Diamonds are a girl’s best friend—so they say—but only since the 1940s and only when Marilyn Monroe sang about it. And though these gemstones may last forever, their investment worth may not. So before you decide to adopt a diamond as your new best money-making friend, whether you’re a girl or boy, you may want to reconsider your options.
Here are the top five best gemstones to invest in.
1. Burmese Ruby
If you happen to have an opportunity to purchase a pigeon’s blood-coloured Burmese ruby, do not pass it up. These precious stones are perhaps the most valuable and treasured gemstones out there, bringing in about $10,000 US per carat.
Burmese rubies are also increasing in rarity as mining practices have depleted ruby sources. Demand will, therefore, always outweigh supply, giving your ruby investment an increasing edge as time goes on.
If you can’t get your hands on a genuine Burmese ruby, a Mozambique ruby, or other natural, high-quality rubies are still a good investment option.
Like rubies, the demand for high-quality emeralds outweighs supply. The larger stones from Brazil and Colombia are highly sought after, and one 2017 auction in the US brought in about $300,000 US per carat.
But you could easily ruin your emerald investment plans if you do not shop smartly. Many emeralds in the market these days are treated with chemical resins to improve their clarity. Synthetics like Opticon, Gematrat, and Permasafe are forced through the gem to fill any fractures in the stone.
These treatments significantly impact its value. Ask about levels of clarity enhancement and avoid emeralds that rate Moderate and Significant. This is an argument in emerald’s favour, however. An untreated, large emerald is rare and wanted.
3. Imperial Jadeite
Want to know a secret? Invest in jade. For a very long time, jade’s value was only appreciated and understood in Chinese culture. It not only held monetary value but symbolic value as well. When the Western world started to pay attention to the jadeite stone, one significant auction of a 27 Imperial jadeite jade beaded necklace sealed its investment potential—the necklace sold for an impressive $9.39 million US.
There are two main types of jade to keep an eye out for, jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is only found in Burma and is the rarer of the two—this is Imperial jadeite. Still, a high-quality nephrite can be a great investment choice, too. When you’re “shopping” for jade, you’ll want to look out for high translucency, texture, and colourization ratings.
4. Paraiba Tourmaline
When it comes to tourmaline, colour and clarity are what counts. But origin couldn’t hurt either. Tourmaline is primarily found in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mozambique, with Brazilian tourmaline (Paraiba tourmaline) the most attractive to investors. Get yourself a vivid Paraiba tourmaline, and you’re looking at up to $100,000 US per carat.
A camouflage master gemstone, Alexandrite reflects a rich green in the sun, and a deep, moody red under the lamp. It is a rare, colour-changing version of the mineral chrysoberyl, originally discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia.
Today, Brazillian Alexandrite is the most valuable, and this is important to keep in mind as this gemstone is one of the most treated and imitated. Man-made Alexandrite won’t bring in much of an investment. A top-notch stone has a 100% colour shift from pure red to pure green. Purply and bluish stones aren’t as valuable. Colour and colour shift are more important than clarity when valuing the stone.
Depending on the size of the stone, the price per carat can range from $15,000 US to $70,000 US.
Honourable Mention: Blue Sapphires
Sapphires come in all types of colours, but the most valuable is the Royal Blue shade. Along with rubies, sapphires were the engagement ring gem of choice before the diamond came along. And they remain one of the top choices for investors.
Burma sapphires are the most valuable, but the chances of finding one are slim. You’ll have better luck trying to land one from Ceylon or Madagascar.
Why Not Diamonds?
It’s no secret that the value of a diamond is over-inflated and pretty much a long-game marketing scheme. With the help of Hollywood celebrities and catchy slogans, the British diamond mining company De Beers successfully launched the first ad campaign for diamond engagement rings in 1947.
And though there’s nothing quite like the beauty of an ethically sourced, flawless diamond, the trend is starting to shift in favour of different gemstones. Diamonds are also a major source of controversy as diamond mining in Africa has been built on murder, war, and child abuse.
The fact is, diamonds are a tricky business. No two diamonds are alike and therefore are not valued based on weight, like gold. This leaves the worth of a diamond up to the appraiser. One appraiser could value a diamond at $50,000 US and another at $48,000 US. The $2,000 US difference may not convince you out of making the investment, but you’re still losing money.
And this is why diamonds did not make it on our top gemstones list. Though diamonds hold strong as the most popular gemstone and appraisal practices are the same across all gemstones, it’s too common of a gemstone to outweigh the potential discrepancies between investment appraisals, trend changes, and the risk of unethical mining practices.
Why “Investment Grade” is a Warning Sign
As you begin searching for your next best investment, you may see advertisements use the term “investment grade.” “Investment grade,” tells you nothing about the actual resale or investment value of the gemstone. Always ask about the specs of the gemstone.
- Clarity, Color, Carat
- Resale Value/Appraisal
Never use this misleading term as the basis of your investment decision.
Figuring out which gemstone to invest in is easy. Finding the stone is another story. Don’t rush the process and keep the process accountable. Ensure that you aren’t paying more than what you’ll get for it once you’re ready to cash in on the investment.