|Investing in gemstones is not for everyone. For those who enjoy fine gemstones and beautiful jewelry however, rare gems have a very good history of increasing in value over time. When stock markets are declining and currency is losing its value, gemstones tend to be a reliable store of value. They are also compact, portable and private.
While gemstones are not as liquid as some investments, a high quality gem will retain its value. In general the world demand for fine gemstones far exceeds supply, and gemstone prices mainly move upward over time.|
|Fine ruby is the rarest of all colored gems, and Burmese ruby has long been the premier investment gem. Fine unheated Burmese rubies in larger sizes draw large prices. Vivid red, known in the trade as pigeon's blood, is the most valuable color. Rubies tend to have inclusions, so intensity of color is more important than perfect clarity.|
Burma rubies are by far the most valuable, but fine unheated rubies from other locations such as Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania are increasing in value.
|Blue sapphire is the second most popular colored stone for investment. The rarest and most valuable sapphires are from Kashmir, but no new material has been mined there in more than a century.|
Next most valuable is Burma sapphire, followed by stones from Ceylon and Madagascar. Fancy color sapphires, yellow, pink and padpardascha are becoming more popular with investors.
|The emerald market has seen turmoil as a result of treatments with artificial resins, but fine, untreated emeralds continue to be reliable investments. Colombian emeralds, especially in large sizes, continue to be the most valuable, followed by the best Brazilian emeralds.|
Some high quality emeralds are also being mined in Zambia. Investment grade emeralds must be untreated.
|Spinel is a relative newcomer as an investment gem. The most valuable spinel colors are red, hot pink and flame orange. Red Burmese spinels and the neon pink-red spinels from Mahenge, Tanzania have the best investment potential. |
Spinel is completely untreated and prices on fine pieces have risen significantly in the last 5 years.
|Tsavorite Garnet is a rare gem that has begun to challenge emerald as the finest of the green gemstones. Unlike emerald, tsavorite is always untreated. It has more brilliance than emerald due to its higher refractive index. |
Tsavorite garnets over 2 carats are very rare, and fine stones over 4 carats are exceptionally rare. Colors range from mint green to a deep chrome green.
|Spessartite Garnet is a bright orange garnet colored by manganese. The finest examples, referred to as Mandarin Garnet, are a pure orange that is one of the most vivid colors in the gemstone world.|
Pure orange specimens are very rare. They come mainly from Nigeria and Namibia. Large, clean stones are valuable and display a remarkable brilliance.
|Alexandrite is a rare chrysoberyl that is popular with collectors for its striking color change and excellent hardness (8.5 on the Mohs scale). |
Alexandrite was first discovered in Russia. The highest quality alexandrite comes from Brazil, with medium grade material from Tanzania.
|Fine translucent emerald-green jadeite is known as Imperial Jade. This rare gem is found mainly in Burma (Myanmar) and is coveted by collectors around the world, especially in Asia.|
Type A jadeite is untreated natural Burmese jadeite where the color is 100% natural. Only certified jadeite of this quality is deemed worthy of investment.
|The rarest topaz known is called Imperial topaz and its sole source is the Ouro Prêto area in Minas Gerais, Brazil. This topaz is golden-orange to orange to pink, pinkish-red or violet in color.|
The color must be completely natural, with no enhancement by heat or other methods. Stones with a hint of pink or red are the most valuable, with a pure red natural topaz counting as extraordinary.
|Paraiba tourmaline is a rare copper-bearing variety of tourmaline with a distinctive neon-like glow. It was first discovered in the Brazilian state of Paraiba in 1989. Since then small deposits have been found in Nigeria and Mozambique.|
The Brazilian paraiba remains the most valuable, but color and clarity are more important than origin for these rare gems. Clean paraiba tourmalines with vivid color are the most valuable.
When buying gemstones for investment purposes, it is critical to buy top grade gems. Low cost commercial grade stones are essentially worthless to the investor: they suffer from mediocre color or clarity, and are typically poorly cut, lacking brilliance and fire. Fine gemstones are distinguished by vivid, intense color, outstanding clarity, and excellent cut. Buy the best you can afford, always keeping in mind that this is money not spent, but invested.