10 Gemstones You've Probably Never Heard Of
Updated: May 3
If you’ve been scrolling through Pinterest and saving diamond engagement ring ideas, scrap them all! For generations, we have all had it in our brains that the words “diamond” and “engagement ring” go side by side, (thanks a lot De Beers). But nowadays, couples are looking for something different and eye-catching to commemorate their love. Unique rings including colored gemstones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are on the way in! Diamonds, make some room for these new options:
Benitoite was discovered in 1907 in California near the San Benito River, which is where it got its name. It is usually blue in color, making it look similar to a Sapphire but Benitoite is much rarer. Small amounts have been found around the world, but the San Benito mine is the only location where gem-quality material has been mined. I am currently finishing up a client’s ring which includes this rare gem!
Tourmaline is a broad term for a group of crystals that come in a range of colors. Paraiba, on the other hand, is a rare and expensive type of tourmaline. Found in Brazil, this gem is renowned for its intensely vivid blue-green color. Our Bridgette earrings contain one of these precious gemstones!
Also known as “Dark Opal”, these gems have a dark body color that makes the contrasting rainbow colors shine much brighter. Black opals are extremely rare because they can only be found in Australia. The array of colors in Black Opal make it a great option for unique jewelry and engagement rings.
Tanzanite was originally called Blue Zoisite but was renamed after the only country it can be found in, Tanzania. The name tanzanite refers to the dark blue and violet color variety of the zoisite mineral. This gem became a popular blue gem in the 1960s when it started being utilized by Tiffany & Co.
Alexandrite is a relatively rare, expensive mineral of the chrysoberyl family that was originally found in Russia. It is well known for its “chameleon” abilities, changing color in different lights.
The most distinct color transitions start with a green to blue-green color in daylight. Lower lighting will bring out a purplish-red color.
Red beryl or bixbite (also known as red emerald or scarlet emerald) is a red variety of Beryl. It was named after the mineralogist Maynard Bixby. The color is predominantly red of various shades such as strawberry, bright ruby, cherry, and sometimes orange. These gemstones are often small, with the average weight of cut material is 0.1 to 0.4 carats. Quality red beryl is so rare that the largest faceted gemstones are usually less than three carats!
Padparadscha sapphire gemstones are the king of the fancy sapphire gemstone family. The exact color of a fine padparadscha sapphire is debatable amongst gem dealers and gemologists. The orange-pink or pinkish-orange color of the Padparadscha sapphire is said to resemble the color of a lotus flower blossom. What is not in debate is the beauty of a very fine quality padparadscha gemstone. For the purists, the only true source of the padparadscha is Sri Lanka. Most padparadscha and orange sapphires are heat-treated and are color permanent. Natural color gemstones of vivid intense color will command very high prices.
One of the most magnificent qualities of Grandidierite other than its extreme rarity would have to be its color of light blue neon saturation that can be compared to other world’s most valuable and most beautiful gemstones such as Paraiba tourmalines or crystal Blue apatite, however unlike these other 2 gemstones, Grandidierite exhibits pleochroism meaning that the intensity of the blue saturation changes as light enters it from different angles reflecting off different blue hues shown in the picture below, this is considered to be a rare feature of a gemstone and adds to its uniqueness.
First created in the 1930s, jadeite is used for all types of things, but most commonly dishware and kitchenware. It first became popular in the Victorian era, then fell out of style for a time until World War II when glass companies found it could be stylish, plus affordable, to make. Now it’s a trendy option for beautiful jade-looking jewelry!
As you may remember from my colored diamonds blog, red diamonds are the rarest of the rare. A red diamond is a pure carbon gemstone, featuring none of the chemical impurities that create other kinds of colored diamonds. Very few mines produce red diamonds. Africa, Australia, Brazil, and India are the areas known for having produced red diamonds. Of these areas, the Argyle mine in Western Australia is responsible for several famous red diamonds. Only a handful of pure red diamonds are found each year.