Rare gemstones are some of the most interesting rocks and minerals in the world and most of them have a great story or a long history. As we continue to dig for resources, humans will continue to unearth new minerals for us rockhounds to ooh and ahh over.
Gemstones are comprised of a variety of rocks, minerals, and organic materials. With over 300 documented gems and more than 2,000 minerals, some are bound to be rarer than the rest. The classification and degree of imperfections in a stone or mineral help determine its value and associated rarity.
What makes something rare? Well, to sum it up, that gemstone would either have to be hard to obtain or incredibly good and remarkable in quality.
Rarest Gemstones List
We could easily list 20 of the most expensive and rare stones, but we’re going to stick to the current top ten rare gemstones in 2023. As with all items, the market fluctuates, and things change. Let’s dig in!
Alexandrite $12,000 Per Carat
This chrysoberyl variety was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830 and is one of the most well-known color-changing gemstones on the market. These gems are green in the sunlight and red in incandescent light.
Smaller varieties of alexandrite have been mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Asia but the highest quality comes from Russia. Without a doubt, specimens and faceted gem rough are the most rare and expensive.
Ruby $15,000 Per Carat
Rubies are among the most popular gemstones in the world and are known for their stunning shades of red. These beautiful red crystals can be found on all continents except for Antarctica, but the most valuable rubies hail from Asia.
Rubies with a high hue score and high saturation bring top dollar.
Diamond $15,000 Per Carat
We’re all relatively familiar with diamonds because Debeers has done a great job marketing these precious gemstones to the entire world. These babies are made of pure carbon, contributing to their strength and durability. While Diamonds are popular, rare and expensive specimens are discovered each year and the diamond industry typically gives them a unique name like “Eureka Diamond“.
Serendibite $18,000 Per Carat
This extremely rare mineral was discovered in Sri Lanka in the early 1900s but a new mine was discovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar. This precious gemstone is rarely found in facet-grade material. As you can imagine, when high-quality facet material makes it to the market it demands an extreme price per carat.
Jadeite $20,000 Per Carat
When rated on appearance, jadeite stands at the top of many lists. This stone is the most expensive variety of jade because the vibrant green translucent quality makes it significantly rarer which makes it worth much more.
The value of jadeite is based on the stone’s depth of color and transparency. We’ve heard tales that some incredible specimens sold for over $1 million per carat but most jadeite will sell for significantly less.
Grandidierite $20,000 Per Carat
The first reported grandiderite specimen was discovered in Southern Madagascar in 1902. Its hardness of 7.5 makes it ideal for jewelry since it is highly durable and scratch-resistant but finding gemstone-quality material is no easy task. Its scarcity makes it difficult to come by on the open market and when you have low supply and high demand from gemstone collectors you get extraordinarily high prices.
Taaffeite $35,000 Per Carat
This mineral is very rare, and it’s often confused with spinel. Interestingly, the gemstone was first discovered as a faceted stone in Dublin, Ireland – in 1945. Initially, the stone was mislabeled as spinel before it was identified correctly. The double refraction found in taaffeite is an easy way to tell the difference between the two.
Blue Garnet $1,500,000 Per Carat
There are only a few deposits where blue garnet has been found- Madagascar, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. Blue Garnet is another magical color-changing stone; they appear blue-green in natural daylight and turn purple when illuminated by unnatural light. The estimated price per carat of high-quality specimens is 1.5 million dollars. In 2003, the most expensive stone, weighing 4.2 carats, sold for 6.8 million dollars.
Red Diamond $2,000,000 Per Carat
The diamond has already been featured on this list, but the red diamond is rarer and worth more. The price tag reads higher than $1-2 million per carat and there are less than 30 red diamonds known worldwide.
Australia is home to the only deposit containing red diamonds, The Argyle Mine.
Blue Diamond $3,705,600 Per Carat
With a value of over 3 million dollars, the blue diamond takes the cake for being the most expensive rare gem available on the market today. These blue precious gemstones have unique shades of blue and the dispersion from the facets makes it a spectacular gemstone to see and hold. The largest, vivid blue diamond to be auctioned weighed 14.26 carats and sold for 57.7 million dollars.
Rarest Gemstones By Color
- Black Opal
- Imperial Topaz
Why Are Emeralds The Rarest Gemstone?
Emeralds are formed by incredibly unusual elements, including Vanadium and Chromium, which are attributed to their highly sought-after vivid blue-green hues. To form an Emerald, the elements must crystalize alongside beryllium which is another rare element. However, these elements don’t occur together naturally underground, so when they DO come together, it’s a rare occurrence.
What Is The Rarest Mineral On Earth?
Kyawthuite is the rarest mineral on Earth. A total of one crystal has been found in the Mogok region of Myanmar. This 1.61-carat stone was officially recognized by the International Mineralogical Association in 2015. Little is known about this rare mineral. You could argue it’s the loneliest gemstone on Earth because there is only one.
Are Diamonds The Rarest Gemstone on Earth?
Diamonds are prized and valued for their rarity but they’re not the rarest gem in the world. I’m not saying fancy blue diamonds and red diamonds are not rare but there are gems mined in a single location with very little supply which makes them more “rare”.