Research, Technology

What is the rarest mineral on Earth?

Currently, science knows more than 5300minerals that exist on Earth, and this list will expand every year. However, there are not so many gems that are rarely found - about 200 varieties. But which of these minerals is the rarest and most expensive? Someone will surely say that such a stone is a diamond. It is really very expensive, but it is still impossible to call it rare. Diamonds were discovered as early as the 4th century, and during this time a large number of them were mined. But there are minerals that were discovered quite recently. They exist in single copies, and their owners are known by name. It is these minerals that will be discussed further.

More than 5,300 minerals are known to science, but some of them exist in a single copy.

What stones are called minerals

Stones can be conditionally divided into two types - mountainrocks and minerals. But how are minerals different from rocks? It is customary to call minerals homogeneous in composition and structure of rocks, ores, meteorites. They arise as a result of natural geological processes and represent a chemical compound or a chemical element. Rocks are a collection of one or more minerals, respectively, they have a heterogeneous structure.

According to the US Geological Society, minerals- These are elements and compounds that are not organic, that is, do not contain carbon. However, according to the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), minerals also include some salt-like organic compounds such as oxalates, mellitates, acetates, etc.

Kiawtuite is the rarest mineral in the world that exists in only one copy.

Mineral kiawthuite

How many copies of one mineral shouldexist on Earth to be considered the rarest? Of course one! That is why kiavtuit (kyautuit) was awarded such a title. It was discovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar in a single copy. A description of this stone can be found in the Caltech Mineral Database.

Kiawtuit is described here as being smalla water-cut crystal of dark orange color with a "brilliant sheen". The size of a single copy is only 1.61 carats. MMA recognized the mineral relatively recently - in 2015. The description of the stone says that it is fragile. The discovered sample has a break and three chips. Unfortunately, there is very little information about this mineral.

Mineral painite - until 2001, there were only three of its minerals

Mineral painite

The second rare mineral, which will be discussed furtherspeech, was also found in Myanmar. We are talking about painite, which was first discovered in 1956. The mineral belongs to the class of borates, that is, minerals based on salts of orthoboric acid (H3BO3). This stone was named in honor of its discoverer mineralogist and collector Arthur Payne.

Painite is a hexagonal crystal,more often dark red, but sometimes there are examples of pink. Outwardly, it looks like a ruby. Moreover, Arthur Payne himself in 1952 acquired two crimson crystals in Myanmar under the guise of rubies. The collector did not even suspect that something much rarer than just rubies, which Myanmar is famous for, fell into his hands.

Did you know that there is a planet in space with sapphire and ruby ​​clouds? The temperature on it reaches 2500 degrees Celsius.

Until 2001, there were only threesmall crystals of painite. Then their number increased to 25. In 2006, a deposit of these crystals was discovered here in Myanmar. They are found, in fact, in the same place as rubies. However, all stones mined since 2006 are of much lower quality than the first crystals discovered before 2006.

Science knows only one deposit of painite

The latest study to datepainite (namely, the very first stone purchased in 1952 by Arthur Pan) was published in 2018 in Mineralogical Magazine. The author of the study, George Rossman, managed to find out that the mineral, as shown by previous studies, includes aluminum, boron, calcium and oxygen. But there is no zirconium in its composition, which indicates that the scientists of the British Museum made a mistake in their first studies.

Why does the stone look like a ruby?It contains vanadium and chromium, which give it a red color. But the most important feature, and even the mystery of this mineral is that it contains boron and zirconium. These substances do not bind well with each other. In fact, painite is the only mineral in which these two substances occur naturally in a bound state. The reason for this is still unclear.

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Despite being paining at the momentis a much more common mineral than it was just 20 years ago, there are still very few quality crystals suitable for jewelry. Therefore, the cost of a crystal reaches 60 thousand US dollars per carat.

As we said above, scientists every yearfind new minerals, and not only on Earth, but also in space. Some of them can be very useful on our planet. For example, not so long ago we talked about a lunar mineral that can serve as a source of energy.