The most expensive mineral in the world is Jadeite, coming in at a whopping $3 million per carat. What makes this mineral so expensive is its rarity and its beauty. Jadeite gemstones range in a variety of green colors, some with greenish-white hues, and others are white with green spots.
Each stone is unique, yet unmistakably Jadeite. Jadeite is found within the precious mineral gemstone Jade. In ancient times, Jadeite was used to make axe heads as well as for jewelry. One jadeite jewelry item sold at auction for the astounding price of $9.3 million in the late 1990s.
The world’s most expensive minerals are judged on their scarcity, composition, color, and clarity. Some are so durable they can be used in expensive drilling equipment while others are so brittle, they can only be used in luxury jewelry.
Read on for our list of the 10 most expensive minerals in the world, including the chemical composition they are made from, the mines they come from, and the properties that make them so ridiculously expensive.
List of Most Expensive Minerals
Here’s our list of the 10 most expensive minerals in the world:
- Jadeite – $3 Million Per Carat
- Red Diamonds – $2 million per carat
- Serendibite – $1.8 Million Per Carat
- Blue Garnet – $1.5 Million Per Carat
- Painite – $55,000 Per Carat
- Gold – $1,790 Per Ounce
- Platinum – $1050 Per Ounce
- Rubies – $435 Per Gram
- Diamond – $1,800 Per Carat
- Rhodium – $401 Per Gram
Whether you’re looking to invest in expensive minerals or just want to know how wealthy people like to spend their money, you’ve come to the right place. We have all the details you need!
10. Rhodium – $401 Per Gram
Rhodium, believe it or not, is one of the rarest elements hiding beneath the Earth’s surface. And it’s this rarity that really impacts its price and how it’s used commercially.
Now, you might think that rhodium is mainly used for fancy jewelry and decoration, like getting it plated onto white gold or platinum to make it all shiny and reflective. But the truth is, its commercial uses are what really make this mineral super expensive.
One big way it’s used is in the automotive industry. They use it in something called catalytic converters, which are like magical devices that turn harmful gases into less harmful ones. In fact, back in 2012, out of all the rhodium used in the world, a whopping 81% of it went straight into making those converters for cars. The rest of it found its way into things like glassmaking and chemicals.
Now, on its own, rhodium might not seem all that impressive. It’s got this silvery-white color, nothing too flashy. But trust me, it’s in huge demand, and that’s what makes it one of the most expensive minerals out there.
9. Diamond – $1,800 Per Carat
Diamonds are super precious and made of pure carbon. Talk about expensive bling! People go crazy for them because they’re rare, stunning, and can be turned into fancy jewelry. Want to know a cool fact? They are formed way down in the Earth’s mantle and then get shot up to the surface during volcanic eruptions. How crazy is that?
So, why are diamonds so special? They’re like the VIPs of gemstones. They’re used in all kinds of fancy jewelry, especially engagement rings. But that’s not all! They are also handy in industries like drilling and cutting because they’re super hard and tough.
Now, here’s the deal when it comes to valuing diamonds. It all comes down to the “four Cs.” First up, we’ve got the cut. It’s all about how the diamond is shaped and polished. A well-cut diamond will shine like crazy when light hits it. Then we’ve got color. The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is.
Oh, and let’s not forget about clarity. That’s all about how clear or flawless the diamond is. The clearer, the better! And finally, carat weight. That’s just a fancy way of saying the size of the diamond. The bigger, the pricier!
So, how much can diamonds go for? They can sell for a jaw-dropping $1,800 per carat! But remember, it all depends on the quality and size of the rock. So, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of these precious gems, you’re in for a real gem of a time!
8. Rubies – $435 Per Gram
Ruby is a pinkish-red to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide). Ruby is one of the most popular traditional jewelry gems and is very durable. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems, alongside amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond.
The quality of a ruby is determined by its color, cut, and clarity, which, along with carat weight, affect its value. The brightest and most valuable shade of red called blood-red or pigeon blood, commands a large premium over other rubies of similar quality.
After color follows clarity: similar to diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. Ruby is the traditional birthstone for July and is usually pinker than garnet, although some rhodolite garnets have a similar pinkish hue to most rubies. The world’s most valuable ruby to be sold at auction is the Sunrise Ruby.
A flawless high-quality ruby can go for up to $1,000,000 a carat with examples of the finer stones going for much more when placed in an enhanced setting for jewelry with precious metals. A large Burmese ruby recently sold for a whopping $30 million.
7. Platinum – $1050 Per Ounce
Platinum is a super valuable metal that’s pretty hard to come by. People love it because it’s stunning, tough, and can be used for all kinds of stuff. You’ll find platinum in all sorts of things like fancy jewelry, car parts, medical gear, and even electronics. It’s a real multitasker!
Platinum is a soft and dense metal that doesn’t rust easily and can handle crazy high temperatures. It’s shiny and silvery-white, catching everyone’s eye.
You won’t find a ton of platinum hanging around in the Earth’s crust, usually, it’s mixed in with other pricey minerals like gold and palladium. The big mining hotspots for platinum are South Africa, Russia, and Canada. They get it out of the ground through a process called platinum smelting.
Now, the price of platinum can really bounce around depending on what’s going on in the world. Things like supply and demand, how the economy’s doing, and even political unrest can mess with the price.
As of June 06, 2023, you were looking at about $1,050 per ounce of platinum. That’s definitely up there with the most expensive minerals in the world, along with gold and other precious metals.
6. Gold – $1,790 Per Ounce
Gold has been super popular for ages because it’s this soft, yellow metal that everyone goes crazy for. It’s rare and doesn’t rust or get all gross-looking, so it’s perfect for fancy jewelry and making coins.
Not only that, but gold is also great at conducting electricity, so it gets used in a bunch of electronic stuff, it’s even used in dentistry and medicine!
Most of the gold in the world is found in small amounts in gold mines or in rivers and streams. It’s like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered! Now, the value of gold depends on how pure it is, measured in karats.
The purest gold you can get is 24 karats, no foolin’. The price of gold can change depending on what’s going on with the economy or politics. People love to use gold as a safety net when things get shaky with money or inflation.
Right now, it’s trading at about $1,790 per ounce, which is crazy high! It’s like one of the most valuable things on this whole planet!
5. Painite – $50,000 To $60,000 Per Carat
Painite is a super rare mineral that was first discovered in Myanmar (formerly Burma) back in the 1950s. It’s got this awesome orange-red color that really stands out, and collectors and gem lovers go crazy for it.
This mineral is made up of calcium, boron, and oxygen, and its crystals are usually small and not so well-formed. It’s typically found in rocks that have gone through a big transformation called metamorphism, where other minerals change and become painite.
Let me tell you, finding painite is like finding a needle in a haystack. Only a handful of crystals have been uncovered so far, maybe a few hundred tops. That’s why it’s super duper rare and worth a pretty penny. Some folks would even pay around 50 to 60 grand per carat for a special piece!
Because of its rarity and hefty price tag, painite gets all dolled up in fancy jewelry and fancy schmancy decorative stuff. And let me tell ya, collectors and gem enthusiasts can’t get enough of its one-of-a-kind beauty and scarcity.
4. Blue Garnet – $1.5 Million Per Carat
Another elusive gemstone, blue in a garnet is only seen as part of the color pattern of color change garnets, though there are rumors of non-color change blue garnets. The blue is not the vivid or deep dark blue seen in sapphires, but rather a grayish-to-greenish blue. Hardly a stone that will draw attention in a room of people.
While blue garnet is certainly rare, One large specimen has sold for $1.5 million per carat. Current prices are around $1,500 per carat for high-quality color change garnets with a profound color change from a blueish color to a red or purplish color.
High amounts of vanadium in the developmental process give blue garnets their intense coloring. Vanadium can create a purplish hue but just the right amount produces a vibrant blue color that makes the stone worth a fortune.
3. Serendibite – $1.8 Million Per Carat
Serendibite is an extremely rare silicate mineral that was first discovered in 1902 in Sri Lanka by Dunil Palitha Gunasekera and named after Serendib, the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. Serendibite is a mineral that isn’t as common as most others on our list.
One location is Mogok in Northern Burma and the other is Ratnapura in Sri Lanka. Serendibite is created in an extremely complex process that includes a variety of different molecules coming together in the formation process.
It takes scant amounts of aluminum, calcium, boron, magnesium, silicon and oxygen to come together in one location. There are only three surviving faceted Serendibite known to exist today in a 0.35-carat, 0.55-carat, and 0.56-carat size. With only three in the entire world, it’s no small wonder that they are valued at $1.8 to $2 million per carat.
2. Red Diamonds – $2 million per carat
A red diamond is a diamond that displays red color and exhibits the same mineral properties as colorless diamonds. Red diamonds are commonly known as the most expensive minerals and the rarest diamond color in the world, even more so than pink or blue diamonds, as very few red diamonds have been found.
Red diamonds, just like pink diamonds, are greatly debated as to the source of their color, but the gemological community most commonly attributes both colors to gliding atoms in the diamond’s structure as it undergoes enormous pressure during its formation.
Red diamonds are among the 12 colors of fancy color diamonds and have the most expensive price per carat. The mine puts them up for sale at auction every couple of years with high price tags fetching between $2 and $2.5 million per carat. Red diamonds are a purplish red in color so they‘re not easily mistaken for rubies or garnets.
1. Jadeite – $3 Million Per Carat
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral with a composition of NaAlSi2O6. It is hard (Mohs hardness of about 6.5 to 7.0), very tough, and dense, with a specific gravity of about 3.4. It is found in a wide range of colors but is most often found in shades of green or white. Jadeite is formed only in subduction zones on continental margins, where rock undergoes metamorphism at high pressure but relatively low temperature.
Jadeite is the principal mineral making up the most valuable form of jade, a precious stone particularly prized in China. Most gem-quality jadeite jade comes from northern Myanmar. Jade tools and implements have been found at Stone Age sites, showing that the mineral has been prized by humans since before the beginning of written history.
This is a particularly dense mineral and is extremely resistant to breaking due to its hardness. The most expensive mineral in the world is Jadeite comes at the hefty price of $3 million per carat.