What are the most expensive minerals in the world?
There is a good reason that rock and gem hunters are willing to spend weeks on end scouring remote locations to find mineral deposits; some of these minerals can fetch an impressive profit!
We’d definitely spend hours panning through a cold river if it meant hopefully finding a mineral worth a couple thousand per carat!
The Most Expensive Minerals in the World
Whether you’re looking to invest in some expensive minerals or you’re just curious about what rich people spend their money on, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our list of the 10 most expensive minerals in the world:
10. Rhodium – $435 Per Gram
Rhodium is one of the rarest elements found under the Earth’s surface, and it is this rarity that impacts its price and commercial use.
Although rhodium does have uses in jewelry and decoration, usually being electroplated onto white gold or platinum to give it a reflective surface, it is the commercial uses that really make this mineral expensive.
This mineral is primarily used in the automotive industry for catalytic converters, which change unburned hydrocarbons into less harmful gasses.
Out of the 30,000 kg of rhodium used throughout the world in 2012, 81% went towards the automotive industry, while the rest was used in glassmaking and chemicals.
While this silvery-white mineral may not seem wholly impressive on its own, it is definitely in high demand, which helps secure its place as one of the most expensive minerals in the world.
9. Diamond – $1,800 Per Carat
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they are also a mineral that can make you a lot of money.
Although it may seem like diamonds are everywhere, they are actually an extremely rare mineral, with most concentrations being limited in scope.
This mineral comes from the Earth’s mantle and, before the 20th century, most diamonds came from alluvial deposits created by loose clay, sand, and silt deposited by running water.
Today, De Beers has become the world’s largest diamond mining company, and it has been producing diamonds since its founding in 1888.
This company owns mines in Namibia, South Africa, Canada, and Australia, where it digs up a majority of the diamonds in circulation today.
While we are all familiar with white diamonds, some of the most expensive to ever be sold are the red diamond and pink diamond, two variations of fancy colored diamonds that are even rarer than their white counterparts.
Although diamonds are commonly thought of as gems used to create some of the most expensive engagement rings in the world, they also have a lot of other applications and can be found in drill bits, saws, and heat sinks for circuits in electronics.
Now, you certainly don’t have to be a millionaire to afford a diamond, but at $1,800 per carat, they definitely are an investment for most of us.
8. Rubies – $435 Per Gram
Although $435 may not sound like a lot for a ruby, consider just how small a gram really is.
Rubies are some of the most expensive minerals in the world, and a large pure ruby can go for staggering prices.
Take the Sunrise Ruby, for instance, which is lauded as one of the rarest gemstones in the world.
This valuable ruby is 25.59 carats and it was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva for $30.42 million!
The overall quality of a ruby is determined not just by its color and cut, but by its carat weight and purity.
Rubies that are bright red, known as pigeon blood, are the most sought-after, especially if the stone is clear with only thin inclusions.
While Burma has long been the world’s biggest producer of rubies, this has dwindled in recent years.
It is estimated that there are vast amounts of rubies in Pakistani Kashmir which could total upwards of half a billion dollars.
However, due to lack of investment, only one mine in the area is currently functioning.
If you’re after a fortune and got money to spend, investing in these expensive minerals is certainly something to think about.
7. Platinum – $1680 Per Ounce
This expensive mineral costs more per ounce than even some of the most expensive precious metals in the world and if you’re lucky enough to own some, you can sell it for a pretty penny.
As a rare mineral, only a few hundred tons are produced every year with a majority of the supply coming from South Africa.
Platinum is desired as one of the least reactive metals, as well as for its ability to withstand corrosion, even under high temperatures.
It was the pre-Columbian South Americans who first used platinum, and it isn’t until the 16th century that it appeared in European writing.
Along with rhodium, platinum is used in catalytic converters, but it can also be found in laboratory equipment, dental equipment, and electrodes.
Despite pure platinum still being less expensive than pure gold, platinum is often used as a greater symbol of prestige.
Between platinum records and platinum credit card plans, this precious metal has definitely secured a place of high standing in the public eye.
Despite being less expensive than gold, with a price tag of $1680 per ounce, you’re still going to need to mortgage your home in order to buy a substantial amount.
6. Gold – $1,727 Per Ounce
Some of the most expensive coins in the world have been made from gold, not to mention all of the highest-quality jewelry.
Gold is commonly found as nuggets, inside rocks, in veins, or in alluvial deposits.
It is deposits washed up in these deposits that led to the California Gold Rush, which caused thousands of people to stake out riverbeds and streams trying to make their fortunes via panning.
The lesser-known Gold River in Nova Scotia is another historic location where the running water would erode the gold from rocks carrying it downstream to alluvial deposits.
Although it is a relatively rare mineral, gold is one of the four major precious metals and it has a lot of uses outside of jewelry, and currently, China is the world’s largest producer, mining up to 440 tons every year.
While 50% of all gold mined goes into jewelry, 40% goes into investments, with the remaining 10% being used in industry.
Because gold is resistant to corrosion and has solid conductivity, it is often used in electrical connectors found in a lot of electronic devices.
As one of the most expensive minerals, investing in gold, whether it be gold coins, bars, or jewelry, has become a popular staple among the wealthy, who keep a close eye on its fluctuating value.
If you find yourself coming into a lot of money, investing in physical gold can be almost as valuable — if not more reliable — than playing the stock market.
Gold will always be valuable. GameStop stocks, not so much.
5. Painite – $55,000 Per Carat
Painite was relatively recently discovered and it definitely is one of the most expensive minerals.
This borate mineral was first dug up in Myanmar, where it was mistaken for a ruby at first, before being confirmed as a new mineral formation.
Between its discovery and 2001, only two subsequent painite crystals were ever found, but thousands have since been uncovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar.
Although this gem is remarkably resistant to scratching, making it great for jewelry, you’re definitely going to be paying big, since the average price for a single carat can be up to $55,000 and, in some cases, $60,000.
With a price like that, it would be more affordable to buy black opals or even a small red ruby!
4. Blue Garnet – $1.5 Million Per Carat
Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age as an adornment and abrasive, but it wasn’t until 1990 that the extremely rare blue garnet was unearthed in Madagascar!
While this expensive mineral has since been found in small quantities in the US, Kenya, Russia, Turkey, and Tanzania, it is still the rarest form of garnet, and its price reflects this.
What is really special about the blue garnet is that it can appear to change color from blue-green to purple, depending on the light it is viewed under.
This is because of the high amounts of vanadium, a hard, silver-grey, metal, contained in this mineral.
Due to this color-changing effect, a blue garnet can sometimes resemble alexandrite, one of the most expensive gemstones.
If you want a blue garnet for yourself, you had better have some of the most expensive sneakers in the world lying around that you can auction off, because this stone definitely gets pricey fast!
3. Serendibite – $1.8 Million Per Carat
Costing $1.8 million per carat, serendibite has more than earned its place as one of the most expensive minerals in the world.
First discovered in 1902 in Sri Lanka, serendibite is most commonly found in hard metamorphic rock and has a green-blue or violet-blue hue, which helps identify them.
However, serendibite specimens have also been found in Burma, where they can appear darker green to almost black.
If you’re ever lucky enough to come across a gem-quality sample of serendibite, you’re definitely not going to want to pass it up.
You know, provided you have Kanye West’s net worth to foot the bill because a carat of serendibite is certainly not cheap!
2. Jadeite – $3 Million Per Carat
You’re probably familiar with jade, but jadeite gemstones are the rarest and purest form of the mineral.
Jadeite gemstones range in color from light green to blue-green, with some even appearing purple-blue.
Rarely, jadeite is even found in pure blue or violet.
While jade has been used for centuries, with some even being found dating to the neolithic age in the UK, jadeite is primarily found in Myanmar, which is where a majority of gemstone-quality specimens come from.
This expensive mineral is definitely going to set you back, and the most expensive jadeite necklace even sold for more than some of the most expensive cars in the world, at a whopping $27.44 million.
Jadeite has certainly more than earned its place as one of the most expensive minerals in the world, and it definitely isn’t affordable for just anyone.
1. Lithium – $N/A
Okay, okay, whilst Lithium is technically classed as metal and not a mineral, it was, however, originally discovered inside the mineral Petalite.
You’re probably familiar with lithium rechargeable batteries, but have you ever considered how expensive it truly is?
Discovered in the 1800s, the lithium industry has boomed in recent years to be worth well over a billion dollars.
Because it is used often in electronics, lithium is in high demand, especially given the push to move things like electric vehicles with lithium batteries into the mainstream.
Despite lithium being rich in the Earth’s crust, the price of this mineral is often in flux due to its demand and as we grow more dependent on electronics and rechargeable batteries, this is only likely to increase.
In 2020, lithium was added to the list of critical global elements as a critical metal, and it is poised to become one of the leading drivers of the fourth industrial revolution.
For the wealthy, investing in lithium stocks has become a must, and share prices have risen from 1000% to 6000% in just 12 months.
While it’s smart to invest in lithium mining companies, you can also invest in companies like Tesla, which uses lithium batteries for its electric vehicles.
Better yet, you don’t need to have Elon Musk’s net worth to get started.
Despite not having a set price, lithium is certainly one of the most expensive minerals in the world, and it is only likely to become increasingly valuable as time goes on.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the most expensive minerals in the world!
While we definitely couldn’t foot the bill for some of these minerals, investing in small quantities or in the lithium market can be a great way to start small and gradually build your portfolio!
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 most expensive minerals in the world:
- Lithium – $N/A
- Jadeite – $3 Million Per Carat
- Serendibite – $1.8 Million Per Carat
- Blue Garnet – $1.5 Million Per Carat
- Painite – $55,000 Per Carat
- Gold – $1,727 Per Ounce
- Platinum $1680 Per Ounce
- Rubies – $435 Per Gram
- Diamond – $1,800 Per Carat
- Rhodium – $435 Per Gram