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The Guide For Buyers & Investors


Fancy red diamonds are considered the holy grail of all fancy colored diamonds. It is an undisputed fact that natural pure red diamonds without any secondary colors are the rarest of all. These particular diamonds are so scarce that the world-renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA) did not issue a single grading report for a diamond graded as only “Fancy Red” from 1957 to 1987. Natural red diamonds are indeed so hard to come by that up to a mere thirty are known to exist. Not surprisingly, due to the total dearth of fancy red diamonds, this particular diamond color commands the highest price per carat and will only continue an upward trend.


At Diamond Envy, our colored diamond knowledge can be credited to an in-depth, hands-on approach. Exposure to some of the rarest and most captivating natural colored diamonds gives us the best reference for evaluating the jewels selected for our collection.  Our in house diamond graders evaluate each stone for cut, color and clarity and ensure we feature only the best conflict-free, natural colored diamonds.  When it comes to red diamonds, we have a discerning eye.  Our selection of rare natural red diamonds only features investment quality stones. To learn more about these scarce beauties, read below for red diamond color, price, value and history.





The cause of the highly coveted color in red diamonds remains undetermined although the prevalent theory is that, much like in pink diamonds, structural defects that arise from small movements occurring in the atoms, a process referred to as ‘plastic deformation,’ give these exceedingly rare diamonds their distinctive color. The structural defects materialize as a series of tightly positioned grain lines that exude red color. Color intensity in red diamonds is directly correlated with the amount of graining present: more graining means a more intense red diamond.


 red diamond




Unlike most colored diamonds, natural fancy red diamonds do not have color intensity grades. Essentially, a diamond is red when the color is so saturated that it can no longer be a deep or dark pink. Therefore, a "light red" cannot exist because it would actually appear pink. A diamond that appears red with a darker tone will fall into the "brownish" red category.




Secondary Color Modifiers


Fancy red diamonds are rare in general but they are absolutely rarest when they exist as pure red without any modifying colors. Natural red diamonds can be found paired with purple, orange and brown. Red diamonds are not modified by pink because, in color space, pink is a lighter shade of red. Therefore, because pink is actually a nuance of red, and not a distinct hue that exists independently of red, it will not be found as a secondary modifying color in red diamonds.


 red diamond colors




Tone refers to the lightness or darkness of a red diamond, and the continuum in between. GIA grading does not make a distinction in tones, but to the eye a stone with darker tones may appear more intense in color.

 red diamond tone




Some fancy red diamonds exhibit fluorescence when placed under UV light. These diamonds will have a faint or medium blue color. In the final analysis, the enhancement to a stone’s aesthetics that fluorescence offers is entirely subjective.





Natural red diamonds tend to involuntarily sacrifice flawlessness for their coveted color. Red diamonds can generally be found in the VS1 to SI2 range. They seldom stray outside this range, and it is especially uncommon for them to rate higher than VS1. The odds of encountering a Fancy Red diamond with clarity of VVS2, or better, are therefore entirely minuscule.




Because round cuts tend to produce lower color saturation, red diamonds, like other colors, are generally cut into fancy shapes such as radiants, pear shapes, cushions, etc. Round cuts cause color desaturation because they are best at reflecting white light, which also gives them their scintillation. In the case of red diamonds, a round cut may make the red color appear weaker, whereas a fancy shape, which reflects less white light, will maximize color saturation. Take note of uneven color distributions as well (these will be noted on your GIA certificate), as they can certainly affect a diamond’s appearance and value.


red diamonds shapes 




It is not uncommon for red diamonds, no matter how small, to be sold for six-digit figures per carat and even seven-digit figures for more coveted ones. The rarity of red diamonds directly influences their value – because natural red diamonds seldom appear on the market, their demand is understandably great. The prolonged thirty-year dry spell during the late 1950s to the late 1980s where the GIA did not encounter a single diamond that earned a grade of ‘Fancy Red’ is a testament to the scarcity of fancy red diamonds.


All natural fancy red diamonds are valuable, but ones with unmodified color – those that exist as pure red without any secondary colors such as purple or brown – are the most valuable of all. Needless to say, red diamonds in general represent excellent investment opportunities. While all fancy red diamonds make superb investments, the best options for red diamonds are those that have deeper color saturation and the largest size your budget can accommodate and the market can supply. Color, size and clarity – in that order – are the biggest factors that determine red diamond price and overall value.

 red diamond price and value




Red diamonds are so rare that they have dwelled in relative obscurity up until the late 1980s. Little has been written about the history of red diamonds thus far. What remains certain is that red diamonds rose to prominence in April 1987 during a Christie’s auction where a 0.95 carat round brilliant cut Fancy Purplish Red diamond fetched a record-breaking $927,000 per carat. Since then the excitement surrounding red diamonds has fluctuated in rhythm to announcements of new red diamonds emerging on the market. In 1998, the New-York based William Goldberg Co. cut and sold the largest fancy red diamond to be graded by the GIA to date, a 5.11 carat shield-shaped Fancy Red diamond, a stone that would come to be known as the Moussaieff Red and one of the key attractions of the Smithsonian Institution’s “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit in 2003.


Natural fancy red diamonds are mined in Brazil, Australia and South Africa.


Famous Red Diamonds


Moussaieff Red: at 5.11 carats, this GIA-graded shield-shaped Fancy Red diamond is the largest red diamond known to exist. Like the Hancock Red, the Moussaieff Red originates from Brazil, where a farmer serendipitously encountered the rough diamond, which weighed 13.90 carats, in the mid-1990s. The stone was sold to the William Goldberg Diamond Corp., which cut the rough and had originally named it “The Red Shield.” The polished diamond was subsequently sold to Shlomo Moussaieff, a London-based jewelry dealer, in the early 2000s. The Moussaieff Red was featured as one of several significant diamonds in a highly anticipated exhibit, titled “The Splendor of Diamonds,” at the Smithsonian Institution in 2003.

 famous red diamond


Hancock Red: this 0.95 carat GIA-graded round brilliant cut Fancy Purplish Red diamond was purchased by a Montana collector named Warren Hancock in 1956 for a purported sum of $13,500. It sold at auction in 1987 for a record-breaking $926,315 per carat. The Hancock Red is of Brazilian origin.


famous red diamonds 

At Diamond Envy, we offer a selection of the rarest and most extraordinary natural fancy red diamonds.  Very few of these beautiful jewels are in existence and even fewer are in circulation today, making us one of the limited retailers available. Whether you’re interested in a loose diamond as an investment or custom jewelry to give as a remarkable gift for someone special, shop our red diamond collection today.