Gemstones are among the most beautiful substances in the natural world. Combined with their relative scarcity and how cripplingly tricky it can be, not only to find them in the first place but also to cut and polish each stone just right and each rock is potentially worth millions of dollars.
However, not all gemstones are created equal. Some might be too common to be as expensive as their rare brethren. Others can have poor color or clarity. Some can have cracks and defects that blemish their perfect structures.
But then some stones are the cream of the crop, the jewels that are beyond worth and seem to have been sent down by gods. These stones don’t need a jewelry photo-editing service to make them look priceless because they already are.
Examine some of the world’s most expensive and most fabulous gemstones:
One of the prized possessions of the British Royal Family, the Koh-i-Noor, has had a long and bloody history, dating back to the courts of India’s Mughal rulers. The enormous diamond enjoyed a place of prominence on the Peacock Throne until the Persian Shah Nader usurped the rulers in 1739. The battles claimed tens of thousands of people.
Although the diamond would later return to India in 1813, it was not to last. When the Sikh ruler who owned the gem at the time passed away, the British found the lure of the Koh-i-Noor to be irresistible. It was a symbol of power and prestige, after all. So the colonizers forced the young heir to sign away his powers and the stone to Queen Victoria. Since then, the Koh-i-Noor has remained a prize of the Windsor family ever since.
The American Golden Topaz
Mined from the depths of the Brazilian mountains, the American Golden Topaz is the largest of its kind in the entire world. Weighing at an incredible 26 pounds when it was first discovered, it took more than two years to cut the large gemstone. The resulting gem is less than half the weight of the initial stone, weighing in at only 11 pounds, but the Golden Topaz is still a wonder to behold. The syrupy stone has 172 facets that reflect golden light and is one of the clearest gemstones in the world. The American Golden Topaz resides in the Smithsonian Museum.
The Chaiyo Ruby
A stone steeped in mystery and scandal, the Chaiyo ruby is the subject of both speculation and envy. The ruby reportedly weighs a mind-boggling 109,000 carats or roughly 48 pounds. If true, the Chaiyo ruby could be worth almost half a billion dollars in the market. However, the stone is currently in contentious waters and has been kept locked away in Laos. Either that or the stone was stolen by military members of Myanmar.
The Bahia Emerald
It seems that the bigger the rock, the more problems that come with it. The Bahia Emerald is perhaps more real than the Chaiyo Ruby, but its certainly in just a mess. The uncut emerald, looking more like a green-streaked boulder than a gemstone, weighs 752 pounds. Since it first came to light, numerous parties have argued over who gets to claim the priceless emerald, with contenders accusing each other of theft or collusion with the Brazilian mafia. Either way, the stone has been locked away ever since.
Pear-cut or square-shaped, these rocks don’t lose their shape or their value. Take a moment to appreciate how magnificent these stones are and how you’ll probably never see or own anything like them.