New World Record For Red Diamond Dress

April 3rd, 2013 by Noam Flint

Red Diamond Abaya

Most of the time diamonds are draped over bare flesh, but some daring designers have sewn them into clothes. In most cultures, the majority of the human form is covered in clothes, giving the costume-cum-jewelry designer a massive canvas to work with. So unless gemstones are relegated to only a small fraction of the garment – say, embroidery around the edges – their sheer multitude means that the dress in question is going to cost a small fortune – and sometimes a large fortune!

In recent years, diamond dress designers have attempted to outdo one another in a quest to create the most expensive costume on record.

Unsurprisingly, the staging ground for some of the most valuable vestments has been the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Only one month ago, Kuwaiti cops arrested a couple of Bedouin men in possession of a diamond dress but bereft of a good backstory. Many men in Arabic-speaking countries still wear flowing robes, but jeweled stonework is seemingly still the purview of the fairer sex.

Just last week a diamond-studded abaya, the traditional women’s wear in the Middle East and North Africa, set a record in the United Arab Emirates for the world’s most expensive dress. The $17.5 million frock is covered in 3000 gems, including 100 2-carat diamonds – 50 each of white and black diamonds – 1899 blackened white pointer diamonds and 1000 pointer rubies, all set in 14 carat gold and sewn by hand with 200,000 stitches of 14 carat white gold thread. But the heart of the ensemble is a single red diamond, worth $7.4 million alone, since reds are the rarest of all diamonds, accounting for only one in a hundred million naturally harvested gems.

Red Diamond Abaya - Zoom

Zooming on the Red Diamond

The diamond abaya is the work of Britain’s Debbie Wingham, who has designed for Million-Dollar Baby’s Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank and was also the previous record-holder for most expensive dress: a $5.7 million number containing fifty 2-carat black diamonds weighing 13 kilograms. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase the red diamond record-breaker, since the central stone was borrowed from a friend and must be returned. But you can hop on a plane to Dubai and see it up close at the Raffles Salon Penthouse Suite – a rare treat for diamond aficionados, many of whom can go for fifty years without setting their eyes on an ultra-rare natural red.

Images are courtesy of Designer Debbie Wingham, you can view more photos of the Abaya here