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Expensive Stones

Given the rare nature of some of the jewelry-making materials in the world, it’s unsurprising that certain ornaments can get a bit pricey. Here’s a short list of some of the rarest of those gems… and precisely how much you should expect to pay to have them adorn your neck.

One such stone is tanzanite, a blueish purple stone found exclusively in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. With such limited availability, tanzanite is valued between $600 and $1,000 per karat. But some other gemstones make tanzanite look like a bargain. Imperial jadeite, for example, is a rare green gem; the deeper the green hue, the more”imperial” — and by extension more expensive — the stone. The name jadeite may seem somewhat misleading since it sounds so similar to its semi-precious and relatively common cousin called “jade”.  But make no mistake; jadeite, which is found only in extremely limited quantities in Myanmar, has a market value of around $20,000 per karat. In 1997 one jadeite necklace sold for nearly $10 million.

The gemstone that far outstrips even jadeite’s per-karat cost is painite, named for mineralogist Arthur C.D. Pain, and it is one of the rarest gems on the planet. Until relatively recently, you could count the existing specimens on one hand (a feat that would actually require only two fingers). In the past decade a few more of these orange- and red-brown gems have been found in Myanmar, but they are still scarce enough that the gem will cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per karat to own.

There is one gemstone left that surpasses even Dr. Pain’s pricey discovery, but although it qualifies as the most expensive stone to date, it does not quite fit with the rest of this list.  Check back in a couple of days to find out just why that is!

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