You’ve saved as much money as possible for a new car or down payment on a home. Or maybe you want to start a college fund for your kids. But no matter how much you’ve trimmed your budget, you still don’t have the funds you need. You have no idea what else you can do, so you consider pawning off some of the items in your home that you don’t have any use for.
If you don’t like to wear jewelry much, then those items seem like the best items to go first. But did you know that some of the jewelry, broaches, or other items in your home might contain rare gems? It’s true. If you think you might have one of the following gemstones, consult with a gemstone appraiser to see how much your ring or necklace is worth.
Few gemstones in the world shift colors. Depending on how you hold this gemstone and the type of light you expose it to, alexandrite alters between many different colors. This crystal contains minerals such as chromium, titanium, and iron. These minerals make the stone shift colors independently.
Miners found this jewel in the Ural Mountains of Russia and named the gem after Tsar Alexander II. However, the original mine deposits have almost been completely depleted. Today, miners can find alexandrite in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil.
Though mineworkers can still find this transformational gem, it is especially scarce. Gemologists value an exceptional quality stone alexandrite at over $20,000 per carat.
In 1906, J.M. Couch discovered a rare gemstone believed to be a sapphire in California’s San Benito River. A year later, mineralogy professor George D. Louderback identified the stone as a new mineral which he named benitoite (after the river in which Couch found the gem).
This unusual blue jewel also fluoresces under UV lights and takes on the appearance of glowing blue chalk. What’s more unusual about this hard-to-find gem is that mineralogists still don’t know benitoite’s full chemical composition.
You won’t typically find stones larger than one carat in size, though the largest recorded benitoite stone has over 15 carats. Small stones typically fetch between $500 and $2,000 per carat.
If you or an ancestor ever took a trip to Australia, then it’s possible that you or your family member returned from Down Under with opals as a souvenir. About 95 percent of the world’s opals come from Australia, and the remaining five percent come from Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia.
Opal experts classify black opals as the most valuable type of opal. You can easily recognize this type of gem by the general dark body tone. This gem can range from a dark, smoky gray to jet black in color. However, black opals also contain a wide range of fiery colors (such as blue, green, orange, or red) in addition to the gray or black properties.
The mixture of dark and vibrant colors makes black opals incredibly expensive. Most black opals can fetch between $2,000 and $15,000 per carat.
In 2005, the Guinness Book of World Records declared painite the world’s rarest jewel. A British mineralogist first discovered the reddish brown gemstone in what is today known as Myanmar. In 1950, only two specimens existed, but mineralogists know of around 25 different classes of painite today.
You may not recognize a gem called red beryl, but you know a stone known as scarlet emerald. Red beryl is an uncommon gemstone that miners produce in Utah’s Wah Wah Mountains. This crystal forms from a compound of aluminum, beryllium, oxygen, and silicon, and it looks much like a scarlet emerald-hence the nickname.
Experts describe red beryl as more than 1,000 times more valuable than precious metals such as gold. This rare gem runs up to $10,000 per carat of cut stone.
Tanzanite is one of the rarest gemstones on earth. Gemologists and gem miners only find tanzanite in the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This beautiful gemstone displays magnificent colors that depend entirely on the crystal’s location and amount of light exposure. In fact, the stone is highly prized for its color-shifting properties.
Tanzanite typically appears blue or violet in color, but the blue stones have much more value. People often confuse tanzanite with sapphires because these two gemstones share similar color properties.
The blue color sits on the tanzanite crystal’s short axis and therefore makes the stone incredibly difficult to cut into a large piece. If you think you own a tanzanite gemstone, you might want to schedule a consult with an appraiser. Gemologists and appraisers value tanzanite at around $1,000 per carat.
Since tanzanite is so rare and difficult to mine, gem experts expect tanzanite’s price value to increase exponentially within the next few decades. In fact, this precious gemstone will disappear from Mount Kilimanjaro within the next 20 years or so.
You don’t have to look around your home spare change or pawnable items. Instead, check for these rare gems. You never know what jewels comprise your bracelets, earrings, or other jewelry. Your payout might be bigger than you expect.