The World’s 18 Most Precious and Rare Gemstones

Of the 2,700 mineral species, only around 100 are prized as gemstones. These 18 gemstones are prized for their rarity, beauty, and durability and are often more sought after and expensive than diamonds. 

Red Beryl

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Red beryl, otherwise known as red or scarlet emerald, is an incredibly rare beryl variety and one of the world’s rarest minerals. The mineral gets its red color from the manganese ions embedded in its beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate crystals. It has only been found in the Wah Wah Mountains, Paramount Canyon, Round Mountain, and Juab County in Southwest America and is a thousand times rarer than gold. 


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Jadeite is often sold as jade, along with nephrite, and comes in a range of colors but is best known for its deep green shade. Deposits of the rare pyroxene can be found in the Alps, California, Guatemala, Myanmar, and Japan. 

Pink Star Diamond

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The Pink Star, weighing 59.60 carats (11.92g), was mined in 1999 by De Beers in South Africa and is the largest diamond rated as Vivid Pink. Only Natural Diamonds notes it “shattered every price record when Sotheby’s sold it for a staggering $71.2 million in April 2017 at a Hong Kong auction,” making it “the single most expensive diamond or jewel sold at auction.”


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This rare mineral, renowned for its blue-green color, was discovered in 1902 in southern Madagascar and named after the French explorer Alfred Grandidier. Grandidierite is rarely seen in gem and jewelry collections despite its hardiness of 7.5, which makes it highly resistant to scratching. 

Black Opal

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Black opal is the rarest color of this mineraloid, which can be found in nearly any color. They are incredibly rare and are found in a few locations, the most prominent of which is around Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia. They were reportedly first found in Australia in 1877. 


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The state gemstone of California, benitoite is known for its extreme rarity, sapphire blue color, and higher dispersion than diamonds. Gem-quality benitoite crystals are rare and expensive and only found in San Benito County, California.


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This gemstone was discovered in emerald mines in the Russian Ural Mountains, allegedly in 1834, on the day Czar Alexander II came of age. The American Gem Society notes it’s “often described as ‘emerald by day, ruby by night’” because it “changes color from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light.”


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This mineral was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, its namesake. It’s only found near Mount Kilimanjaro and is famed for its blue, violet, and rich purple hues that change depending on the viewing direction. 


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This extremely rare gemstone was first discovered in the 1960s in Mont St. Hilaire, Québec, Canada. It was named after the Poudrette family, which operated the quarry. The first gem-quality specimen was discovered in Mogok, Burma, in 2000. 

Blue Diamond

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Blue diamonds are rare gemstones that get their brilliant color from trace amounts of boron in the crystalline lattice structure. KGK notes, “The odds of finding a blue diamond in a mine are as rare as 1 to 10,000,” and that India was the lead producer until the 17th century. 


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This mineral is named after its discoverer, Richard Taaffe, who found it as a cut and polished gem in 1945 in a jeweler’s shop in Dublin, Ireland. It’s the only gemstone identified from a faceted stone and remains one of the rarest minerals in the world. Taaffeite can be distinguished from spinel by its double refraction. 


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This rare borate mineral was first discovered in Myanmar by Arthur C.D. Pain, who initially misidentified it as ruby. When it was confirmed as a new mineral in the 1950s, it was named after him. Painite is extremely rare and can cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per carat.

Paraiba Tourmaline

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The paraiba tourmaline is famous for its rarity and striking neon blue color, distinguishing it from other tourmalines. The high concentration of copper in this stone, which is mined in Brazil and Africa, is responsible for its highly coveted color. 


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This rare oxide mineral is used as a gemstone and is a member of the Taaffeite minerals. The National Gem Lab notes that “tested and certified faceted Musgravites are exceptionally rare” and that it’s difficult to distinguish from Taaffeite. Musgravite can sell for $35,000 per carat because of its rarity. 


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This rare silicate mineral was first discovered in Sri Lanka in 1902 and named after the country’s old Arabic name, Serendib. Cut serendibite stones are rare and usually small and come in a range of colors, including green, blue, and yellow. 


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This rare mineral seldom occurs as a facetable material, making it a prized collector’s gem despite its potential to make attractive and durable jewelry. It was only available as microscopic grains long after it was discovered in 1883 in Russia, but large, facetable crystals were discovered in Namibia in the 1970s. 

Demantoid Garnet

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Demantoids are one of the rarest garnet varieties, prized for their green color that rivals emeralds. They were discovered in Russia in the early 19th century and identified in 1854. Demantoids are prized for their greater brilliance and higher dispersion than diamonds, but some have a relatively low hardness of 6.5, making them prone to scratching. 

Sapphire (Padparadscha)

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Padparadscha is one of the rarest sapphires and gemstones, striking for its unique mix of orange and pink. In recent years, interest has grown in this sapphire, partly bolstered by Princess Eugenie’s 2018 padparadscha sapphire flower engagement ring.

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