What Is Worth More Than Diamonds – If you’re looking for something unique for your next jewelry purchase, check out these ten gems that are rarer than diamonds. How many have you heard?
There are many such gems which are rarer than diamond. However, very few people know what those gems are. If you’re looking for something unique for your next jewelry purchase, check out 10 Surprising Gemstones That You Wouldn’t Think Are Rarer Than Diamonds.
What Is Worth More Than Diamonds
With a rare and unusual colour, this Paraiba tourmaline center stone lives up to its hype. Its high copper content creates a bright blue color with a secondary violet tinge. When viewed under magnification, the colors of the stone can be intense. This gem comes from the mine of the first root. Photo courtesy of Shelly Sargent, Somewhere in the Rainbow Collection.
Types Of Diamond
Tanzanite’s intense violet-blue color can rival that of a subtle sapphire at a fraction of the price—and it’s a rare stone, too! Occurring only in a small area of Tanzania, this variety of zoesite has become quite prominent. After its discovery in 1967, it quickly became popular, thanks in part to the marketing efforts of Tiffany & Co. Depending on the viewing angle, this stone exhibits strong pleochroism, appearing blue, violet, or greenish-yellow to brown. Gem cutters orient these gems to have a blue or violet color. Although nearly all tanzanite undergoes heat treatment to produce its attractive blue color, this treatment produces a stable color that makes this stone desirable.
The deep blue in this 3.9-ct cushion-cut tanzanite rivals the fine blue sapphire. Photo by custommade. Used with permission.
All rubies are rare, but rubies from Myanmar (formerly Burma) set the standard for quality and color. They are rare too. While rubies from Thailand have a relatively high iron content, which can result in an extremely deep red color with brownish or purple overtones, the geological conditions of Myanmar typically produce rubies with very little trace iron. As a result, these gems are often deep red in color with stronger fluorescence than their Thai counterparts. However, a high-quality Thai ruby may rival the best from Myanmar. With a beautiful color nicknamed “pigeon’s blood”, these red gems are always in demand.
Emerald-cut rubies are uncommon, but what makes this 3-ct beauty unique is its provenance and lack of heat treatment. Set in a platinum ring, the deep red of this Burma ruby contrasts with bright diamond accents. © J. Grahl Design. Used with permission.
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Known for the bright electric green color of royal jade, jadeite can actually occur in a number of colors, including lavender, yellow, orange-red, blue, black, and colorless. Highly prized in the Chinese, Mayan and Maori cultures, this stone has an extensive set of legends. Jadeite’s value depends on its translucency and texture, with the highest quality material appearing like a water-soaked or a drop of colored oil. However, there is more subjectivity involved in determining the value of a piece of jade than with most gems. The artistry of the piece plays a very important role. There is a Chinese proverb: “Gold has value, jade is priceless.”
Discovered in 1830 in the Ural Mountains of Russia, alexandrite has the remarkable ability to change color. Due to trace amounts of chromium in the crystal structure, this stone appears emerald green to peacock blue in daylight but ruby to violet in incandescent light. At the time, the colors of Imperial Russia – red and green – were in style. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Russian elite wanted this stone. Named after Tsar Alexander, this variety of chrysoberyl is a rare stone. Although the discovery of alexandrite in Brazil and many other places has expanded the availability of this gemstone, it remains one of the rarest stones. A modern June birthstone, alexandrite remains popular and is often synthesized for jewelry use.
Peacock blue in the sunlight, this alexandrite shows a crisp, clear color and is best paired with pearls for a June birthstone pendant. Photo by custommade. Used with permission.
The bright saturated blue-green color of Paraiba tourmaline stunned the gem world in the 1980s. Its discovery in the Brazilian state of Paraíba prompted an influx of prospectors and miners to the area. The price per carat of these gems has increased rapidly and continues to increase. However, Brazil is not the only source of these neon stones. Similar geological conditions have produced these copper-clad gems in Mozambique and Nigeria. However, this type of tourmaline is one of the rarer gems.
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In 1981, the World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO) declared ammolite a new organic gemstone. Occurring in limited deposits in the Rocky Mountains, this gem material is rarer than diamond. Ammolite is formed from the aragonite shells of marine molluscs more than 65 million years old, which display bright, iridescent colors. Any color of the rainbow, or even the entire rainbow, may appear in a sample. The value of these unique gems increases for the rarer colors, more intense iridescence and color play, and how much the color can change how much of the stone is still visible. Today, Korite International mines most of the ammolite on the market.
At 4.2 x 2.2 cm, the ammolite in this pendant makes a statement. Watch the mesmerizing swirling color changes of ammolite in this slideshow. Embellished with diamonds and a 6mm Akoya pearl, this pendant is a showstopper even without matching earrings. “Garden of Giverny” © Korite International. Used with permission.
A soft, smooth, saturated blue color is characteristic of Kashmir sapphire. These gems have very fine rutile inclusions that create this soft appearance. The mines in the high Himalayas that once produced them dried up in the 1930s. As a result, the price of these extremely rare stones is rising high. Although very few people will be fortunate enough to own one of these gems, there are many pieces on display in museums. They are worth watching.
Once thought to be a Sri Lankan sapphire, this Kashmir sapphire traveled the world in the pocket of renowned gemologist Alan Hodgkinson as part of his teaching collection. After it was discovered to be an important Kashmir, confirmed by two gemological laboratories, it became part of the Somewhere in the Rainbow collection. 4.49-ct cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire, courtesy of Shelley Sargent, Somewhere in the Rainbow Collection.
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Pearls are everywhere, but without the cultured pearl industry, they would be nearly non-existent. Natural pearls are extremely rare and are becoming rarer every year. Due to overfishing, pollution and ocean acidification, natural pearls appear in ancient jewelry instead of in our planet’s oceans. Natural pearls are rarely round and often colorless. Therefore, while the standard of matching round pearl jewelry with cultured pearls is very high, natural pearl varieties will have more imperfections.
For a natural pearl, the roundness is very unusual. As a result, this specimen is highly valuable. © J. Grahl Design. Used with permission.
A cousin of emerald, aquamarine, and morganite, the red variety of beryl contains manganese, which gives it its bright red color. Once called bixbite, red beryl is one of the rarest and most desirable gemstones. With good wearing, this stone can make a great jewelry stone — if you can find one! Gem-quality red beryl occurs only in the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah, and most specimens are kept by mineral collectors and never exposed.
The 4.94-ct red beryl, or bixbite, is the second largest faceted specimen. It comes with Bixbyte Bixbyte – very cool! Acquired by Somewhere in the Rainbow, from the private collection of Alan Hodgkinson. Photo credit Sean Milliner. Courtesy of Shelley Sargent, Somewhere in the Rainbow Collection.
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This rare stone surpasses the rarity of diamond as well as its “fire” or dispersion. Combined with its often sapphire-blue color, it is no wonder it is a highly sought-after rare gemstone. Gem-quality benitoite occurs only in San Benito County, California (and is thus a natural substitute for California’s State Gem). When selecting a benitoite gemstone, buyers must decide between a deep and saturated sapphire blue with relatively little visible dispersion, or a lighter tone but bright fire gemstone.
This unique gem from California has more color saturation than most blue diamonds—and more fire! Set in white gold with a zirconium band entering the ring. Photo by custommade. Used with permission.
Looking for more gems that are rarer than a diamond? Check out our picks for Black Opal, Padparadsha Sapphire, Russian Demantoid, Oregon Sunstone, and Moldavite!
A geologist, environmental engineer, and graduate of Caltech, Edison’s interest in the fascinating and beautiful consequences of Earth’s geological processes began in his elementary school’s environmental club. When he’s not writing about gems and minerals, Addison studies ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking in the Colorado Rockies.
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