Red Diamonds Wiki

All About Natural Fancy Red Diamonds - The Most Expensive Diamonds in the World!

Round Red Diamond in Tweezer

Red diamonds are one of the most mysterious colors in the family of fancy colored diamonds. Highly sought after by connoisseurs of the colored diamond world, they are one of the rarest colors and fetch the highest prices per carat that exist in the world.

Since the largest known red diamond is a mere 5.11 carats, they do not make headlines for their impressive size but rather for their luscious and enticing color.

What are Red Diamonds?

Red diamonds, like all natural fancy color diamonds, are diamonds which exhibit a presence of color due to natural alterations that occurred during the diamond’s formation under the earth’s surface. Every diamond color is caused by a unique factor which results in the appearance of that color only. Aside from their color, red diamonds have all other properties of diamonds in common with more familiar colorless diamonds, such as their strength and hardness.

Fancy Purplish Red Diamond GIA Certified Fancy Purplish Red Diamond GIA Certified

The big mystery about red diamonds is actually about the cause of their color. Scientists are only able to hypothesize about what causes the color to appear and have not yet reached a conclusive cause. One theory, which was proposed by the GIA, is that the cause of the red hue is similar to that of pink, which is a disturbance in the atomic structure of the diamond’s lattice composition.

Red, just like pink, cannot appear as a secondary color although it can appear with a modifying color when it is the main color. Red diamonds can be modified by Purple, Orange, or Brown. It is more common to find red diamonds with a modifying color than to find pure red diamonds. In addition, pure red diamonds larger than 0.20 carats are even rarer, making them almost impossible to find. This point is reinforced by the reality that only 5 diamonds in existence have ever been known to be greater than 5 carats. Similar to Black diamonds and White diamonds, Red diamonds cannot be found in varying levels of intensity like Light, Intense and Vivid. Their singular intensity level is Fancy.

Where Do Red Diamonds Come From?

The majority of red diamonds are mined in Australia at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, which is also known for its pink, blue, violet and brown diamonds. However, red diamonds can also be found in diamond mines in Brazil, India and Russia. Something about the geological formations under those regions causes red diamonds to form there and not in other known diamond mines around the world, like Canada, Botswana, Sierra Leone or South Africa.

Red Diamond Value and Price Behavior

There are only about twenty to thirty known true red diamonds (red diamonds with no secondary color) in the world today. That is one of the main reasons that red diamonds are able to command such high prices per carat. For example, the Hancock Red diamond was originally bought in 1956 for $13,500 but was sold at auction in 1987 for $880,000! At 0.95 carats, that makes that diamond $926,000 per carat value in 1987 dollars! Today, a good price for a red diamond from a regular retailer (not for a famous diamond at auction) is about $400,000 per carat. The largest red diamond is also the most expensive red diamond ever sold, the Moussaieff Red. The 5.11 carat Fancy Red diamond was sold in 2001 for $1.2 million per carat, a total of $8 million. These numbers give a pretty clear picture of how something so small can be worth so much money – all because of their rarity in nature and their desirability.

Famous Red Diamonds

Considering the rarity of red diamonds, the fact that there are 4 famous ones speaks a lot as to their high profile nature. Out of all the diamond colors, famous red diamonds stand out in that these famous ones are not large by the usual standards! They are famous because of their incredible prices and color relative to their size. It is interesting to note that only 5 red diamonds greater than 5 carats have ever been discovered.

The Moussaieff Red

Originally known as the “Red Shield”, the Moussaieff Red got its name when it was sold to the Moussaieff diamond company in 2001. At 5.11 carats, this Fancy Red diamond is the largest known red diamond in the world, and currently the most expensive red diamond ever sold. It was discovered in Brazil in the 1990s by a farmer in the Abaetezinho River. The Moussaieff Red was displayed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum of Washington D.C> in 2005 as part of the Splendor of Diamonds’ exhibit alongside several other famous fancy color diamonds and one famous colorless diamond.

The Rob Red

Named after its owner Mr. Robert Bogel, the Rob Red is a 0.59 carat Fancy Red pear shaped diamond with VS1 clarity. It was declared by Stephen Hofer:

“The most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world.”

For this reason, some consider its color grading to actually be Fancy Intense Red although that color designation does not technically exist.

The Hancock Red

The Brazilian 0.95 Fancy Red diamond known as the Hancock Red is an outstanding round brilliant diamond with amazing red color. It was originally bought in 1956 by a Montana rancher and diamond collector named Warren Hancock at his local jewelry store for a mere $13,500. Probably one of the greatest diamond investments in history, the diamond was sold at auction at Christie’s NY in 1987 for $880,000. At the time, it became the most expensive diamond to ever sell at auction.

The De Young Red

The 5.03 carat Fancy Brownish Red diamond is a round brilliant diamond that was named after its owner Sydney de Young, a jeweler in Boston. The stone was acquired by his company as part of an estate sale and was assumed to be a garnet. De Young noticed that the stone looked rather clean and sent it to be tested, confirming his suspicions that it was indeed a diamond. After owning the stone for many years, De Young donated the diamond as a bequest to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C.