Do you know why unknown gemstones beat the diamond! The diamond. One of the most favorite gemstones in the world and not exactly an unknown gemstone. Songs are written about this beauty like ‘a diamond is a girl’s best friend’. A diamond engagement or wedding ring makes every girl jealous. You can say there is no gemstone more popular than the diamond.
Maybe so, but…
A lot of the so-called precious gemstones (diamond, emerald, sapphire, and ruby) are so expensive that people try to imitate them and sell them as the real ones. Of course, this only happens to the gems that everybody wants and where the market is loaded with potential buyers. De Beers Company in South Africa tries to regulate the market. And they give only a certain percentage of diamonds free for purchasing. Just to keep the diamond rare and the volume on the market low, to get the best price.
While everybody is focused on the precious stones, everyone seems to forget that there are gemstones that are rarer and even more beautiful according to the experts and a lot more expensive. These unknown gemstones can easily beat the diamond.
Let me introduce you to a few unknown gemstones!
- The red Spinel
- The Tsavorite
- The Paraibo Tourmaline
- The Tanzanite
The Red Spinel
It is possible that you think… hé Florence, I know the spinel. That is not such an expensive gemstone. And it is already known for ages. So why does the spinel get a place in this exquisite list of rare gemstones?
In Ancient Times, the red spinel is used in jewelry and decorative art objects. But not always people know that this is a red spinel, but a ruby. It has more or less the same color. The red spinel stays the unknown gemstone and the ruby becomes the popular beauty.
The Ugly Duckling
The red spinel has something that looks like the fairy tale of the ‘Ugly Duckling’. Never much appreciated because people don’t recognize beauty. And then you get a few awkward mistakes. Like in the 14th century Crown Jewels, safely stored in the Tower of London, there are 2 huge spinels that supposed to be rubies. Always admired but never recognized and so the red spinel belongs for a good reason on the list of the unknown gemstones.
In 1367 King Edward buys a 170 carats ‘black Prince Ruby’, which is a spinel! And the ‘Timor’ ruby has 352 carats and is a spinel too. The last 6 owners of this jewel are engraved in the gemstone.
In Teheran / Iran you can visit the Crown Jewels and there you see a 500 carats spinel is one of the Crowns of the Persian Empire. Imagine that you wear a jewel of more than 100 grams or more than 3.5 ounces. I was in Teheran in the 1990s and saw this spinel with my own eyes. An unbelievable experience. Only a pity that soldiers try to hurry you all the time to go on and out.
The features of this unknown gemstone, the red Spinel
Another thing to remember is that such a rather unknown gemstone as a red spinel costs 3000-5000 USA per carat. So the spinel in Teheran costs about USA 2.500.000.
The spinel has many many colors, like ruby red, a bit more orange, pink, purple, blue, and even black. It is such a pity that even lately the first fake red spinel is seen on the market.
If you love light green, remarkable gemstones. If you are the person that wants to be the center of all the attention ánd are in the possession of a lot of money to spend on jewelry… The tsavorite gemstone is one of the most beautiful unknown gemstones available.
The Tsavorite is also called the Rolls-Royce under the green and unknown gemstones or maybe nowadays you better call it the Tesla under the green gems. It is the unknown (until now) and a very rare nephew of the emerald. The CEO of Tiffany & Co recognizes the quality of this unknown gemstone and designs pieces of jewelry with the tsavorite in his collection (1974).
A British geologist Mr. Bridges discovers in 1967 a ‘new’ gemstone, called the Tsavorite. Tanzania the place of discovery, does not want this gem to be exported. So Mr. Bridges moves his search to Kenia and in 1974 he discovers Tsavorite near the Tsavo NP in Kenia.
The features of this unknown gemstone, the Tsavorite
Why all this fuss about a light green gemstone? Well… in this world, you find 200 times more emerald than tsavorite. The greenish color comes from the metal vanadium. But there is one mine in Kenia, near the village Kuranze where you find tsavorite with chromium and therefore have a light blue color. And this gemstone is even rarer than the green tsavorite.
And rare means more valuable. Also because you hardly find any Tsavorite that weighs more than 3 carats. Just to stay on the safe side: a large and deep green tsavorite of which the color resembles the emerald costs about USD 8500 per carat.
Although you hardly find any tsavorite over 3 carats, the biggest one weighs nearly 117 carats and is mined by the son of Mr. Bridges, the ‘founder’ of this gemstone.
The Paraiba Tourmaline
I am sure you know the gemstone tourmaline that has a color range of red, pink, green, blue up to blackish. It is a kind of rainbow gemstone. But I am not so sure whether you know the blue-green neon-colored Paraiba Tourmaline, a very rare and one of the unknown gemstones. The color looks like the water of a sea in the Tropics or the water in a blue-painted swimming pool.
Mr. Barbosa searches in 1989 in the Brasilian province of Paraiba for gemstones. In an old mine shaft after 8 years of hard labor, he finds some rare bright blue stones; the Paraiba Tourmaline. You have a 50.000% more chance to find a diamond than a Paraiba Tourmaline. It is hard to determine the Genuity, so ask for a certificate.
The features of the Paraiba Tourmaline
And again… unknown gemstones are rare and therefore expensive and this gem costs some ten thousand euros per carat. You get them in pink and purple too and also from Nigeria and Mozambique. But still, the bright blue-green Paraiba Tourmaline is the most popular under the unknown gemstones and therefore the most expensive.
An extremely rich Canadian businessman Mr. Vincent Boucher owns the ‘Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba’ gemstone, which weighs almost 192 carats and is set in a necklace. Nobody knows the exact price but the estimation is between 25 and 125 million USD.
The tanzanite is very special for me. On a visit to Canada, to Vancouver Island we have to wait for a boat trip and what is the best thing to do when you have to wait: window shopping and in my case jewelry window shopping. My eye catches a pair of earrings with gemstones in a dark blue to violet color: tanzanite. Absolutely stunning.
I forget everything, even to warn my husband that I want to have a closer look (oops, he was not happy then). The lady showed me the earrings and immediately I fell in love with them. It is close to my birthday and I ask for the price of the earrings. I nearly have a heart attack. The earrings are together 1 carat and the price is USD 3000. Yes, I know what I like and that is not always (my husband says ‘never’) cheap or even affordable.
Why is this unknown gemstone that expensive? The tanzanite is mined only in one mine in Tanzania, they are rare, very rare. Some people think they look like sapphire (but the color is a bit darker, more intense). The world admires this gemstone since 1967. The official name is ‘ blue zoisite’, but that sounds too much like ‘suicide’ so the market starts calling this beauty the Tanzanite.
For a short period of time, the Americans boycotted this gem because Al Qaida gets her hands on a rather large amount of tanzanite. And they want to sell it to finance their organization. That stopped soon.
Like with all the unknown gemstones there is a big, bigger, and biggest. That is also the case with the tanzanite. In June 2020 miners find in the Tanzanian mine 2 pieces of 9,27 kilo and 5,1 kilo. The owner of the mine sells the pieces to the government to exhibit them in the National Museum of Dar es Salaam.
Very expensive. Why?
You can ask yourself ‘why are these rather unknown gemstones so expensive’. I learned in school that the more demand the higher the price. But that does not seem to be the case here.
These unknown gemstones are rare, one finds them only in one or a few mines, so the lack of supply drives the prices sky-high. Then these gemstones look like their very popular expensive brother or sister, like the tanzanite can be confused with the sapphire, the tsavorite can be mixed up with the emerald, the red spinel with the ruby, and the Paraiba Tourmaline with the aquamarine.
Although gemstones exist for thousands of years, they are discovered only recently. People like something ‘new’ and ‘rare’ and are willing to pay the price.
No need to say that you don’t find these unknown gemstones in the collection of FlorenceJewelshop. You find the equivalents like emerald, ruby, aquamarine, black spinel tourmaline sapphire, etc. My fans and clients don’t have the budget for this type of jewelry. But they desire unique and exclusive jewelry. Well… you will find that in FlorenceJewelshop. My designs are used only once, so your piece of jewelry is unique in this world. The material is of high standards, picked by me personally and every bead has its own story.
If you like the stories about jewelry and gemstones and you like to be surprised now and then by a fantastic offer? I’ll bet you like my ‘FlorenceJewelshop Secrets’ too. Ask for it, it’s free. Just let me know where I can send it to.
Hug, Florence, of FlorenceJewelshop