While the value of metals such as gold, platinum and silver fluctuate and go in and out of fashion as consumer taste demands, the desirability of gemstones appears to be constant, with almost any item of jewelry bearing a genuine gemstone seen as alluring and valuable, but what are the most precious gemstones?
Rich blue in color, tanzanite is very highly prized. Part of the reason for its popularity and high cost – around $600-1,000 per carat – is because it is only found in one place in the world, and that is in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. For this reason, it’s likely tanzanite will be mined out within the next 30 years, which will doubtless increase its value and make it more desirable.
Perhaps the most famous gemstone, and one that continues to fascinate many, is the diamond, the go-to gemstone for engagement rings and other jewelry given to signify affection. A diamond is pure carbon that has formed a diamond lattice, and it is this lattice which gives it its strength and durability.
The cost of a diamond varies depending on purity and other considerations, but roughly, a diamond can be priced at $15,000 per carat. The most expensive diamond – and gemstone – on the planet is the red diamond. With less than 30 of these striking stones available, a buyer can expect to pay a cool $1million per carat to own one.
Availability is, of course, the overarching factor when it comes to an item’s worth and desirability. This is why diamonds can be hugely expensive, but is also why alternatives to diamonds are being sought. For example, diamonds can be artificially manufactured, which is exactly what Jatin Mehta is doing with his company Pure Grown Diamonds.
Based in New York City, Pure Grown Diamonds grows synthetic diamonds using high-pressure, high-temperature and chemical vapor-deposition manufacturing methods. Although these diamonds are of a very high quality, the relative ease with which they’re manufactured means they can be offered at a price that is 20-30 percent lower than diamonds that have been mined.
A gemstone that is worth more per carat than the diamond and tanzanite is serendibite. Originally found in Sri Lanka at the start of the 20th century, this black gemstone is extremely rare and has a complex chemical makeup.
Grandidierite, valued at $20,000 per carat, is semi-transparent and a delicate light blue or turquoise in color, and is another gem that was found at the start of the 20th century, this time in Madagascar, and it’s very rare.
Many precious gems are bought once, perhaps twice, in a lifetime because their rarity and beauty makes them highly sought-after and therefore expensive, but modern manufacturing is helping to bring the costs of some precious stones down, making them that more affordable.