Did you know that some gems are up to 3.2 billion years old? The rarity and beauty of gemstones make them an appealing addition to anyone’s jewelry collection. But not all gemstones are alike in terms of their value or availability.
While just about everyone has heard of diamonds and rubies, there are other impressive gemstones. Read on to learn about eight cool and rare gemstones!
1. Black Opal
While most opals tend toward white or gray, the black opal is an extremely rare gemstone — and the rarest of the opals. Don’t let the name fool you, however. These gemstones are prized precisely because they are not solidly black.
Most black opals are located in a specific part of Australia: Lightning Ridge. And what sets these rare gemstones apart from other types of opals is their intense colors.
Because these opals contain iron oxide trace elements as well as carbon, they can create a bigger spectrum of colors. And it might surprise you to learn that darker black opals actually produce more vivid colors.
2. Red Beryl
A popular choice among gem collectors, red beryl is a rare gemstone found in the mountains of Utah. This coveted gemstone rarely makes it to jewelry, however, due to its rareness. As a result, you can expect to pay a lot if even a lower-grade red beryl gemstone becomes available.
These gemstones tend toward a raspberry color due to the manganese in their composition. If you do find a faceted red beryl, know that its weight will likely be under a carat because of how it must be mined. With such specific geothermal conditions required to produce red beryl, it is among the rarest gemstone types available today.
If you love sapphire blue, you’ll love this unique gemstone. Benitoite is known for having an intense, saturated hue that outshines even a diamond. The gem also can appear with more of a pinkish hue, as well as softer versions of blue.
Many of the best examples of this gemstone come from an area between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In fact, benitoite is the state gem of California.
Tourmaline is a stunning type of gemstone that can be green, yellow, pink, or even black. Its range of colors, even within one stone, makes it visually striking.
People also treasure this gemstone for its healing properties. Tourmaline can promote compassion and positive energy thanks to its wide range of colors. Find out more on tourmaline, which also is an October birthstone, if you are looking for a valuable gemstone to add to your collection.
5. Natural Pearl
You may already own a pair of pearl earrings, and it’s easy to find jewelry and decorative objects that incorporate pearls. But natural pearls are a different story.
If you own any antique jewelry featuring pearls, there is a better chance that those pearls could be natural. Due to overfarming, the availability of natural pearls has decreased dramatically. Less than 1% of all pearls are considered natural.
The natural pearl has become one of the most valuable gemstone options simply because it’s getting harder to find. Most pearls available today have been created with human intervention. But natural pearls are generated naturally by oysters, and they tend to have thicker skin.
6. Pink Diamonds
Yes, diamonds are a fairly common choice for engagement rings and other types of fancy jewelry. But have you ever seen a pink diamond? This type of diamond has sold for over $71 million at auction because of its rarity!
While there is no consensus as to how the diamonds become pink, the leading theory relates to the amount of pressure these diamonds experience when they are formed. Like other diamonds, pink diamonds are assessed according to their color, clarity, and cut. Most of these rare gemstones come from a diamond mine in Australia.
Hailing from the country of Tanzania, tanzanite is a valuable gemstone known for its ability to display multiple colors at once. In other words, while the gemstone might appear to be blue, it also can show burgundy and violet when held at the right angle.
The December birthstone, tanzanite is mined in an area near Mount Kilimanjaro and was discovered in 1967. Soon after, jewelers began to introduce this rare gemstone into their offerings. Today, it has achieved popularity which makes it among the most sought-after behind better-known gemstones like rubies and emeralds.
The main point of attraction is the brilliant color. Depending on the lighting, this gemstone can skew more toward violet or blue. The more intense and saturated the blue, the more expensive the particular tanzanite gemstone will be.
This rare gemstone is found in limited quantities in the Rocky Mountains and parts of Canada. Jewelers love this gemstone for its ability to produce an entire spectrum of colors. Made from the shells of mollusks, ammolite has an iridescent quality that looks delicate at first glance.
Most commonly, ammolite gemstones display a green or red color. Those that skew toward cooler blues tend to be even rarer and more expensive. Ammolite also is considered one of the newer gemstones and was officially recognized as such by industry experts in 1980.
Learn More About Rare Gemstones
Rare gemstones offer exquisite color intensity — but they can come at a steep price. Many, like red beryl or benitoite, are only mined in small regions. And since all of these gemstones are rare, it can be challenging to find any that have been faceted for jewelry purposes.
For more unique facts about precious objects, check back for the latest articles!