We posted a blog recently regarding what makes a gemstone valuable, and we touched upon several popular gemstones that are becoming exceedingly rare due to their scarcity in the world. Our inner rock hounds wanted to dig a little deeper (pun intended), and so we continued our quest to find out more about other rare gemstones. Although there’s a good chance we may never see most of these in person, we can at least enjoy looking at pretty pictures and brushing up on fun gemstone facts!
1. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
Location found: Globe, Arizona
The Sleeping Beauty mine is known for its high-quality turquoise: a solid, light blue color with no matrix. Although the mine was once one of the largest in North America, yielding about 1600 pounds of turquoise a month, the gemstone supply is slowly being depleted. Due to its rarity, flawless pieces of Sleeping Beauty turquoise can now retail for as much as $300 per carat.
Location found: The foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Northern Tanzania.
This blue-purple stone is highly prized for its color-shifting properties, which depend on both the crystal’s orientation and lighting conditions. Due to the limited availability, Tanzanite may be mined out within 20-30 years. Current market value: $600-$1,000 per carat.
3. Black Opal
Location found: Lightning Ridge mine in New South Wales, Australia.
The brilliant play of color against a dark background, along with their relative scarcity, results in them being worth over $2,300 per carat. That’s more than certain diamonds!
Location found: San Benito River in San Benito County, California
The official stone of California, benitoite is unique in that it looks positively awesome under a UV light (see above), where it fluoresces a brilliant color reminiscent of glowing blue chalk. A coveted collectors’ gem, it is also sold in jewelry, though rarely available in sizes of one carat or more. Market value: $3,000-$4,000 per carat.
5. Red Beryl
Location found: Wah Wah Mountains, Utah
Red beryl (aka bixbite, “red emerald,” or “scarlet emerald”) has a similar chemical make-up to both emerald and aquamarine, but it is considerably rarer than both of those semi-precious gems. In fact, some say that even rubies of similar quality are roughly 8,000 times as plentiful as any given red beryl specimen. Because of this, red beryl’s market value can be anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per carat, making it the priciest gem on our list!
So there you have it. Maybe some day, when we win the lottery, we can add one of each of these to our stash of pretty gemstones! 😉
Thanks to discovery.com and io9.com for all the gemstone facts!