The most expensive and valuable gemstones in the world

Lessing’s famous Parable of the Ring from the drama “Nathan the Wise” centers on a ring set with an opal. The comedy-mystery film “The Pink Panther” owes its name to an unusual pink diamond, and Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are forever” is one of the best-known James Bond theme songs.

Gemstones have always exerted a great fascination on people. Even in the Stone Age, our ancestors adorned themselves with beautiful minerals, and even today gemstones are extremely popular as jewelry, collector’s items or investments.

We present you the most valuable and most expensive gemstones in the world.

The Value of Gemstones

Unlike a gold coin, whose value is primarily determined by the current price of gold, the value of gemstones depends on the individual nature of each piece. Color, cut, clarity and carat, but also rarity determine the value of a gem.

Gemstones are not only suitable for engagement rings and necklaces, but are also an attractive financial investment. Due to their easy storage, transportability, high demand and stable value, investing in gemstones is worthwhile. The market prices of natural-colored, untreated gemstones have even at least tripled since the mid-nineties.

Since 1995, market prices for natural-colored, untreated gemstones have tripled.


According to the International Mineralogical Association, more than 5,000 minerals are known worldwide (as of 2023). Especially the diamond, the emerald, the ruby and the sapphire are known to everyone:


The red ruby (Latin “rubeus” = “red”, “the red one”) consists of corundum – the second hardest mineral after diamond. The value of a ruby is determined by the intensity of its color and the uniformity of its color distribution. Pigeon blood red rubies, whose strong red has a tinge of bluish, are particularly sought after. High-quality rubies usually come from Asia and East Africa.


The emerald is a green stone made from the mineral beryl. For a long time all green gemstones were called emeralds (Greek “smáragdos” = “green stone”), but today only the green variety of the beryl group bears this name. High-quality emeralds are found in Colombia, Brazil and in the Ural Mountains. The only relevant emerald deposit in Europe is in Austria – in the Habachtal in Salzburg.


The sapphire is just like the ruby a variety of corundum. Most of the sapphires found are of blue color, but there are also other colored and colorless stones. The pink- to orange-colored Padparadscha sapphire and star sapphires are considered to be particularly valuable. In these sapphires, a six-pointed star – the so-called “asterism” – appears due to embedded minerals.


The classic among gemstones is the colorless or white diamond. Due to its hardness, it was primarily used as a tool in ancient times, and even today it is still used in the grinding industry. Diamonds consist of pure carbon and are formed at high temperatures and high pressure inside the earth. The rare colored diamonds – so-called “fancy diamonds” – enjoy particular popularity.


Time and again, records are broken at auctions of precious stones. In the following list, we list the five diamonds that have sold for the highest prices ever achieved. Get ready for the top 5 precious stones:

1. Pink Star

The pink diamond “Pink Star” is the most expensive gemstone in the world. It was bought at a Sotheby’s auction by Hong Kong jewelry chain Chow Tai Fook for an incredible $71.2 million. The stone was mined in South Africa and weighs 59.60 carats.

2. Lesedi La Rona

The “Lesedi La Rona” is considered one of the largest rough diamonds in the world. In 2017, the white stone was sold for $53 million. At 1,111 carats, it is almost as big as a tennis ball.

3. The Constellation

Along with Lesedi La Rona, “The Constellation” is one of the most expensive rough diamonds in the world. The gemstone, which comes from Botswana, has 813 carats and was auctioned for $63 million.

4. Oppenheimer Blue

The 14.62 carat “Oppenheimer Blue” is the largest diamond of its color and was sold at auction by Christie’s auction house in 2016 for $57.6 million. The stone belonged to the Oppenheimer family, which dominated the global diamond trade for many years.

5. Pink Legacy

The “Pink Legacy” diamond was also originally owned by the Oppenheimer family. The 18.96-carat jewel is the world’s most expensive pink diamond in terms of price per carat. American jeweler Harry Winston acquired it for 50 million Swiss francs.

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Dr. Thomas Schröck
The Author:

Dr. Thomas Schröck

The founder and managing partner of THE NATURAL GEM has been active in international gemstone trading for 30 years. As a doctor of economics and a certified gemmologist in Switzerland, Germany and the USA, among other countries, he is one of Europe’s leading experts on naturally-coloured, untreated gemstones and investments in them.


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