The rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls. So says French essayist Jean de la Brueyere. We won’t judge his accuracy on spirit, but in his assessment of rare gems, he forgot a whole bunch beyond diamonds and pearls. In fact, all gems are rare, making ups they do but a fraction of the Earth’s constitution. But with more than 75 percent of engagements marked with diamonds, it’s easy to believe that they’re not as rare as all that. Just check out a few pawn shops in South Florida, and you’ll find them in all styles and sizes.
That’s not the case with colored diamonds, which are much harder to come by. Reds are the rarest diamonds, and, with fewer than three dozen ever found, it’s a good bet you won’t be finding any here at National Pawn and Jewelry. Generally, you won’t find reds, which have mostly been discovered at less than half a carat, in any store; they’re primarily the province of auctions, where they sell for more than a million dollars a carat. The most famous and largest red diamond is the Red Shield, a trillion cut that weighs in at 5.11 carats!
While the Red Shield can boast being the single most concentrated source of wealth outside radioactive material, the Heart of Eternity, a 27-carat blue diamond, is considered the most valuable diamond in existence. A more “affordable” deep blue diamond-like stone is San Benito County, California’s benitoite—the state’s gemstone—which sells for $2000 a carat. The ultra-rare taaffeite, a purple-to-red stone with double refraction, is literally a million times more rare than diamonds, and can cost up to $4000 per carat.
And the rarest gem on earth? Painite, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Discovered in Myanmar, this stone exhibits reds, pinks, oranges, and browns, depending on the angle—but, because the orange and brown are dominant shades, rarity in this case does not translate to beauty. Which means you’re just as well off with a diamond—and you can find many of those when you shop for jewelry in South Florida.