Gemologue: A Guide To The World’s Most Valuable Gems

There’s something about colors and shiny things that’s so hard to resist. It can be easy to get captivated by them that you can look at them for so long, just like being entranced. Perhaps, this is why people love having jewelry. And, to have colorful and shiny jewelry, you need to have gemstones.

When we hear gemstones, the first thing that comes to mind is the almighty diamond. But contrary to what you know, there are lots of other gemstones in the market that deserve the same respect. Here, we’ll walk you through the world’s most stunning gems. We’ll discuss their properties, history and pricing. So if you’re looking for a gemstone for yourself, congratulations, you’ve come to the right place.  Have a look at this selection of the world’s most valuable gems.

A Guide To The World’s Most Valuable Gems

But before we go down to business and dive into the vast world of gemstones, let’s first take a look at their beautiful beginnings.

Scientifically, you can define gems as minerals that people use to adorn themselves because of their beauty. These prized and precious stones hide under the Earth’s crust and develop through time through exposure to heat and pressure. Eventually, as the earth moves and volcanoes explode, they are brought nearer to the surface and discovered by humans. 

However, this definition was updated to show that gems can come from organics, too. Examples of these are amber, bone, ivory, and pearl.

Another impressive thing about these stones is that they come with unique chemical compositions. Aside from providing them with excellent colors and structures, their makeup also affects how they reflect light or absorb it.

Precious Stones vs Semi-Precious Stones

Back in the day, in the 1800s to be exact, people used to classify gems into two distinct categories: precious and semi-precious. This classification served as a way to determine the price point of the stones in a specific area. However, in the modern world, the value and pricing of the gems have changed. What matters now is the quality and rarity of the item.

What Are The 5 Most Precious Stones?

Sapphire brings brilliance to any ring, making it an ideal gift to celebrate any of life’s milestones.


Just like the saying goes, “diamonds are forever,” These stones might forever be the most sought after gemstone in the entire world. Diamonds are famous for their unparalleled sparkle and shine, as well as their transparency that gives them the ability to reflect light well. To understand the valuation of a diamond, you must look at the color, the cut, the clarity, and the weight of the carat.


Just like diamonds, sapphires are technically white. However, because of the presence of iron and titanium in its chemical composition, sapphires transform their color into a deep blue hue. These blue gems usually signify justice, truth, and wisdom. They also serve as the birthstone for all people born in September and are also used to mark 45th anniversaries.


Ask anyone to name a green gemstone, and their answer will surely be an emerald. They are widely famous for their beautiful shades of green, which signify hope, growth, life, and renewal. Because of how sensitive this stone is during cutting, jewelers made their way around and developed a unique emerald cut instead.


Often linked to love, passion, and romance, rubies are regarded by many for its unique deep red color that also symbolizes earlier values. Ruby is a favorite stone to partner with metal settings because they are versatile and can work well with gold, silver, white gold, platinum, and rose gold. It holds the highest regard amongst other colored gems, and it is the stone that usually go for high amounts during auctions.


Though this is not always a part of the top precious stones list, many experts include Alexandrite on their list of options. This stone has awe-inspiring optical effects, and it surprises many enthusiasts with the color changes it can do when exposed to different types of light. The ability to be reddish-purple or greenish-blue comes from all the iron, chromium, and titanium in the stone’s chemical composition.

What Are Semi-Precious Stones?

Technically, semi-precious is the term used to describe all the remaining stones outside the five we mentioned. Please note that this term does not necessarily mean that they are not that valuable. The reasons behind their classification are the following:

  • Their color may tarnish as time goes by, especially when exposed to temperatures, chemicals, or sweat.
  • Compared to precious stones, they also tend to be less hard, making them prone to chipping and scratching.
  • Generally, they are more available to the market.

What Are The Best Gems In The World?

There are numerous gems that you can find all over the world, and it can be hard to choose which one to select for your jewelry collection. Here are two lists of the most popular gemstones in the world to help you narrow down your search for the perfect gem. One answers the question, “What is the rarest gem on earth?”, while the other list shows the most expensive ones.

Based On Price

Emeralds are one of the most precious gems in the world. They are made famous by their awe-inspiring shades of green.

Tanzanite—$1,200 per carat

Relatively new compared to other diamonds in the market, Tanzanite got its name from its origins, Northern Tanzania. Discovered in 1967, Tanzanite possesses a beautiful blue color, almost similar to a sapphire. It is popularly known as one of the gemstones of people born in December. Discovered by Ali Juuyawatu, a local tribesman, the value of this gem is slowly increasing. Based on studies, the gem’s total supply will run out within the next two to three decades.

Black Opal—$9,500 per carat

Also known in the growing gemstones industry as one of the rarest gemstones 2019, the black opal is in the books for being a unique one in terms of its looks. Initially, though, the black opal hid within Australia’s Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. Easily recognizable through its blend of various dark colors, the black opal can be hard to identify, especially when other people love imitating them and producing fakes.

Red Beryl—$10,000 per carat

Colored with a beautiful blend of red, raspberry pink, and purple, the Red Beryl is a kind of beryl that is very hard to find. To have them on your hands, you have to scour the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah, USA. In terms of jewelry usability, this gem is around 7.5 to 8 in the hardness rating. This score means that it is perfectly wearable and ideal for a jewelry piece. However, because of its high value, it is better to have one safe as a part of a mineral collection instead of wearing it around.

Musgravite—$35,000 per carat

A gem so rare that it is extremely unlikely that you will encounter it in the market, the Musgravite is so hard to find that only ten specimens exist in the world, according to documentation. First discovered in 1967, Musgravite is native to the Musgrave Ranges of Australia, thus the name. 

Alexandrite—$70,000 per carat

Would you be amazed by a gemstone that can change its colors depending on the light? If your answer is yes, the Alexandrite can blow you away. This jewel looks red when you look at it under incandescent light, but it looks green under natural sunlight. This gem, which is also one of the five precious stones, entered the jewel scene in 1830. The Alexandrite came from Russia’s Ural mountains, and it got its name from Czar Alexander II.

Emerald—$305,000 per carat

Coming from the family of beryl minerals, emeralds share the same mesmerizing green color as the others. It is very famous worldwide, and it has consistently been one of the most valued colored gemstones for 5,000 years. Scientifically, its beautiful green colors come from the presence of vanadium and chromium. For a stone to fit the emerald description, the colors should range from green, bluish-green, and greenish-yellow.

Ruby—$1.18 million per carat

Famous for its beautiful deep red color, a ruby is celebrated all over the jewelry community because of its use in earrings, rings, and necklaces. Like other stones, rubies are products of mining, usually from the mountains of Australia, Nepal, Thailand, and Madagascar. In popular culture, rubies are often identified as the birthstone of people born in July and used to for 40th-anniversary celebrations.

Pink Diamond—$1.19 million per carat

Natural pink diamonds are gems that intrigue the entire community of jewel lovers. Their beautiful colors can stun any enthusiast, especially if they find out that the origins of the pink color are still unknown. Plus, pink diamonds are not available in a single shade of pink. They can come in various colors—where the darker the color, the higher the price.


Jadeite—$3 million per carat

Jade is known for its beautiful shades of green, but did you know that its most expensive variant can cost up to $3 million per carat? The Jadeite is also the most attractive type of jade because of the blending of its translucent deep green color, unlike its close relatives. However, when shopping for this gem, you might notice that its price can vary. The deeper the color and the more translucent it is, the higher the price will be.

Blue Diamond—$3.93 million per carat

Natural blue diamonds are the most expensive gemstone ever sold, and their tiny supply continually increases the prices. According to research, there are numerous reasons for diamonds to develop colors. For these blue stones, in particular, the boron’s presence changes the way the gem absorbs light, which makes it reflect the blue color. Where do blue diamonds come from? They are exclusively sourced from the Cullinan Mine in South Africa.

Based On Rarity

If purple is your favorite color, you can take your pick of amethyst, fluorite, tanzanite, and many others.


First on our list is this very hard-to-find gem discovered in Dublin, Ireland, in 1945. Taaffeite is a gemstone that most people do not know about—it’s because it’s so rare—about one million times more unique than the famous white diamond. In the modern world, you can find these in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. In terms of colors, a taaffeite looks light violet, but it is also almost clear. This gem is also quite hard—when tested in the Mohs Scale, it rated 8.5, which means it can satisfy in terms of durability.


First discovered in the 1960s, the Poudretteite hails from Mont St. Hilaire in Quebec. It got its name from the Poudrette family who owned the area where this gemstone was first discovered. If you look at its physical characteristics, this jewel has a very light pink color, making it appear more delicate and feminine. However, it scores quite low in terms of hardness, making it as sensitive to external factors as it looks.


The Jadeite must be the top choice for gemstone enthusiasts who are after stones that will sustain its quality for a long time. This beautiful green jewel is perfect for adding different forms of jewelry, and they will last for generations if you take care of them properly. History-wise, the Jadeite is highly regarded in the Maori, Meso-American, and Chinese cultures. This is because they associate this gem with medicinal, religious, and cultural traditions.

Red Beryl

Making its name as one of the most uncommon and gorgeous gemstones in the world, the Red Beryl is the embodiment of the word rare. Though it is known in the community as the red emerald, this gem is not a form of emerald, but an entirely different type of stone. Location-wise, miners can exclusively source the Red Beryl in New Mexico and Utah. But, according to experts, the Red Beryl with usable quality is only the one from Utah.


Often mistaken for a ruby, the Painite is a red gemstone discovered by Arthur C.D. Pain, a British gem dealer. He named it after himself, but Painite originated from Myanmar. Its colors can be described as garnet, dark red, brown, and red orange.

Black Opal

Seen as one of the most beautiful rare gemstones in the opal family, the Black Opal deserves the best type of care if you are lucky enough to land one. Its colorful pattern enhances its looks, most notably because the dark black background highlights the bright colors. If you are looking to have one for yourself, it is best to coordinate with reputable sellers with connections in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia where the stone originated.


A very rare strain that even top jewel enthusiasts might not get to see in their lifetime, the Benitoite deserves its spot on this list. Exclusively found in California’s San Benito County, the state made this beauty as its official gemstone in 1985. Physically, the Benitoite is distinguishable with its blackish-blue color that one might confuse it with something else, so it is crucial that you only do business with reputable companies.

Find The Right Gem For You

If purple is your favorite color, you can take your pick of amethyst, fluorite, tanzanite, and many others.

Each of the gemstones presented here has its appeal that is hard to say no to. From their colors, their fit for different settings, their histories to their modern meanings, the world’s most valuable gems are more than accessories. They deliver happiness and a surge of confidence to the wearer, making them worthy of the investment. Which one should you go for? Look around, research, and settle on what feels right for you, your tastes, your budget, and your needs.

An in case you’re planning to invest in precious stones but don’t know where to start, check out our guide “Investment in Stones: How to Invest in the Volatile Jewelry Market.”