When it comes to rarity, many a mineral can contend for the title of rarest, but Painite has officially been recognised as the rarest gemstone in the world by The Guinness Book of World Records – until 2001 only three crystals were known to exist. An exceedingly scarce borate group of mineral, Painite was discovered in Myanmar and identified as a novel mineral species of gemstone variety during the 1950s.
Though mistaken as a ruby since its earliest discovery, Painite’s distinct chemical composition has since been analysed. The naturally hexagonal Painite crystal contains a mix of minerals including boron and oxygen along with aluminium and commonly occurring calcium. Zirconium is another element which blends itself with boron in an unlikely association to create Painite.
Such anomalous unification of zirconium and boron does not take place in other minerals and in the process, contributes to the uniqueness of Painite. Presence of trace elements such as vanadium in addition to chromium result in the mineral’s typical dark brown tinged red to lighter orange hued red. The darker shades of red are similar to garnet though Painite is distinctly different from lookalike minerals. This colour conundrum has led to the identification of early Painite as garnets and sometimes, as rubies.
After 2001, extensive and intensified exploration across the famous Mogok region in Myanmar led to the discovery of an outcrop in 2005. Several thousand Painite specimens, both crystals as well as fragments, have since been recovered.
However, most of the unearthed material is far from facetable and runs the risk of losing substantial amounts of the valuable rough. Gem-quality roughs can be characteristically fractured as well as deeply included. Consequently, faceters are forced to cut these roughs into shallow and smaller gems, ultimately impairing Painite’s innate brilliance. Hence, the limited volume of cut Painite exhibits remains with specialist collectors.
Although diamonds have been hailed as the epitome of exquisiteness and preciousness, Painite has managed to overturn this popular decision. Painite by origin is a prized and rare gemstone.
There has been a recent increase in supply which led to the availability of poor-quality minute stones that cost less than US$100. If you are serious about investing in a Painite gemstone, stay away from unbelievably inexpensive online deals. Myanmar remains the only producer of Painite gems. f your online Painite source says otherwise, it is certain to be fake.
A real Painite is a singularly rare natural occurrence. Consequently, when available, this priceless mineral can cost a fortune. Considered one of the rarest gemstones, a gem-quality, virtually transparent and precisely cut, Painite starts from a staggering per carat range of US$50,000 to US$60,000 and can go higher depending on the weight of a single polished stone.
If you are in love with the idea of a stunning coloured gemstone, check out our collection of Coloured Gemstones
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