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Red Diamonds- Rare and Beautiful

Updated on April 18, 2011
Red diamond
Red diamond

If you are into colored diamonds, you will probably know that the natural red diamond is the rarest diamond of them all. While pink, blue, yellow and green diamonds are relatively common, there are under 50 red diamonds known to exist to date. Red diamonds are usually referred to by gemologists as “fancy red” diamonds.

How do they get their color?

Unlike other fancy diamonds that have impurities embedded in them, fancy red diamonds get their color from their graining- imperfections in the structure and lattice work of the diamond. As a matter of fact, the fancy red diamonds are made purely from carbon, just like colorless diamonds.

The irregularity in the lattice work that is responsible for the color of the red diamonds occurs due to intense pressure on the diamond while it is buried at great depths beneath the earth’s surface. When retrieved from underground, and light is allowed to pass through the irregular lattice, the unusual bending of the light causes these diamonds to reflect a ruby- like color.

Where are red diamonds found?

Red diamonds have been known to come from Australia, but few have been found in other parts of the world like South Africa and Brazil.

What determines the value of the red diamond?

Fancy red diamonds range in color from dark pink to purplish red. These diamonds are graded by the intensity of their color, and are priced accordingly- the diamond with the strongest hue is the most valuable of them all.

The grades of the fancy red diamonds have been described by gemologists as follows:

The Hancock Diamond
The Hancock Diamond | Source

Famous Red Diamonds

The Hancock Diamond

The most famous red diamond found in Brazil is the Hancock Red diamond- a 0.95 carat round brilliant diamond named after Mr. Warren Hancock, a colored diamond connoisseur who collected diamond rarities from the early 1950’s until his death in 1981. In 1956, Mr. Hancock reportedly paid $13,500 for this diamond. In 1987 the Hancock diamond made news when it was sold at Christie’s for $880,000.


The Moussaieff Red Diamond

The 5.11 carat fancy red diamond called the MOUSSAIEFF RED DIAMOND, graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the largest known red diamond to date.

This trillion cut diamond is said to have been found by a Brazilian farmer in 1990 as a rough stone about 13.9 carats.

In 2001, the Moussaieff jewelry firm acquired this diamond for $8,000,000.00. It is still in the possession of Moussaieff Jewelers Ltd.


Highest auctioned red diamond
Highest auctioned red diamond

The Highest auctioned red diamond to date.

On November 15th 2007, a rare red diamond, the largest of its type ever to appear at auction, sold for a record price at a Christie's International sale in Geneva.

The fancy purplish-red diamond, weighing 2.26 carats and mounted on a ring, fetched $2.7 million including the buyer's premium- this equates to $1,180,340 per carat, the highest ever for a red diamond at an auction.

The record was previously held by the 0.95-carat Hancock Red diamond, bought in 1987 for the equivalent of $926,316 per carat.

Information on fancy colored diamonds, pink diamonds and green diamonds can be found at


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