already been written about in detail Фокус.

Scientists were able to discover two more new minerals thanks to the fact that a huge meteorite fell on Earth, as I already wrote Фокус.

  • Read us in:
  • Read on Telegram
  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Read on Google news
  • Read on Viber
  • Tags:
  • land
  • Myanmar
  • ruby
  • Asia
  • geology
  • gems
  • mineral
  • Share:
  • send to Telegram
  • share on Facebook
  • tweet
  • send to Viber
  • send to Whatsapp
  • send to Messenger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button