Katherine Amelia Barnes

·An experienced professional in the jewelry industry, 2000 - Present

·Graduate Gemologist (GG)

·Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter (CSM)

·Skilled writer, with work featured in various online and print publications

·Passionate about sharing her expertise with others

·Strong communicator and collaborator

·Respected and trusted by peers and clients alike

In the last decade, prices for rare diamonds and gemstones have skyrocketed. But, unfortunately, there seems to be no limit to the price one is willing to pay to own the most flawless diamond or magical Burmese ruby.

Why so expensive? Those who buy such things are not only paying the penalty or the market price. They pay for owning a special, one-of-a-kind item. They are purchasing a piece of history, an object with stories and secrets that can't be replicated

As a jewelry expert, I want to draw your attention to some of the rarest and most expensive stones and jewelry sold at auction. We will look at some of the world's most remarkable and expensive jewels to be ever auctioned, so you can get an idea of how much these precious stones are worth.

The Most Expensive Gems and Jewelry in the World

The Pink Star Pink Diamond, $71.2 million

expensive gemstones

The 59.6-carat Pink Star diamond snapped up a record-breaking $71.2 million at Sotheby's in 2017. The Pink Star diamond is the largest polished, internally flawless, vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. 

It was mined by De Beers in Botswana in 1999 and cut into a cushion shape weighing 132.5 carats. It took two whole years to polish and cut! With its record-breaking sale, this gem became the most expensive diamond or jewel ever auctioned.

The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond, $57.5 million

expensive gemstones

This 14.62-carat vivid blue diamond was sold for $57.5 million at Christie's in 2016 and was the most expensive jewel ever sold by a public auction. The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond was discovered in the Cullinan Mine in South Africa. Sir Philip Oppenheimer of the influential family behind the De Beers diamond empire had owned her. 

This 14.62-carat stone may seem relatively small compared to a 60-carat one. But bright blue diamonds are even rarer than pink diamonds, so finding a stone of this size and quality is very difficult.

The Memory of Autumn Leaves and The Dream of Autumn Leaves Mismatched Earrings, $57.2 million.

expensive gemstones

At the Sotheby's auction in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 16th, 2017, two awe-inspiring diamonds - a 14.54 ct Dazzling vivid, vivid blue and a 16 ct remarkable fancy intense pink - sold for an impressive $57.2 million! As a result, the Apollo Blue and Artemis Pink diamonds have been rechristened, now officially the world's most valuable earrings.

These earrings feature two pear-shaped Diamonds, the larger one being a vivid blue Apollo and the smaller one an intense pink Artemis. Set in platinum and 18K rose gold, they are surrounded by pink and blue diamonds. 

The Winston Pink Legacy, $50.37 million

expensive gemstones

This fancy vivid pink diamond, weighing 18.96 carats, was sold for $50.37 million in 2018 at Christie's New York. It is the largest fancy vivid rectangular-cut diamond ever to be offered at auction.

The Winston Pink Legacy was mined in South Africa and cut and polished over three years. The diamond is renowned for its rare color, size, clarity, and shape combination. 

The Blue Moon of Josephine, $48.4 million

expensive gemstones

Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau paid a mind-boggling sum for a 12.03-carat flawless, bright blue diamond as a gift to his seven-year-old daughter, Josephine. It came the day after he bought a 16.8-carat pink diamond for $28.5 million at a rival auction house. 

The Blue Moon of Josephine was cut by Cora International, who had bought the rough stone in South Africa. Its name is derived from the French translation of Josephine - "La Lune Bleu de Josephine." 

The Graff Pink, $46.1 million

expensive gemstones

Billionaire Lawrence Graff paid a record $46.1 million for a 24.78-carat fancy hot pink emerald cut diamond. Once owned by his rival Harry Winston, it is now part of Graff's historical collection of rare diamonds and bears his name.

The Graff Pink is a rare Type IIa diamond mined in South Africa. It was cut into an emerald shape by London-based diamond cutters.

The Princie Diamond, $39.3 million

expensive gemstones

Named after a prince from the South Indian State of Baroda, the Princie Diamond is a 34.65-carat cushion-shaped pink diamond. It is the second-largest fancy intense pink diamond in the world after the Graff Pink and was sold for $39.3 million in 2013 at a Christie's Auction.

This diamond was discovered in the Golconda Mines of India and is believed to be over 300 years old. It is a scarce Type IIa diamond known for its exceptional clarity and color saturation. 

Marie Antoinette's Pearl Pendant, $36.2 million

expensive gemstones

The pearl pendant with a diamond belonged to the French Queen Marie Antoinette and was part of a jewelry collection provided by the Italian royal house of Bourbon-Parma. It was sold for $36.2 million in 2019 at Christie's Geneva, setting a new world record as the most expensive pearl ever sold.

The pendant features an oval diamond and drop-shaped pearl hanging from a bow. The pearl is believed to have been given to Marie Antoinette by King Louis XVI as a gift of love. It is one of the most famous pieces from her jewelry collection. 

The Orange, $36.2 million

expensive gemstones

The 14.82-carat diamond known as the Orange was sold for a staggering $36.2 million in 2013 at a Sotheby's auction. This is the highest price that was ever paid for an orange diamond.

The orange diamond was mined in South Africa and was cut into a pear shape by Cora International. It is a vivid orange color, which is extremely rare in diamonds. It is also a Type IIa diamond with exceptional clarity and color saturation. 

De Grisogono Diamond and Emerald Necklace, $33.7 million

expensive gemstones

The De Grisogono Diamond and Emerald Necklace feature a 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond, which is set in a necklace of diamond and emeralds. It was sold for $33.7 million at Christie's Geneva in 2017, making it one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry ever sold.

De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jewelry maker, designed this stunning necklace. Its centerpiece is a D-color, flawless diamond cut from a rough stone weighing more than 300 carats. It is complemented with marquise, round-cut diamonds, and emeralds, giving it an elegant look. 

The Zoe Diamond, $32.6 million

expensive gemstones

A beautiful stone from the collection of the late Rachel "Bunny" Mellon (wife of philanthropist Paul Mellon) was worth $3.3 million per carat! But unfortunately, the owner of a unique copy left the world a year before the auction at the age of 103 years. 

The exceptional bright blue pear-shaped diamond weighs 9.75 carats and is now owned by Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau. At a Christie's auction, it was sold for $32.6 million under Zoe Diamond. This jewel is one of the world's most beautiful and rare diamonds. 

The Pink Promise, $32.5 million

expensive gemstones

The Pink Promise is a spectacular 14.93-carat diamond that sold for $32.5 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2018. It is a Type IIa flawless pink diamond and the largest Fancy Vivid Pink ever auctioned.

The Pink Promise is an emerald-cut diamond with exceptional clarity and color saturation. In addition, it has a classic shape with 92 facets, making it truly remarkable. The Pink Promise was mined in South Africa and has a long history that dates back to the 18th century. 

Vivid Blue Diamond, $32 million

expensive gemstones

A bright blue diamond is rare on its own, but when it weighs over 10 carats and is oval, it becomes even more unique. That's why a 10.10-carat blue stone ring flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds sold for more than $30 million.

The vivid blue diamond, which sold for a whopping $32 million in 2017, is a Type IIa diamond. It featured exceptional clarity and color saturation and was cut from a rough stone weighing more than 10 carats. The vivid blue diamond is one of the rarest stones in the world and is highly sought after by collectors. 

The Unique Pink Pear-Shaped Diamond, $31.6 million

expensive gemstones

When this 15.38-carat fancy hot pink pear-shaped diamond was sold in 2016, it set the world record for any hot pink diamond at auction. It was sold for a staggering $31.6 million, making it one of the most expensive gems in the world.

The unique pink pear-shaped diamond was mined in South Africa and is a Type IIa diamond with exceptional clarity and color saturation. In addition, it features 92 facets, which gives it a stunning sparkle. The diamond was cut by Cora International, which is known for its craftsmanship in cutting diamonds. 

Flawless Oval Diamond, $30.8 million

expensive gemstones

This 118.28-carat flawless oval diamond is of IIa type, a rare category of most chemically pure diamonds. As a result, they are often described as crystal clear. At the time of the sale, GIA reported that it was the largest diamond of size, shape, and quality they had ever rated. 

This magnificent stone was sold for $30.8 million at Sotheby's Geneva, setting a new world record for the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction. The flawless oval diamond is considered one of the world's most valuable and sought-after gems. 

Cartier Sunrise Ruby Ring, $30.4 million

expensive gemstones

In the world of colored gemstones, the Burmese pigeon blood ruby is the rarest and most valuable. They are distinguished by a deeply saturated color and natural fluorescence, giving the mineral a lively inner fire. 

Industry experts say this cushion-cut Burmese ruby weighing 25.59 carats, set between two shield-cut diamonds in the ring, is the most beautiful of its kind. The Cartier Sunrise Ruby Ring sold for $30.4 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2015, setting a new world record. 

The Sweet Josephine Pink Diamond Ring, $28.5 million

expensive gemstones

In two days, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau spent nearly $80 million on two diamonds for his seven-year-old daughter Josephine. He also paid a record price for this 16.8-carat ring with a bright pink cushion-cut diamond. 

The next day, he paid over $48 million for a bright blue diamond at Sotheby's. Now the name of Josephine is forever associated with record-breaking diamonds. The Sweet Josephine Pink Diamond Ring sold for $28.5 million in 2015, making it one of the most expensive diamonds ever auctioned. 

Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace, $27.6 million

expensive gemstones

As a symbol of high status and wealth in Asia, high-quality jadeite has become the most coveted gemstone, surpassing even diamonds. The collector paid a record-breaking $27.6 million for the Hatton-Mdivani necklace of 27 perfectly matched graduated jade beads in translucent bright green. The jewelry also has a platinum clasp with diamonds and rubies.

Previously, the beads belonged to the American socialite Barbara Hutton. According to one version, the necklace was given to her by her father for the wedding to the Georgian prince Alexis Mdivani. After the couple's divorce, the jewelry remained in the groom's family. 

It was occasionally worn by Alexis' sister - Princess Nina Mdivani (sister-in-law of writer Arthur Conan Doyle). After Nina's death, the jewelry was put up for sale for the first time and initially cost only $2 million.

Bottom Line

expensive gemstones

Collectors have coveted diamonds, rubies, and jadeite for centuries. The abovementioned pieces are some of the most expensive diamonds ever auctioned, setting new world records. 

The rarity and beauty of these stones are a testament to their value in society. Whether you are a collector or an enthusiast, one thing is for certain: these magnificent gems will remain items of desire and admiration for years to come.​​​​​​​