Why Red Diamonds are so Rare

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

July 24, 2017

Pure white diamonds, also known as colorless diamonds, are very rare. Even scarcer are colored diamonds. Often jewelry makers use colored gemstones in their pieces. But colored diamonds ware absolutely extraordinary. There are several factors that can make a diamond appear a different color. However, the color of the diamond depends on what happened to it.

Colored diamonds

Diamonds come in all colors. But even within the category colored diamonds, there’s a difference in rarity. For example, there are a fair amount of brown and brownish diamonds within the colored stones. Yellow diamonds take the second place for the least rare colored diamonds. This is followed by blue, green, orange and pink. Red diamonds are the rarest of all.

To this day, there are maybe around 20 to 30 red diamonds in the entire world. Most of them are just 0.50 carats or less. The price per carat of the last auctioned red diamonds is more than 1.15 million dollars. In 2007, a ring with a purple-red diamond of 2.26 carat was auctioned for 2.6 million dollars.

Moussaieff Red Diamond

The most famous red diamond

The most famous red diamond in the world is the Moussaieff Red, found in 1990. Rough, this diamond weighed about 11 carats After the cutting process, which turned it into a beautiful trillion-cut diamond, it was 5.11 carat. Experts say if this diamond ever makes it to an auction, it will crush the current record amount ever paid for a diamond. This current record is 71.2 million dollars for “The Pink Star”, a 59.6-carat pink diamond. We can’t wait to see it happen!

How are colored diamonds formed?

There are two things that can create colored diamonds. They can be through polluted nitrogen or by damage in the crystal lattice.

Blue and yellow diamonds through pollution

colored diamonds
Diamonds appear blue or yellow because of pollution. During the formation process of the diamonds, traces of nitrogen came between the carbon atoms. This makes the diamonds reflect the light in another way than it usually does. In blue diamonds are traces of barium between the carbon atoms.

Green diamonds thanks to a damaged crystal lattice

different colors diamonds
Green diamonds were during their formation in contact with radioactivity. The extreme heat and radiation damaged the lattice and color the diamond green. This is because the prism effect of the light reflection is affected by the damage.

Red and pink diamonds by pollution and a deformed lattice

rough pink diamonds
In pink, red, brown and orange diamonds are traces of nitrogen. Normally, the diamonds would appear yellow. However, when the crystal lattice is also deformed by radioactive radiation, the color reflects in another way. The diamonds reflect the light in a pink, red, brown or orange way. The lattice is not damaged but deformed. This causes another reflection within the diamond.

Where to find colored diamonds?

The finding places of colored diamonds, in fact, don’t differ much from the finding places of ‘regular’ diamonds. However, one of the main finding places of many colored diamonds is in the Australian Argyle mine. Almost one million carat is retrieved from the mine every year. However, only one carat of that million has a pink color. Moreover, red diamonds appear only once every ten to fifteen years. That’s what you call scarce.

How much are red diamonds?

woman with red glove wearing ring with red stone
Or how do I tell my wife in a subtle way how expensive her red diamond is? The rule of thumb is that pink and red diamonds are about 50 times worth more than similar colorless diamonds. These diamonds are generally worth something between one and two million dollars per carat. Usually, people bought these diamonds solely for the investment. The diamonds would disappear into heavily guarded safes without seeing the light of day. Nowadays, fortunately, we see more and more often that colored diamonds are placed into pieces of jewelry. You have to admit: it would be a shame to hide such beauty.

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