Most Expensive Gemstones Found That Made People Rich

These are the most expensive gemstones found that made people rich overnight!


From digging up a 2.5 million-carat gem in a backyard, to accidentally discovering a whole new type of rare gemstone, let's explore some of the amazing gemstones that made their finders filthy rich!


There are many kinds of rare quality gemstones in the entire world. But have you ever heard of the one called Tanzanite? It's a unique rich blue and violet variety of the mineral zoisite, was only discovered in 1967, and is believed to exist exclusively in the country of Tanzania, hence the name!


The richer the color and better the clarity, the more expensive this stone is. A single carat, which is just 200 milligrams, can be priced upwards of $800 so it’s no wonder that miners from all over the world have flocked to Tanzania’s mines in the hopes of striking rich!

One of whom was a local, small-scale miner called Saniniu Laizer. He led a pretty normal life, working hard in the mines to provide for his family. On the 24th of June 2020, Saniniu was digging away as per usual, when he struck something that made a clear, tinkling sound, a noise all gem miners long to hear!

He quickly scrambled to remove the dirt and rock from what he expected to be a mid-sized gem, maybe the size of a dime, if he was lucky. What he’d actually found were two book-sized gems, weighing a whopping 21.4 lbs and 11 lbs respectively.

View post on X

He couldn’t believe it. He quickly took them to be appraised, where he was informed that their size made them the largest rough tanzanite gems ever discovered. He later sold them to the Tanzanian government for almost 8 billion Tanzanian shillings, a little under $3.4 million!

He was rich, but he wasn’t done there. Less than three months later, going back to the same mine where he found the previous two stones, he discovered yet another tanzanite rock, weighing in at a whopping 14 lbs, which he sold for $2 million!

But instead of keeping all the money for himself, he decided to use the funds to build a school in his humble hometown of Naepo village, along with a health facility and the future promises of a shopping mall!


In Zambia, a country famous for its rich veins of emeralds, there is a tradition where the most remarkable gems unearthed from the Kagem emerald mines are given names by the indigenous Bemba people.

Back in 2010, Insofu, or “elephant” was dug up, weighing an unbelievable 2 lbs 11 oz making it roughly 6,225 carats. 8 years later, in 2018, a 5,655-carat gem some 2 lbs 7 oz was uncovered in the same region and named Inkalamu which means “lion”.


These went on to be sold at private auctions, and though the amounts were undisclosed, it’s believed they were sold for more than $2.6 million each! These were both hailed as remarkable finds, but unbeknownst to everyone, an even bigger emerald lurked within the mines.

View post on X

On the 13th July 2021, geologist Manas Banerjee and veteran miner Richard Kapeta the man who led the team which uncovered Inkalamu were chipping away at a particularly promising section of the mine. All of a sudden, Richard’s face lit up and he called out “Look at this rhino horn!”.

He was referring to the huge emerald that was poking through the rock, just like a rhino horn, which was eventually weighed in at an unbelievable 3 lb some 7,525 carats! With that, the emerald was fittingly named Chipembele, the Bemba people’s word for “Rhino”.

View post on X

Emeralds of this size and quality only form when the geological conditions are absolutely perfect for more than 100,000 years. This allows the right combination of the elements to crystalize into large, distinct hexagonal crystal structures with a glassy surface and a golden green hue. Thanks to this, Chipembele’s unbeatable size ensured it fetched over $3 million at auction!

The Royal One Opal

A gemstone’s color is its defining feature; like, we all know rubies are red and emeralds are green, but opals aren’t just one color, they’re all the colors! Opals, like the one in the photo below, are a form of amorphous hydrated silica, which is a fancy way of saying they’re mainly made up of silicon dioxide and water.


As water percolates through the earth, it picks up naturally occurring silicates which then form a silicate-rich solution. Eventually, it finds its way into rock cavities and deposits the silicates as a series of tiny spheres. As the water evaporates, the silica deposits are left behind. This goes on for thousands of years until an opal forms!

However, not all opals are made equally. While common opals tend to consist of one color, black opals have a darker body tone. And when light hits a black opal, it’s diffracted between the silica spheres like a prism, making it seem like the stone is a hundred different colors, like this one:

View post on X

Worth up to tens of thousands of dollars per carat, a single black opal of the right quality can make a miner rich, which is exactly what happened to a retired Australian opal miner called Bobby back in the 1990s.

Having spent his life hunting for the opal that would make him rich, he’d finally given up and sold all his tools and equipment. As he was sorting through the remainder of his possessions, he found a bucket with several rough, low-value, unwashed opals in it. It looked more like a bucket of dirt than anything else!

But all of a sudden he spotted something glinting vibrantly green and blue within it. As he gradually washed the sand and dirt off the clump, he discovered it contained a high-quality black opal and a huge one at that! He spent 6 months painstakingly cutting the rock and scum away from the opal with a dentist drill to keep it intact, and when he was done, a huge 306-carat black opal stared back at him.

But instead of rushing to sell it, he was so captivated by the beauty that he held onto it for 14 years! Eventually, he decided to sell it to a jeweler, who named it The Royal One and revealed it was worth more than $3 million adjusted for inflation, that’s a little under $4 million today!

View post on X

Australian Sapphire

It’s not just opals that can make miners rich in the land down under! In October 2022, ethical Australian gem miner Matt Betteridge discovered just that when he was hunting around Queensland’s Rubyvale gem field.

Ethical mining means that Matt uses a pick and shovel to dig up gems instead of large-scale industry equipment, so he can get at the gems with minimal environmental impact. Thanks to the heavy rain that had been beating down on the region for the previous few months, a lot of top layer dirt in the area had been washed away, making any hidden gems a little easier to spot.

View post on TikTok

He was hunting around at night, cleverly using the light from his torch to pick up any telltale glints coming from the earth, when he spotted something. He assumed the glittering stone was small, like a lot of the others he’d found; about the size of a fingernail, maybe worth $50 to $100 tops.

But as he began to pick it out, its true size came to light. It was an Australian Sapphire as big as a child’s fist, weighing in at some 166 grams, making it an 834-carat cluster! Matt managed to get a valuation of AUD$15 per carat, making it a whopping AUD$12,500 find, roughly US$8600!

View post on TikTok

Arkansas Quartz

The internet is full of videos of gem hunters claiming to have found giant diamonds and crystals on the beach or hillside, all perfectly clumped together, almost like they were planted. Like this one below, which in the title, the creator claims to have found “the most precious diamond in the world.”

Watch on YouTube

Except that the supposed diamond has fractured and separated from a larger gem buried beneath. Diamonds famously don’t do that. All those YouTube views might have made that lady rich, but probably not that alleged “gem”. However, there are some truer tales out there of truly gigantic crystal discoveries that have made people rich, like Arkansas’ quartz miners!

Quartz, like opal, is formed of silica, but quartz is a specific crystalline form of the mineral. Quartz is also much more common, and in Arkansas, a 170-mile vein of the stuff runs through the state! So, back in the mid-1980s, Ron Coleman bought a quartz mine in Jesseville, opened it to the public, and started digging.

Over the years he and his guests dug up plenty of quartz crystal points of all sizes, which can sell for thousands of dollars each depending on their size. But in 2016, Ron and his workers came across something much, much bigger.

It took 4 days of crews blasting the area and then using hand tools to dig it out, but they finally came away with an absolute beast of a quartz chunk! It is an 8 ft long block of crystals weighing more than 2000 lbs, worth more than $3.5 million!

In that same year, his mine produced the utterly unfathomable 8,000lb Berns Quartz cluster, which is now on display at the Smithsonian!


Heart-Shaped Amethyst Geode

Amethyst geodes are purple crystal cavities that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They form from gas bubbles, which were trapped hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of years ago in cooling lava.

At some point, hot mineralized solutions seeped into these cavities carrying a silica substance. If this silica solution also contained iron, then gradually as this solidified into quartz, natural radiation would gradually give the crystals growing inside that famous purple color, turning it into an amethyst!


Because bubbles can be huge or tiny, spherical or morphed, geodes themselves come in all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes. But none have been cut open and looked like this next one before! Back In 2021, gem miners at the border of Uruguay and Brazil came across what they thought was a regular old geode trapped in the basalt rock.

But when they split the rock open, they found the ancient bubble had cooled and formed a cavity in the perfect shape of a heart! Weighing over 150 lbs due to the basalt shell, the split geode now makes a matching pair of hearts, which is completely unique. So much so, it spurred one romantic bidder to offer $120,000 for the two pieces!


Brazilian Blue Sodalite

For any gem fanatics out there, Sodalite might not seem like it could make anyone particularly rich. It’s an ornamental gemstone, which is relatively hard but also fragile thanks to its high sodium content.

It’s most prized in its deep blue hue with white veins, where it can be fashioned into beads or if polished to a marble-like state, used in interior designs such as wall décor, or even bathtubs! It’s more akin to marble than diamond.


So how could this stone have made anyone rich? That comes down to a very specific kind of Sodalite, known as Brazilian Blue. Commercially, Sodalite is extracted from three locations: Namibia, Bolivia, and Brazil. Neither Namibian nor Bolivian sodalite is considered pure, as it usually has black intrusions along the stone with yellow veins which ruin its quality.

Super premium sodalite has an intense, uniform blue color, and can only be found in Brazil, something marble expert Gianluca Budri quickly learned. The CEO of Marmo Elite, an Italian marble company, immediately saw the stone’s potential.

He negotiated an exclusive deal with the cave owner in Brazil, where the finest quality Sodalite was located, and began exporting huge blocks of specially selected sections of stone. After using it in a series of incredible designs, Marmo Elite made Sodalite not only a world-renowned material but a premium one as well!

View post on Instagram

To this day, Marmo Elite make a fortune off their renowned Brazilian blue Sodalite dealings, recording a turnover of more than €9.2 million back in 2021, almost $10 million! Guess that makes Gianluca the ultimate marble marvel!

Winza Rubies

So far, many of these gemstone finds have sounded pretty incredible, but the story of how Winza Rubies were discovered is something akin to a fairy tale. According to local lore, back in the 1990s, there was an elderly farmer who lived just outside the tiny village of Winza in Tanzania.

He kept to himself and occasionally visited the city of Dar es Salaam, but all in all, seemed pretty content with his lot in life. As old age set in, he got his affairs in order and prepared to leave everything to his son, but as he was talking everything through with his son, he revealed something incredible.

Many years ago, the farmer had found rubies on his land just outside the village. So as not to attract any unwanted attention, he began to dig them up and trade them with merchants and dealers in Dar es Salaam. He had kept the ruby vein hidden for all this time, and now he was passing this secret, along with his hidden fortune, onto his son.


After his father peacefully passed away, his son was eager to continue the covert business! But in 2007, he somehow accidentally let slip there was a ruby mine running through Winza. And once the secret was out, there was no going back. In December 2007, there were 71 guests registered in the village.

By January 2008 that number had risen to 700 as miners began to flock to Winza. By May 5th, that number was around 6000. This ruby rush made a few people a fair fortune. Zoisite rubies like the one in the image below, which is a red corundum, a variant of ruby, grown into the green mineral Zoisite, can fetch an average of $350 per kilo!



Back in 1952, British mineralogist and gem dealer Arthur CD Pain generously donated a batch of ruby specimens he’d discovered in Myanmar to the Natural History Museum in London. Among them were two deep red stones that stood out from the rest. One was less than 2 grams in weight, barely 8.5 carats.

Both were just assumed to be a dark-hued variant of ruby until a closer examination in 1957 revealed that actually, they weren’t! They were something much, much rarer! They were crystals formed through the pressurized combination of several chemical elements including zirconium and boron. What made it so rare is that these two elements are almost never seen interacting with each other naturally!

©Mineral Spectroscopy Server - Caltech

As such, these two crystals, named Painite after their donor, would be the only ones of their kind identified for more than 12 years. A third Painite was identified in 1979, but it was not until 2001 that a fourth was found in Myanmar. During this time, Painite became known as the world’s rarest gemstone, with a single carat of gem quality being valued at an eyewatering $60,000!

In 2002 and 2005, Painite outcrops in Myanmar were discovered, with several thousand crystals and fragments recovered nearly half a century after the initial discovery. This increase in supply dropped the worth of shards to mere tens of dollars, with poor quality gems fetching up to $50, but real gem quality stones can still fetch an insane price!

For example, a 42.7-gram discovery made one anonymous dealer very rich back in 2020. Because at 213.52 carats, it’s the largest gem-quality Painite in the entire world, meaning the most it could have been sold for is a ludicrous $12.8 million!


Sri Lanka’s Super Sapphires

Sapphires, like diamonds, have a remarkable hardness and given the right quality, an incredible blue hue, which has made them brilliantly valuable over the centuries. And no country is more aware of this than Sri Lanka. Thanks to its geological foundations, many of the world’s rarest blue sapphires have been found there, including the absolute treasure below.

View post on X

At first, this may just look like a pretty pebble to anyone with an untrained eye. But you see the way the light fractures into 6 distinct points across its polished exterior? That is an asterism, caused by rare uniform impurities within the stone itself. Which makes this a Star Sapphire.

And not just any star sapphire, either what you’re looking at is the Star of Adam, a 280.8 gram stone, making it some 1404 carats the largest star sapphire ever found!But that’s not the craziest thing about it. Its owner claimed they bought the star sapphire from a seller, but neither of them had any idea that it was actually the largest star sapphire in the entire world.

Even so, he paid a lot for it, so much that many of his peers thought he’d been scammed, and he should have paid at least 20% less. However, after having it appraised, many believe the stone is practically priceless. At the very least, it’s thought to be worth a staggering $100 million, with some estimates going as high as $165 million!


That’s a pretty star pattern but they say bigger is better, and almost nothing comes close to the Sri Lankan sapphire that was discovered back in September 2021. Dug out of the gem-rich Ratnapura area, in a gem pit no less, the owners of the pit were quickly alerted to a shocking discovery. Initially, they said nothing to anyone, carting their find away in a shadow of secrecy.

For months they worked tirelessly to clean their find, before eventually unveiling it at their home in December 2021. It took them three months to clean because this was a single giant sapphire that tipped the scales at a whopping 683 lbs or for all the gem geeks out there, approximately 1.6 million carats!

Watch on YouTube

At the unveiling, the owners invited people to inspect it, where they used torches to examine the clarity and scale of the stone which, as we have already mentioned directs light all the way through it, indicating the entire thing is one massive crystal matrix. Aptly named The Queen of Asia, estimates suggest that it’s worth more than $100 million, though it has yet to find a buyer.

But the Queen of Asia is far from Sri Lanka’s biggest or luckiest sapphire discovery. Back in 2021, a gem trader in Ratnapura ran into some water problems, and so decided to have a well drilled in his own backyard. The workmen he hired were digging away when all of a sudden they began to notice that some of the rocks had colorful hues to them; they were precious gems!

They alerted the owner immediately, who asked them to keep digging. Then, all of a sudden, they hit a rock, some 39 inches long and 28 inches wide. They didn’t think much of it and began digging around it to get it out of the way. That’s when they suddenly noticed it appeared to be made out of multiple rocks, each of which had a crystal-like hue.

View post on X

This wasn’t just any old rock, it was a sapphire cluster! One that weighed in at an unreal 1124 lbs, making it roughly 2.5 million carats!

Named the Serendipity Sapphire, the owner spent more than a year cleaning mud and rock from the cluster, finding several high-quality star sapphires in its collection. Depending on the quality of the other sapphires within, this big old rock that was blocking a well could be worth up to $100 million once it’s certified!

Melo Pearl

Whether it’s a clam, oyster, or snail, finding a pearl in a shell feels pretty special! These lustrous little balls form in a mollusk's shell when something small, like a grain of sand, finds its way inside the shell.

To protect itself, the host secretes a substance called nacre, which coats the inside of its shell to protect it from parasites. Slowly, these nacre layers build up around the irritant, and the pearl-building process begins!


It can take up to 7 years for a wild pearl to successfully form, making your odds of finding one about one in 10,000. Thankfully, a humble fisherman from Thailand got far more fortunate.

The 40-year-old had been out trawling for crabs in Prachuap Khiri Khan when he caught a couple of large sea snails. He boiled the snails up and planned to eat them for lunch, but as he was slicing up the meat, his knife hit something hard! He gently pulled out a small, orange-colored pearl, which he showed to his brother.

After looking up the pearl on the internet, it suddenly became apparent that this was no ordinary pearl, but a Melo pearl. These are incredibly rare gems that are only produced in the shells of the Melo Melo snail.

View post on X

These pearls range from brown to yellow or orange, depending on the color of the shell the pearl was grown in. But with vibrant orange shades being the rarest type, they’re worth the most. As such, this bright orange beauty was about to change our humble fisherman’s life forever.

Earlier in the year, a similar-sized Melo pearl had been discovered, with the owner being offered a whopping $351,000 for it! But our fisherman decided to deal with the sale of his own pearl privately after locals began turning up at his house randomly to try and get a glimpse of his pearl!

Car Boot Sale Purchase Is Diamond Worth £2m

In 2021, an elderly pensioner from Northumberland, UK, dropped into her local auction house with a box full of old costume jewelry she hadn’t worn for years. She explained she’d been about to throw it away, but her neighbor had encouraged her to get it valued, just in case she could get a couple of quid out of them.


The owner looked the box over, and while nothing immediately stood out to him, he said he’d assess them and get back to her. The box then sat on his desk for three days before he eventually began testing the quality of the jewels.

He went from one to another with his diamond testing machine, assuming all of them were fakes when all of a sudden his machine began beeping uncontrollably. He had it placed on a stone that was about the size of a £1 coin.

Bemused, he tested it again and again, it turned out to be real. And for a diamond, it was huge! Still unable to believe what he was seeing, he sent it off to London to be examined by experts. To everyone’s shock, this was indeed a very real 34-carat diamond, worth at least £2 million, around $2.4 million!


But no one was more surprised than the diamond’s owner! When asked where she received it, her answer shocked them. She’d bought it many years ago for a few pounds from a car boot sale, a kind of British flea market!

After learning its true value, she decided to sell it at a private auction. That’s pretty miraculous when you consider that it could have ended up decorating some trash heap somewhere!

I hope you were amazed at some of the most expensive gemstones ever found, that made people rich overnight! Thanks for reading.

icon Top Picks For You

Top Picks For You

Extreme Stories Of Revenge That Went TOO FAR - Part 3
darwin poster
Ridiculous Devices People Patented
© Be Amazed
icon Popular


icon More From Culture

More From Culture

icon More From Money

More From Money