In the precious gem trade, there is none so coveted as the red diamond. Its rarity, coloration, and exoticism make it highly sought after by collectors and private owners alike, but the price tag sets some hefty limitations on who can own one.
Red diamonds are exceedingly difficult to come by and are only found in specific mining regions. This article takes a deeper look at the story of the red diamond, its value, and its history.
What are Red Diamonds?
Of the fancy-coloured diamonds, red is the rarest. Other fancy-coloured diamonds come in shades of purple, orange, green, pink, and blue. The difference between red and other coloured diamonds is the chemical composition. Red diamonds are purely carbon, while others have minor flaws and inconsistencies in their compositions that grant them their unique colours.
Red diamonds are so rare that no more than thirty have ever been found, and most of them are quite small. They have only been mined in Africa, Australia, South America, Russia, and India, with Australia being the most prolific producer.
What is the Origin and History of Red Diamonds?
The first red diamond on record was owned by Warren Hancock, an American collector. He bought it in 1956 for a mere $13 500 and it would eventually be sold at auction for a whopping $880 000 in 1987, exceeding the initial price estimates by $700 000. The exact origins of the Hancock Red are unknown, but it was certainly a good investment for the family.
Experts remain unsure about how the red diamond gets its colour. The prevailing theory is that the displacement of atoms during the stone’s upward movement through surrounding kimberlite causes immense pressure, giving red diamonds their characteristic hue.
Most red diamonds are found in the Argyle diamond mine in Kimberly, Australia. However, there have been impressive specimens found in Brazil and Africa as well.
What are the Key Characteristics of a Red Diamond?
A red diamond is only classified as such when it has the tell-tale red coloration and a mineral composition identical to that of a colourless diamond. If you’re ever unsure if you’re looking at a red diamond, the size of the diamond might give you some indication. Most red diamonds are below one carat due to their extreme rarity.
What are Red Diamonds Worth?
Red diamonds are the most expensive of all fancy-coloured diamonds. The biggest and most valuable red diamond ever found came from Brazil, weighing in at 11 carats pre-cut. It was then bought and cut by the William Goldberg Diamond Corp. and cut to 5.11 carats. Moussaieff Jewellers later bought it for roughly $8 million.
The value of a red diamond is determined by the carat weight, colour, and clarity. A pure red diamond without any secondary colour will sell for more, although even non-pure red diamonds will rarely sell for less than $500 000.
How Much is a 1 Carat Red Diamond?
Currently, you won’t pay less than $1 million for a pure one carat red diamond. Their value falls if they have secondary colours or other imperfections. It is, however, quite rare to find a red diamond over a carat. Most that have been discovered weigh in at less than half a carat, with only five known specimens exceeding a carat.
Are Red Diamonds Rare?
Red diamonds are the rarest variety of diamond. According to diamond industry trends, approximately 133 million carats of rough diamonds are mined per year, and only a handful of those are red diamonds. Most specimens are on the small side, but still very valuable.
Why is Red Diamond so Expensive?
Red diamond gets its exorbitant value from its rarity and composition. It bears no chemical impurities, yet it exhibits a unique colouration. Fancy coloured diamonds are highly sought after, but red diamonds are the rarest and purest. This makes their per-carat price significantly higher than other diamonds.
How Can You Tell if a Red Diamond is Real?
The best way to assess a red diamond’s authenticity is to take it to a jeweller. The process for identifying the tell-tale signs of a counterfeit requires years of training and experience, as well as the right equipment. However, there is a simple way to determine whether a red diamond is lab-grown or mined. If the gem shines fluorescent under UV light, it came from a mine. If not, it was likely lab-grown. This is not a fool-proof method, but a fluorescent reaction to UV serves as solid evidence for a red diamond’s authenticity.
How to Care for Red Diamonds?
If you are ever fortunate enough to own one of these rare beauties, you want to be sure you’re giving it proper care. At home, you can use a simple solution of 1:6 ammonia and water to clean it, making sure to rinse it thoroughly afterwards. Always handled by the band or necklace if it is set in jewellery. Handling it by the stone or setting might weaken the integrity of the piece. Finally, we highly recommend taking it to a certified jeweller twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection.
What are the Best Engagement Ring Settings for a Red Diamond?
A diamond setting can achieve many different things depending on what you’re looking for. For a specimen as rare as a red diamond, you’ll want something that shows it off while keeping it secure.
- Three-stone setting: This style features a singular red diamond in the centre, complemented on either side by clear or different-coloured diamonds.
- Prong setting: A common choice, but with good reason. The prong setting features an ornately crafted precious metal setting that elevates the gem and allows plenty of light to refract through it. It is easy to clean and stylish.
- Channel setting: The red diamond sits in a main groove with smaller, clear diamonds encircling the rest of the band, showcasing the red diamond. It offers less light refraction but is more secure than a prong setting.
What is the Difference Between Red Diamond and Ruby?
While rubies and red diamonds may appear similar to the untrained eye, they are vastly different. Red diamonds are purely carbon while rubies are made primarily of red corundum. Rubies are much softer than red diamonds, measuring 9 on the Mohs hardness scale while red diamonds measure 10. A red diamond will also be more lustrous and sparkly than a ruby, which would appear dull in comparison. Of course, red diamonds are far rarer than rubies and therefore many times more expensive.
Jump To a Section Below
- What are Red Diamonds?
- What is the Origin and History of Red Diamonds?
- What are the Key Characteristics of a Red Diamond?
- What are Red Diamonds Worth?
- How Much is a 1 Carat Red Diamond?
- Are Red Diamonds Rare?
- Why is Red Diamond so Expensive?
- How Can You Tell if a Red Diamond is Real?
- How to Care for Red Diamonds?
- What are the Best Engagement Ring Settings for a Red Diamond?
- What is the Difference Between Red Diamond and Ruby?