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5 of the Rarest Gemstones You've Probably Never Heard Of

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but when it comes to gemstones, they are far from rare. While diamonds still remain the most coveted among brides-to-be, colored gemstones are sweeping the jewelry market by storm in all their beautiful glory. When most of us think of colored stones, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires usually land at the top of the list. Yet there is a untapped world of dazzling gems to choose from and it would be a pity not to explore them. In fact, some gemstones are so rare you’ve probably never heard of them.

Take a look at five of the rarest stones on the planet that give diamonds a run for their money.

Serendibite

By all accounts, you might mistake this stone for it’s more common looking cousin Onyx. But to do so would give no justice to Serendibite.

 

The first discovered in 1902 by rare gem specialist D. P. Gunasekera in Sri Lanka, at the time, only two small specimens were identified. Later in the 1990’s a smaller batch was discovered in the Mogok stone tract of Northern Myanmar.

 

Stones from Sri Lanka are more translucent with a greenish hue.  Those from Northern Myanmar have a distinct dark blueish green color and tend to be opaque.

Black Opal

More expensive than diamonds, Black Opals are so rare, 95% of the world’s collection are found in one place–Lightening Ridge, Australia. 

 

Legend has it Cleopatra wore a large Black Opal amulet when Marc Antony laid eyes on the royal Queen. There is no denying the colorful allure of these rare stones have mesmerized people for thousands of years.

While not technically gemstones, Black Opals consist of layers of silica which give them their brilliant coloring.

Benitoite

Benitoite has been found in various pockets around the world including Japan and Arkansas, but true gem quality Benitoite is only found in a small mining claim inside California’s San Benito Valley.

 

While this stone normally casts a delicious shade of blue, under UV light this gem really struts its stuff by turning an intense electric blue color.  

Discovered in 1907, this rare stone is usually found in small sizes, although occasionally a flawless gemstone is known to surface, such as the whopping 6.25 carat stone stolen from Zurich’s International Airport. To this day, the stolen stone remains missing.

Alexandrite

More valuable than emeralds, sapphires, or rubies, Alexandrite is officially the world’s most expensive gemstone.

 

Although originally discovered by a Finnish mineralogist in 1938, Alexandrite was named in honor of the soon to-be Russian Czar Alexander on his sixteenth birthday.  Prized for its color-changing ability, Alexandrite appears sea green in daylight and takes on a deeper raspberry hue when exposed to incandescent light.

 

Stones larger than 5 carats are thought to only be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia and in parts of Brazil. Other smaller Alexandrite deposits have been found in India, Madagascar,  Tanzania & Sri Lanka.

Tanzanite

Found exclusively at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzanite is said to be 1,000 times rarer than a diamond.

 

Like its cousin Alexandrite, Tanzanite also has color-changing properties. It is also only the stone on this list where heat treatment is an acceptable means of enhancing its color without affecting its price.

 

Tanzanite was discovered in the 1960’s and named after its country of origin by Louis C. Tiffany who declared the stone to be the most beautiful stone discovered in over 2,000 years.

 

Given the small area of mining and the rate at which it is being unearthed, it is called a ‘generation stone’ because this will be the last generation able to buy Tanzanite before the supply is depleted.

Buyer Beware: In 2010, Tanzania made any export over 1 gram illegal. If any store or person selling uncut Tanzanite weighing 1+ grams most likely smuggled it out of the country illegally.

Despite the rarity of these stones, most can be purchased at reasonable prices due to their lack of demand.  If you are a collector or simply a lover of gemstones, any one of these five rare beauties would be wonderful addition to any stone or jewelry collection.