Gemstones are valued not only because of their appearance and sturdiness but also rarity; in fact, rarity is the most valued quality of gemstones. The rarer the gem, the more it’s prized. While diamond is deemed the rarest gemstone, there are plenty of other gemstones rarer than it. The primary reason for the utmost popularity of this gemstone is its marketing as regards its rarity.
However, it doesn’t mean that diamond isn’t rare enough to be adorned by your beautiful self. It’s just that diamond is rare but surely not the rarest stone in the world. This article helps apprise the uninitiated about color gemstones that are rarer than diamonds. So, before you take the plunge for your next jewelry piece, it’s good to be up-to-date.
Tanzanite – A One-off From Tanzania
In the ocean of rarest gemstones lies a thing of beauty that defines rarity like nothing else does. What transcends tanzanite from diamond as regards rarity is the mere fact that the former is over 1000 times more rare than the latter. While other gemstones have multiple mines in different countries, tanzanite has mines only in one place on earth where it was discovered- Tanzania.
This rare stone is also known as the ‘gemstone of a generation’ because this might be the last generation to get it from the primary market. As per a local Tanzanian geologist, tanzanites are so rare that the conditions that set the stage for their formation are highly unlikely to be occurring again. Well, believe me, it’s the bare minimum to expect of this rarest gemstone in the world.
As if this isn’t enough, what’s even more upsetting about this gemstone is that it might go extinct in a few decades. The local Tanzanian geologist evaluates that at the current rate of mining, the available supply of tanzanite might deplete within the next few decades. This level of rarity makes this rarest gemstone the first on our list. Let’s move on to the next one now.
Burmese Rubies – Rare Birds
Many gemstones are coveted because of their color but none matches the intensity of Burmese rubies. Ruby is the most sought after gemstone that can fetch the highest prices of any color gemstone. While all rubies are rare, the ones from Myanmar (earlier known as Burma) are the rarest gemstones. Stones from Myanmar are conspicuously known for their quality and value.
Burmese rubies set the standard among rubies from other regions for color and quality. These rare stones stand out profoundly in terms of their vivid red color and strong fluorescence. Burmese rubies are rarer than diamonds because of their exceptional scarcity. That’s the reason why your gem enthusiast friend never stops singing praises of his/her Burmese ruby, calling it the rarest gemstone in the world.
The ones with the richest red color are nicknamed ‘pigeon blood’. No doubt they command a premium in the market. So, let’s set the ball rolling for the next color gemstone which is rarer than diamond.
Kashmir Sapphire – In A Class Of Its Own
One of the most notable sources of sapphires is Kashmir, also known as the paradise on earth. While sapphires are mined abundantly all over the world, the ones from Kashmir are considered the rarest gemstones of them all. Kashmir sapphires are coveted because of their extremely beautiful blue color and get the highest premium because they set the standard for these celestial blue gems.
The story of the rarity of Kashmir sapphires leaves you with a sense of disappointment, just like that of tanzanites. The mines that once produced these rare stones ran dry in the 1930s. While those who have the privilege of owning Kashmir sapphires esteem the gemstones for their beauty, others make frequent visits to museums that have these stones on display. Some of these rarest gemstones even sell for over $200,000 a carat.
Although stones from Myanmar, Madagascar and Sri Lanka are also treasured for their top quality, stones from Kashmir remain a cut above the rest because of their soft saturated blue hues. The soft, velvety appearance of a Kashmir sapphire can be attributed to its silk inclusions that scatter light, creating a glow that minimizes extinction. Those who possess a Kashmir sapphire regard it as the rarest gemstone in the world. Time for the next rare gemstone?
Alexandrite – Nothing Short Of Magic
If you’re the kind of person who fancies magic tricks, you’re going to love this one. Named after Czar Alexandar, alexandrite is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. It’s one of the rarest gemstones that are known for their remarkable color-changing property. The color of this gemstone changes from green to bluish-green in daylight to red to purplish red in incandescent light.
The secret behind the gemstone’s magic trick is the presence of chromium in trace proportion in its crystalline structure. Though the gemstone’s original source went almost deplete within a few decades of mining, its discovery in a few other locations maintained its availability. However, the reason why alexandrite is still considered a rarer stone than diamond has a lot to do with its formation.
The formation of alexandrite requires both beryllium – one of the rarest elements – and chromium. Now, the crux here is that both these elements rarely occur together in geological conditions where they can interact or in the same rocks. Therefore, as the renowned GIA states of this rarest gemstone in the world, alexandrite is nature’s magic trick. Time to move on to the last color gemstone rarer than diamond on our list.
Paraiba Tourmaline – Rare As Hen’s Teeth
There’s a powerful reason why this gemstone is the last on our list of color gemstones rarer than diamonds – only one paraiba tourmaline is mined for every 10,000 diamonds. This is one of those rarest gemstones that have only a few mines compared to others that have deposits all over the world. Paraiba tourmaline’s crystals form under peculiar conditions with great proportions of trace elements like manganese and copper.
The presence of the element copper in trace proportion is the X-factor for this rare stone. Although copper influences the color of other gems, paraiba tourmaline is the only variety of tourmaline in which this element acts as a coloring agent. Thus, this variety of tourmaline is indisputably the rarest gemstone one could ask for. Both rarity and scarcity of paraiba tourmaline have worked wonders in increasing the price of this gemstone.
Those who had purchased paraiba tourmalines in the late 1980s have resold these rarest gemstones several times their original price. In the present times, people use paraiba tourmalines in a variety of fashions. So, these were 5 of the best color gemstones that leave behind diamonds in respect of rarity.
The Bottom Line
It was in 1947 when the advertising copywriter Mary Frances Gerety wrote a slogan for De Beers – ‘a diamond is forever’ – that set the scene for the ever-so prodigious popularity of diamonds. Imagine what would have been the scene if any of these rarest gemstones were even 0.1% as popular as diamonds.