Gemstones quite literally can take our breath away when we see them. Who hasn’t seen a beautiful diamond or sapphire ring and exclaimed over it? Is it only their beauty that makes them so valuable? Why else are they valuable to us?
Most gemstones are minerals that occur naturally in the earth. The most common is quartz, which is made of silicon and oxygen, two of the most common chemicals or substances on the planet. Even though most people don’t find such crystals unless specifically looking for it, it’s still relatively common in the gem world.
One quality that determines the value of a gem is how rare it is. A diamond, believe it or not, is actually a more common gemstone. However, the sales and distribution of diamonds are tightly controlled, which keeps the demand for diamonds of any characteristic in high value. Certainly perfect, flawless diamonds are truly rare, but diamonds themselves aren’t particularly rare.
Other gemstones are much rarer, such as sapphires and rubies, which are part of the beryl family of minerals. Rubies are rarer than sapphires and top quality colors in both are extremely rare.
A mineral called benitoite is found only in the San Benito valley in California, where only a few hundred carats of it are found each year. It is the state gem of California and is a hexagonal-shaped crystal. It can be cut and polished to produce sapphire-colored gemstone jewelry.
Some gems are even rarer than bentitoite. They’re so rare, that only three or four of them exist in the world. And the location where the gemstone was found can make a big difference as well. While peridot is a fairly common gem, there were actually several carats of peridot discovered in a meteorite, making that one of the rarest gems ever!