While it may seem Greek to some, the grandidierite, majorite or painite are just a few of the world's rarest gemstones. And while some may be considered costly, others are surprisingly affordable thanks to their general anonymity to the public. However, each of these rare gemstones represents an exclusivity that can only be attributed to a handful of gems.
The Guinness Book of World Records has declared the painite the rarest of all gems in years past. In fact, less than 20 of the specimen were known to exist. The painite gem which has been tagged as Specimen No. 5 was fashioned into an oval weighing 2.54 carats. It is the painites' few numbers that make it rare, not necessarily its coloring, which appear brownish in color. However, the gem also has pleochoric attributes, meaning it changes hues from different angles. At the right angle, a painite can also appear pink to red. The painite was named after Arthur Charles Davy Pain, the British gemologist who discovered the gem in Myanmar.
Found primarily in Madagascar, the grandidierite's bluish-green characteristics can easily be mistaken for a serendibite gem. In fact, one such grandidierite stone was mistaken for a serendibite and sold just a few years ago. Considered trichoric, the gems emanate a blue, green and white light.
Easily confused with serandite, the serendibite comes from Sri Lanka and displays a cyan color. Only three have been discovered thus far and occur in .33, .55 and .56 carats. This stone possesses an unusual combination of calcium, aluminum, boron, silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. The smaller .33-carat stone was sold for approximately $14,300 per carat.
With only a handful in existence, the taafeite reflects a mauve-purple-red color. Fewer than ten of the red variety have been discovered. The first taaffeite, discovered by Irish gemologist Edward Taaffe, was uncovered in a box of spinels in Sri Lanka in 1945. Uncharacteristic of spinels, the taafeite displays a double refraction. The lighter colored stones can sell on market for as little as $500.
Some taaffeite owners may actually be in the possession of a musgravite, which is considered even rarer than the taaffeite. Similar in appearance to the former, less than 10 were known to be in existence just a few years ago. Discovered in the early 1990s at the Musgrave Range in South Austrailia, the musgravite mineral has also been found in Greenland, Madagascar and Antarctica.
Designated California's state gemstone 20 years ago, the benitoite has a blue appearance and a dispersion characteristic similar to a diamond. Found only in San Benito County, the largest benitoite stone is more than 15 carats, however, they rarely occur larger than one carat. These smaller stones retail between $500 to $2,000 per carat.
While diamonds are not all that rare, fancy diamonds, are those that are strongly colored are quite exceptional. Red is considered the most rare of the fancy colored diamonds. Less than 35 are known to exist. They are considered so priceless; these stones are largely unavailable for sale. The Moussaieff Red, the largest fancy red diamond at 5.11 carats was cut from a 14-carat rough found in Brazil and displayed at the Smithsonian. Other fancy diamonds occur in shades of yellow, green, orange, blue, gray, black, and pink, to name a few. Nearly 10,000 colorless diamonds are sold to nearly one carat fancy diamond.
Formed hundreds of miles beneath the earth's surface or from the blast of a meteorite's impact, the majorite, or a purple form of garnet, was discovered in the Coorara meteorite near Eucla, Western Australia in 1970. Just a few years ago, the uncut majorite from the Chantonnay meteorite in France was being sold for $2,400 per carat.
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