We automatically jump to “diamond” when we think of a rare gemstone when diamonds, in fact, fairly commonly found on our planet. But this beautifully illustrated article shows you the rarest of the gems, many of which you may not have heard of.
Let’s start with one of my favorite:
Alexandrite is a genuinely incredible gemstone, owing to the fact that it can actually undergo dramatic shifts in color depending on what kind of light it’s in. To be clear: this color change is independent of your viewing angle; a gemstone that shifts colors when you rotate it in your hand, is said to be pleochroic, and while alexandrite is strongly pleochroic, it can also change colors independently of viewing angle when viewed under an artificial light source. (In natural sunlight, the gem appears greenish blue; in soft incandescent light, the gem appears reddish purple, instead.)
A variety of Chrysoberyl, alexandrite belongs to the same family of gemstones as emerald. It’s color-changing properties (and its scarcity relative to diamond) is due to an exceedingly rare combination of minerals that includes titanium, iron and chromium.