Gemstones have long been a reflection of status and wealth. As far back as there have been kings and queens, there have been gems. Be that necklaces, earrings or bracelets, people have been adorning themselves with jewels for thousands of years.
Gemstones are graded by color intensity, hue and tone. Only four gemstones in the world are classified as precious: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Precious gemstones are extremely rare and very expensive. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. Semi-precious gemstones include: amber, amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, garnet, peridot, topaz, turquoise, and many other gems that have been popular for making jewelry. Here are five of the rarest (and most expensive) gemstones in the world:
Australia is known as the most important supplier of opals. Nearly 95 percent of all opals come from Australian mines. The remaining five percent come from Mexico, Brazil and United States. Black opals have been desired throughout the ages. However, this semi-precious gemstone is getting harder to find. Miners are now finding much more semi-black opals rather than dark black ones. Black opals are extremely rare and can appreciate by 20 percent each year.
Red Beryl Emerald
Also known as the scarlet emerald, Red Beryl can mos commonly be found in the Thomas Range and Wah Wah Mountains of Utah. It has also been sited in Mexico, where it occurs on rhyolite, crystallized under low pressure and high temperature. Red Beryl is very rare and prices for this gem can be as high as $10,000 per carat for faceted stones.
Another Australian native, musgravite, is named after the Musgrave Ranges in Australia where it was first discovered. Musgravite is a member of the taaffeite family. Its color ranges from white to a beautiful violet color. Only laboratories with X-ray fluorescence can distinguish taaffeite from musgravite. There are currently only eight specimens of musgravite in the entire world.
Grandidierite was first discovered in Sri Lanka back in 1902. Initially mistaken for serendibite, this bluish, green gemstone was named after French explorer Alfred Grandidier, who studied the geography and natural history of Madagascar. This breathtaking gemstone is a trichroic and transmits blue, green and white light.
The rarest of the garnet family, blue garnet was discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. Today, it can be found in parts of the United States, Russia, Kenya, and Turkey. Blue garnet has relatively high amounts of vanadium. As a result, it changes color from blue-green in the daylight to purple in incandescent light.
Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.