Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Painite

(Painite image found on jewelesdujour.com)

Painite, probably one of the most valuable gems you've never heard of!  Painite was discovered in 1950s by British gemologist and mineralogist Arthur Charles Davy Pain and was named after him after being recognized as a new mineral.

 Most often, when you think of what the rarest gem may be you mind immediately thinks of the diamond, but in actuality the diamond is not really that rare.  Economically, there are far more diamonds in supply than in demand the reason the diamond still commands such a high price per carat is that the value is through manufactured scarcity.  Diamond miner owners will stock pile them, and only release a certain number of them at a time so as to keep the price up.  In reality, the gem gemologists and mineralogists have generally considered to be the most rare mineral in the world is actually Painite.  

 Painite may be red, brownish, brownish-red, or orange-red.  It is a transparent gemstone with a hardness of 8 and a vitreous luster.  Painite crystal structure tend to be hexagonal-dipyramidal. So far, Painite has only been found in Burma/Myanmar and even there only in a couple locations.  One of those two mines was only just found in 2001 and prior to that only 3 specimens were known.  This new mine is in the Mogok area of Burma/Myanmar and is a fairly significant deposit having produced a 55 carat Painite.  

As would be expected, this rarity of having a Painite comes at quite a high cost.  One website I looked at said to expect to spend $1,800 per carat, while another said that the per carat may even be as high as $50,000-$60,000 per carat.  Regardless, it is certainly safe to say that if you wish to add a good quality Painite to your collection expect to spend a lot of money.

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