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Hidden Gems: The Exceptionally Rare

Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies might be first to spring to mind as the most coveted and widely collected gemstones in the world, however beyond these lies a rainbow of rare and valuable stones, all of which are certainly deserving of a place in your jewellery box, if you can track one down… 

Padparadscha Sapphire
Sapphires are usually known for their beautiful blue colour, but there are in fact several hues this gemstone can display. The rarest is the padparadscha sapphire, with pink and orange tones. 

The name derived from the Sinhalese word for “lotus flower,” referencing the blossom’s bright salmon-coloured petals. Padparadscha sapphires are typically found in Sri Lanka but have also been discovered in Tanzania and Madagascar. In 2018, Princess Eugenie revealed her engagement ring to be a padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds, a gorgeous piece estimated to be worth around £100,000-120,000.

Paraiba Tourmaline Leonard Joel Auction
Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline
The Paraiba gemstone is known for its rarity and striking neon blue colour. Part of the tourmaline family, it was discovered in Paraiba, Brazil in the 1980s. More recent discoveries have been made in Nigeria and eastern Africa, however Brazilian stones remain the most vibrant and sought after, with their prices sometimes exceeding $20,000 per carat. The largest example ever discovered is the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, weighing in at almost 192 carats and valued anywhere between
$25-125 million. 

Alexandrite
Alexandrite was first discovered in Russian emerald mines in the Ural Mountains and is one of the rarest and most expensive gemstones on earth. It is said to be named in honour of Czar Alexander II. Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes colour from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light – ‘emerald by day, ruby by night’.

Tsavorite Garnet
Tsavorite is the rarest and most expensive member of the garnet family. It was discovered in 1967 by British geologist Campbell R. Bridges and named by Harry Platt of Tiffany & Co. (New York) after the Tsavo Game Reserve in Kenya. The largest tsavorite on record is a 325.14 carat stone, valued at over 2 million USD. 

Red Diamond

Red Diamond
Red diamonds probably take the prize for the most expensive gems per carat in the world. The world’s largest red diamond discovered to date is the Moussaieff Red, which weighs 5.11 carats and was sold for $8 million at auction in 2001. It is estimated to be valued at over $20 million today.

In fact, a red diamond is so rare, that only 20 to 30 gem-quality red diamonds exist in the world. They have been mined in Africa, Brazil, and at the recently closed Argyle mine in Western Australia. Being so scarce, naturally they are considered a good investment if you can afford to be in the market!

By Rebecca Sheahan, Head of Fine Jewels & Timepieces

Top Image: A spectacular colour change alexandrite and diamond ring. Sold for $15,000

April 2024