looking for Rare gemstones to match your unique personality. Lets get going with the article. Many gemstones and minerals on the earth, as well as in the jewellery world, are very rare. Some of them, such as rubies, certain types of sapphires, and perfectly round natural pearls, are well-known. Others are actually very popular, despite the industry’s efforts to persuade people that they are uncommon as well – diamonds are perhaps the best example.
However, there are several gemstones that are so rare that most people have never heard of them. Many of them are sold and used in jewellery, but at such exorbitant prices and in such limited quantities that they are out of reach for the average consumer. Some are rare gemstones because they can only be found in one or two locations on the planet, while others are rare because they are unreasonably difficult to mine.
If you’re interested in any of these unusual gemstones, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the world’s rarest gemstones below. Depending on who you ask, some are more unusual than others, and vice versa, so we’ve listed them alphabetically.
Table of Contents
Know the Top 15 Rare Gemstones
Ammolite is an organic gemstone that is only present in a few deposits in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. It is made of aragonite shells from 65-million-year-old marine mollusks, the same material that is used to make pearls.
Ammolite is similar to coral or shell in that it is derived from sea animals, but it differs in that it is fossilised shells that must be excavated. Multiple incandescent colours, even any colour of the rainbow, can be seen on a single stone. It is this unique property, in addition to its scarcity, that makes Ammolite so valuable – the more colours an Ammolite stone shows, the more costly it is.
This is a relatively new gemstone. Musgravite was unknown to us until 1967, when some of these exquisite dark-blue gemstones were discovered in the Musgravite Range in South Australia. Musgravite has also been discovered in Antarctica, Madagascar, and Greenland, though in small amounts. The Gemological Institute of America recognised just eight specimens of Musgravite stones that were wide and pure enough to be cut to form in 2005 – only eight stones in the entire world.
The first gemstone on our list is not only extremely rare, but also extremely fascinating due to its color-changing properties. The gemstone, known as the alexandrite effect, can change colour depending on the light source that shines on it. The stone changes from greenish-blue to reddish-purple in natural sunlight to soft incandescent light.
Alexandrite is an emerald gemstone that is a variation of Chrysoberyl. It is rare gemstone due to its unusual composition of titanium, chromium, and iron. Good quality alexandrite is more expensive than colourless diamonds and can be more expensive than common stones such as emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. A high-quality alexandrite can fetch more than $30,000 per carat.
Larimar gemstones are a very unusual and light-blue type of the pectolite mineral that can only be found in the Dominican Republic. They gained popularity in the late twentieth century after Miguel Méndez called them after his daughter Larissa and the Spanish word for sea – mar. Locals had known about the stone for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that enough was discovered to open a mine. Nonetheless, since Larimar is only mined there, it is extremely rare gemstone in general.
The rarer and more valuable variety of jade is jadeite (the regular, more common type is nephrite). In Chinese, Mayan, and Maori legends, jadeite is an ancient and highly valuable gemstone. This, along with its intense green colours, is what sometimes confuses it with nephrite.
Painite, discovered in Burma in 1951, was called the “World’s Rarest Mineral” by the Guinness Book of World Records. After all, only two specimens of this gemstone were known to exist at the time. Although we will not go so far as to affirm this, the scarcity of Painite is undeniable – only twenty-four of these gemstones had been found as of 2004. Myanmar has since opened a couple of mines for Painite, and the total number of these stones is now closer to 1,000, which is still an impressively small number. When you compare that to the approximately 133 million carats of diamonds mined each year, you gain a whole new respect for this precious gemstone.
7. Red Beryl
Red Beryl, also known as “Bixbite,” “Red Emerald,” and “Scarlet Emerald,” was not officially identified until 1904. It is chemically similar to both aquamarine and emerald, but it is more rare than both. It is only present in parts of Utah and New Mexico and is extremely difficult to mine in an economically viable manner. Because of these mining challenges, Red Beryl is so uncommon in jewellery that it is known to be 8,000 times rarer than equivalent red rubies – a very rare gemstone in its own right.
This one-of-a-kind gemstone was named after its unintentional discoverer, Count Edward Charles Richard Taaffe. When the Count took a series of what he believed was spinel to a jeweller in Dublin in the 1940s, he discovered he was in possession of this previously unknown gemstone. The jeweller discovered one special stone among the others, and thus Taaffeite was introduced to the world.
Initially, the Count had no idea where the stone came from, but after its discovery, other gemologists searched their own collection, and even more specimens were discovered. From there, the source of these stones was discovered to be Sri Lanka, though a few were also discovered to be from China and Tanzania. Only about 50 Taaffeite gemstones have been found to date.
9. Black Opal
While opals in general are not uncommon, black opals are a different storey. The majority of black opals are only found in the Lightning Ridge mines in New South Wales, Australia. Unlike regular opals, which have a creamy white hue, black opals have deep black or dark blue colours with vivid bursts of colour, creating a truly stunning appearance.
The darker the black colours of these opals, the more their inclusions stand out, and the more enthralling the overall composition becomes. Black opals are expensive, but each stone is one-of-a-kind and truly rare.
Grandidierite is up next on our list. Despite the fact that the first clean-faceted Grandidierite specimen known to man was discovered in Sri Lanka, this extremely rare blueish-green mineral is found in Madagascar and almost nowhere else on the planet. Grandidierite, like Alexandrite, is pleochroic, but it lacks Alexandrite’s other color-changing properties. Grandidierite is a relatively inexpensive gem that can be used to make beautiful jewellery. Grandidierite’s captivating colour and translucent appearance make it an excellent choice for one-of-a-kind gemstone jewellery.
Gem-quality benitoite is an exceptionally rare blue gemstone that can only be found in San Benito, California, though limited amounts can be found elsewhere. Benitoite, in addition to its rarity, has incredible fire (light dispersion) that is much more captivating than the fire of most diamonds. Because of this, as well as its sapphire-like blue shades, benitoite is a highly prized and costly gemstone.
This stunning light-pink gemstone was found in the 1960s in Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada. The mineral Poudretteite was named after the Canadian family who ran the quarry. However, the first gem-quality gemstone was discovered in Burma in the year 2000 – a 9.41-carat beauty that is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum. Other Poudretteite gemstones greater than 1 carat and of gem quality are extremely rare.
13. Red Diamonds
Though diamonds are not inherently uncommon, we thought we’d mention a colour variation of these gemstones that is among the rarest. Red diamonds are the rarest and most expensive diamond type. They command exorbitant auction prices and are heavily sought after by those looking for the best. With an approximate value of up to $8 million, the Moussaieff Red is the most expensive red diamond.
This stunning gemstone is a blue variety of Zoisite that can only be found in Tanzania, near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was first discovered in commercial quantities in the 1960s, and its success and value have skyrocketed since then, thanks to jewellers like Tiffany and Co. However, despite being very common and not as rare as some of the other gemstones on this list, Tanzanite is only found in small amounts in this one region. Main Tanzanite sources will be depleted until the one Tanzanite mine is depleted. As a result, this stone is known as the “one-generation gemstone,” since the mines are supposed to run dry in this generation. Nonetheless, Tanzanite remains less costly than diamond.
Jeremejevite was discovered in Siberia at the end of the nineteenth century. These gem-quality crystals have also been recovered in Namibia, but in very small quantities. Jeremejevite gemstones are light blue in colour and captivatingly beautiful; but, due to the small amounts mined, most people have never heard of them.