From time immemorial, people have been creating jewelry for the body. The oldest piece of jewelry ever found, the shell necklace, is 100,000 years old!
The reasons for wearing jewelry were originally somewhat different from modern ones. Basically it was a sign of power, wealth or class. Glass beads acted as protective talismans. They have always been a symbol of strength and resilience, the subject of dreams and legends.
Only in the 19th century did jewelry become a purely aesthetic accessory of a commemorative or sentimental nature. Today they are available to everyone. The only difference is the quality of the materials used to make the jewelry. Among them, a special place is occupied by natural minerals, which are included in the world rating of precious stones.
In this article, we will talk about the criteria for classifying stones, the scale of hardness and the most expensive jewelry.
What are the most popular gemstones in the world?
Stones used in jewelry are conventionally divided into:
These are minerals with a certain chemical composition and characteristic structure. They are beautiful, durable and rarely found in nature.
To appreciate the beauty of a mineral, light is necessary, because it is its corresponding reflection and refraction that determine, for example, the color of emeralds, the «fire» of diamonds, or the play of opals.
Strength gemstones are measured according to the hardness scale developed by the German mineralogist Frederick Moos. Stones used in jewelry must be hard enough to be forged and set. The scientist chose 10 minerals and arranged them in such a way that each of them could be scratched by a harder stone.
This scale looks like this:
1 — talc,
2 — gypsum,
3 — calcite,
4 — fluorite,
5 — apatite,
6 — orthoclase,
7 — quartz,
8 — topaz,
9 — corundum,
10 — diamond.
However, this scale does not give information about the exact hardness (other tests are used for this), but only about which gemstone is harder than another. Hardness is determined only on fresh mineral surfaces. Do not check polished stones, as they can be scratched and damaged.
The hardness of gemstones is above 7. These include: diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, topaz, alexandrite, aquamarine, heliodor, morganite, tourmaline, beryl, spinel, opal. In addition to minerals, gemstones on the Mohs hardness scale include organic substances such as natural pearls, coral and amber.
Diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald — the rarest, most beautiful, durable and most expensive gemstones. According to Forbs, their total value is 97% of the price of all gemstones in the world sale.
Other stones, less attractive in appearance, often opaque and less hard, usually belong to the group of semi-precious and decorative. Basically, inexpensive jewelry, souvenirs are made from them, and even countertops, window sills, washbasins, and wall coverings are made from them. These include:
- lapis lazuli,
Due to their lower hardness, semi-precious and decorative stones are often given a less refined shape than precious ones. Most often they are cut into a cabochon or made into balls.
The rarity of stones affects their value. It happens that a mineral, quite often found in nature, has few samples suitable for processing, for example, quartz. Diamonds are also rare, but most of them can be worked with.
Modified to increase value and quality
Among the various stone modification methods, the most common are:
- impregnation — staining with various chemicals;
- oil saturation — disguise of cracks and small spots;
- the heating — improvement or change in color or transparency;
- exposure — discoloration of stones with the help of radioactive elements or x-rays.
The advantage of such stones is a good value for money.
These are materials that imitate precious stones, such as other natural stones or glass. The most famous imitation is cubic zirconia, which imitates diamond. It first appeared on the market in 1973, and after 3 years, as a result of the improvement of the production method, it captured the jewelry market. In the late 90s, another, more perfect imitation of diamond, moissanite, appeared on the market.
These are artificially obtained minerals that have the same chemical composition and internal structure as natural stones — black and white opals, turquoise, lapis lazuli. In 1902, they began to be produced in laboratories. Over the years, the methods of their manufacture have improved. They cause a lot of problems for gemologists involved in the recognition of precious stones.
Synthetic stones include stones made in laboratories and not having a natural pattern — zircons, garnetites, as well as aventurine glass, which was created in the 17th century in Venice. These stones are used in jewelry because of the many shimmering particles that sparkle beautifully in the light.
What determines gemstones by value?
When evaluating gemstones, the following parameters are taken into account:
- the weight,
- crystal form.
The table of the cost of precious stones of diamonds is most accurately described. The so-called Rule 4C:
- drive A unit of weight for a gem. 1 carat = 200 mg;
- color — from colorless to yellow;
- cleanliness — the presence of inclusions and stains;
- branches — reflection with the help of facets of light rays.
The authenticity of diamonds is certified by the most respected gemological laboratories and institutes in the world: IGI (International Gemological Institute) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
Since diamonds cannot be compared with other stones, a special gem rating, or AAA classification, has been created for the rest of the minerals. This classification compares, for example, pearls with other pearls and evaluates their color, brilliance, clarity, and cut.
So gems are rated: AAA, AA, A, A/B/C/D.
Rare gems: ranking by value in the world
- Translucent Imperial Bottle Green Jade. Its value is estimated at $3 million per carat. It is mined in Burma. The name «jade» comes from the Spanish «piedra de hijada» and means «lumbar stone». It was believed that he was able to save his master from back pain.
- red diamond — the second most valuable gem in the world, where there are only 30 pieces of such minerals. This is a special type of diamond, which is extremely rare. It is mined at the Argyle mine in Australia. 1 carat of this stone costs 2–2.5 million dollars.
- blue pomegranate has an interesting property — a change in color to purple under the influence of artificial light. It was discovered relatively late, only in 1990 in Madagascar. Mined in the USA, Russia and Turkey. One carat of this mineral was valued at $1.5 million at auction.
- Serendipity discovered in Sri Lanka in 1902. Its name comes from the local name of the island. Stones quarried in Sri Lanka are greenish-blue in color, while stones from Burma are shades of black. Their price varies from 0.5 to 1 million dollars.
- Paynit was opened in 1956 and named after its discoverer. Most often, this stone is mined in Burma. This mineral can have shades of orange, brown, red and purple. 1 carat is valued at $50-60,000. Until recently, painite was considered the most valuable stone in the world. You could even read about it in the Guinness Book of Records. After 2005, its new deposits began to open, and it ceased to be considered the most valuable.
TOP 10 luxury jewelry made from the most expensive gemstones
Many of the most expensive and prestigious jewels in the world have amazing stories that have been set in events for centuries involving the nobility and royalty. These are jewelry that have become symbols of wealth, power and prosperity. They are made from precious stones with unique properties. Thanks to cutting and processing, they are considered unique works of art.
- Awesome watch Chopard cost 25 million dollars. They are considered one of the most expensive watches in the world. The item is adorned with 874 diamonds and weighs 201 carats. They feature 3 large heart-shaped diamonds in shades of pink, blue and white. Wearing this watch requires strength because it weighs like a heavy book.
- Hutton-Mdivani jade necklace, issued by Cartier in 1933. It is worth $27.4 million. This piece of jewelry consists of emerald green jade and an 18 carat gold clasp, rubies and diamonds. The necklace was sold at auction in 2014 for $27.4 million. It was originally owned by American socialite Barbara Hutton, heiress to the Woolworth fortune.
She was the daughter of Edna and Franklin Lowes Hutton (granddaughter of Frank W. Woolworth). When Barbara married in 1933, her father gave her a unique jade accessory from Cartier, later called the Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite.
- Sweet Josephine is a $28 million gemstone made from the very rare Fancy Vivid pink diamond. The gem is named after Josephine, the 7-year-old daughter of a Hong Kong millionaire who bought the gem in 2015.
- De Grisogono — one of the most expensive necklaces with diamonds and emeralds, created by Fawaz Gruosi, the founder of the jewelry brand De Grisogono. It costs $33 million. The central diamond of this stone weighs 163.41 carats.
- Graff Pink Diamond (Graff Pink) — a bright pink diamond weighing 24.78 carats, which was acquired in 2010 by jeweler Lawrence Graff for 38 million euros. He modified the cut diamond by placing it on a ring with two other diamonds on the sides, giving it his name.
- Mouawad diamond necklace — one of the most expensive necklaces in the world. Its value is $55 million. It contains the largest flawless diamond (weighing 407.48 carats) discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1980s. This piece is based on a rose gold chain set with 90 smaller diamonds. In 1980, a young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo found an incomparable gem in the ruins. He weighed 890 carats. In 1984. It was then displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and has since appeared in many different historical centers.
- Oppenheimer Blue Diamond — a blue diamond embedded in the ring. It was sold at Christie’s in 2016 for a staggering $57.5 million. The stone was named after its former owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a racehorse owner whose family controlled the De Beers group. And it was the latest in a long line of famous blue gems brought to Christie’s auction.
- Pink Star Diamond (Pink Star) — the most expensive gem sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva in April 2017 for $71.2 million. It was acquired by Hong Kong-based holding company Chow Tai Fook Enterprises just five minutes into trading. This diamond was discovered by De Beers in 1999 at a mine in Botswana. It was originally a huge rough stone weighing 132.5 carats. It took 2 years to process, grind, polish and get the current oval-cut diamond.
- Brooch Diamond Graff in the form of a peacock costs $ 100 million. It was presented in 2013 at the Tefaf exhibition in the Netherlands. The center stone of the Graff Diamond, a 120.81 carat pear-shaped Fancy navy blue diamond, has a diameter of 10 cm. It is composed of 1305 gems, including: yellow, pink, orange and green diamonds.
- Hope Diamond worth 200-250 million dollars. It is one of the most famous gems in the world, but also one of the most expensive. Weighs 45.42 carats (9.1 grams), has a dark gray-blue «Fancy» color. Since opening in Golconda, India, in 1666, it has had many owners. It was first bought by Queen Lua XIV, who renamed it «French Blue». The diamond remained the property of the French royal family until 1792, the year of the Revolution, when it was stolen during a robbery. The stone reappeared in 1839 in the catalog of Henry Philip Hope. With a reputation for being a cursed diamond that passes through the hands of families and brings bad luck, it was purchased by jeweler Harry Winston, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 1949.
Do you want to wear chic jewelry, like royalty, famous personalities and show business stars? Take a look at the Silvers online store catalog. There are many branded jewelry at affordable prices. Place an order with delivery in Ukraine — and soon you will be able to enjoy the splendor of these accessories, bright radiance and play of stones.