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.
While it’s the popular belief that hunting for gold yields the greatest potential for striking it rich, gold is not the most expensive mineral in the world. It’s worth a hefty sum, but there are actually four others that fetch a higher price.
Precious metals and gemstones all fall under the mineral category, but it might surprise you to learn which are of the highest value currently. We researched to find the 5 most expensive minerals in the world, and this is what we found.
List of Most Expensive Minerals
A 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.
4. Blue Garnet
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 the 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.
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 in 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
A red diamond is a diamond which 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 colour, 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.
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral with composition 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 minerals in the world is Jadeite comes at the hefty prices of $3 million per carat.