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Why Red Diamonds are so Rare

July 24, 2017/ BY Frank van Poorten

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 diamonds with a color are absolutely extraordinary. There are several factors that can make a diamond appear a different color. However, the color of the diamond gets, depends on what happened to the diamond. 

Colored diamonds

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

To this day, there are maybe around 20 to 30 red diamonds in the world. Most of them are just 0.5 carat 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.

The Moussaieff Red Diamond on dark background

The most famous red diamond

That would be the Moussaieff Red, found in 1990. When found, this diamond had a weight of about 11 carat. After the cutting process that 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 57.5 million dollars for the 14.62 carat blue diamond, the Oppenheimer Blue. 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 on reflecting background

Blue and yellow diamonds through pollution

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 in golden setting

Green diamonds thanks to a damaged crystal lattice

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.

 fake pink diamonds in jewelry

Red and pink diamonds by pollution and a deformed lattice

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 Australia, in the 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.

woman wearing red glove with ring with red diamond

How much are red diamonds?

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.

Buy colored diamonds

Love red and other colored diamonds? Browse our collection of colored gemstones and diamonds. Just like red diamonds, pink diamonds are absolutely gorgeous. For example this ring with a pink diamond which shows the beauty of colored diamonds greatly.

For more information about colored diamonds, please contact a diamond consultant.

red diamonds in gold ring

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