10 Rare Gemstones – Rarer Than Diamonds

If you’re on the hunt for rare and attractive gemstones but aren’t sure where to look or what to look for, here’s a look at several rare gemstones rarer than diamonds.

Diamonds, despite grabbing a lot of the headlines, are not the be-all and end-all of the gemstone world. In fact, there are plenty of rare gemstones out there which are rarer than diamond, and some would argue, prettier as well.

Gemstones bring joy to people in a variety of ways. They can be worn as jewellery, they can be used as accessories, they can be gifts for loved ones, they can be used to mark celebrations and festivals, and a whole lot more on top of that.

If you’re on the hunt for rare and attractive gemstones but aren’t sure where to look or what to look for, here’s a look at several rare gemstones rarer than diamonds.

1. Burma Ruby

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamond

Burma Ruby gets its name because it comes from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Whereas all rubies are rare, the Burma ruby is particularly rare as it set the standard for colour and quality in the ruby world.

A lot of rubies are mined in Thailand, and because the conditions there are naturally rich in iron, this can result in the reds looking very dark and almost resembling a brown colour. The conditions in Myanmar however, are perfect because the rubies contain little trace iron. The end result is a ruby in a vivid and vibrant red colour.

Burma rubies work exceptionally well with silver, which is why a lot of Burma Ruby rings are silver rather than gold.

2. Tanzanite

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamond

Up next have Tanzanite.

When people think of rare blue rubies, they think of sapphire. While sapphire is indeed a very attractive blue gem, it isn’t the only blue gemstone on the block.

With brilliant blue hues and hints of violet, tanzanite more than holds its own against sapphire and is actually a great deal more affordable. Remember, just because a gemstone is rare, that doesn’t necessarily make it expensive.

Found only in a small part of Tanzania, this gem was discovered back in 1967 and quickly became very popular thanks to a marketing effort by Tiffany & Co.

3. Ammolite

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamond

Ammolite is a very new gemstone on the scene, as it was only discovered four decades ago, back in 1981.

Made from the aragonite shells of molluscs which are over 65 million years old, they display vibrant and shimmering colours in a whole variety of colours. This is what makes this gem so special, in that each specimen is unique because it can display any colour of the rainbow or any combination of colours of the rainbow.

Needless to say, the value for the gemstones increases when you encounter rare colours or combinations of colours. Interestingly, the value increases still, depending on how far the stone can be rotated with these colours still visible.

4. Natural pearls

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamond

Natural pearls in the ocean are now incredibly rare. In fact, you are more likely to find a natural pearl in an antique jewellery store than you are in the ocean.

Because of overfishing, pollution, and acidification of the oceans, natural pearls are very rare in the ocean, which is why they’re so valuable.

A good way to tell a natural pearl is to look for imperfections. Cheap and inferior pearls will be brilliant white and will be perfectly round and symmetrical. Natural pearls, however, will be misshapen and are often off-colour. It is the natural pearl’s imperfections that make it so perfect.

5. Opal

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Opal

Next on our list of rare gemstones is Opal, a hydrated amorphous form of silica.

Opal can be categorized into two classes, namely precious and common.

Play of colours (iridescence) can be seen in precious opals, common opal does not. Opals may vary in transparency, translucent, or opaqueness, and the background colour may be either white, black, or nearly any other colour of the rainbow.

Opals are rarest in black, while more commonly in white, grey, and green. An important determinant of opal quality is the regularity of sphere sizes and packing of spheres.

Another type of common opal is the milk opal, which is milky bluish to green in colour.

6. Paintine

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Painite

The mineral painite is one of the rarest borate minerals.

The price of painite can range from $50,000 to $60,000 per carat because of its rarity. Painite is comprised of calcium, zirconium, boron, aluminium, and oxygen. Zirconium and boron rarely occur in nature together, which accounts for the mineral’s rarity.

The crystals are naturally hexagonal in shape, and, until late 2004, only two had been cut into faceted gemstones.

7. Musgravite

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Musgravite

Musgravite is a rare oxide mineral used as a gemstone and forms part of the taaffeite family of minerals.

Its type locality is the Ernabella Mission, Musgrave Ranges, South Australia, for which it was named following its discovery in 1967.

Due to its rarity, the mineral can sell for roughly USD$35,000 per carat.

8. Jadeite

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Jadeite

Next found on our list of rare gemstones is Jadeite. This is a pyroxene mineral that has a Mohs hardness of about 6.5 to 7.0 depending on the composition. With a gravity of about 3.4, this mineral is dense.

Jadeite’s colour commonly ranges from white through pale apple green to deep jade green but can also be blue-green (like the recently rediscovered “Olmec Blue” jade), pink, lavender and a multitude of other rare colours.

Jadeite has formally be found in California; New Zealand; Guatemala; the US; Myanmar, and Japan. Other localities of this rare gemstone include Russia; British Columbia; Kazakhstan; Itlay and Turkestan.

9. Red Beryl

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Red Beryl

Formerly known as “bixbite” and marketed as “red emerald” or “scarlet emerald”, the Red beryl is very rare and has been found and reported in only a handful of locations. Such places include Wah Wah Mountains, Utah, Paramount Canyon, New Mexico, Sierra County and Beaver County.

In 1958 the greatest concentration of fem-grade Red beryl was discovered by Lamar Hodges. This historical Ruby-Violet claim was found in the Wah Wah Mountains of mid-western Utah.

Gem beryls are normally found in pegmatites and certain metamorphic rocks, whereas red beryl is found in topaz-bearing rhyolites.

10. Alexandrite

Rare Gemstones - Rarer Than Diamonds | Alexandrite

Last but not least on our rare gemstones list is the alexandrite. Depending on ambient lighting, this gem variety displays a colour change.

Because human vision is most sensitive to green light and least sensitive to red light, alexandrite appears greenish in daylight where the full spectrum of visible light is present, and reddish in incandescent light which emits less green and blue light.

This colour change is independent of any change of hue with viewing direction through the crystal that would arise from pleochroism.

Popular legend has it that the Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld (1792-1866) discovered alexandrite, and named alexandrite in honour of the future Emperor of All Russia Alexander II Romanov.