Complete Guide to Red Diamonds

Stephen J. Arias

If you are in the market for a red diamond, there are several things you need to take into consideration before you buy one. While red diamond engagement rings are a fantastic choice, they are extremely rare, which makes them the most expensive color diamonds in the world. 

Red diamonds belong in the fancy color category, which includes diamonds that are even rarer than white diamonds and those with a yellow undertone. What’s more, red diamonds are the rarest types of fancy color diamonds. 

The majority of red diamonds come from the Argyle Mine in Western Australia. Other countries that have red diamond mines are Russia, Brazil, and some African countries. As time goes by, finding these diamonds is becoming a greater challenge. 

What Is a Red Diamond? 

red diamond on black background

A red diamond is one of the 12 types of fancy color diamonds. As opposed to colorless diamonds, which comprise white diamonds and diamonds with a slight yellow hue, fancy color diamonds exhibit intense colors. 

The most common types of fancy color diamonds consist of yellow, brown, and pink. On the other hand, fancy color diamonds, which are harder to find, include green, blue, violet, orange, and red. 

In fact, red diamonds are so rare that GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) doesn’t have a record of a single red diamond from the period between 1957 and 1987. Only a handful of red diamonds are discovered each year, and gemologists predict that it will be even more challenging to find them in the future. 

It’s important to make a distinction between red and pink diamonds. Color diamonds need to have a very specific red tone to be qualified as red diamonds. If they don’t meet these requirements, then they are either classified as pink diamonds or red diamonds with a secondary hue. 

As opposed to pink diamonds, which are found in large amounts, red diamonds do typically not exceed one carat. Interestingly enough, red and pink diamonds are always found in the same mines. Taking their rarity into account, red diamonds are also the most expensive. One carat is usually worth $1 million. 

How Is a Red Diamond Made? 

raw red diamond uncut

Both colorless and fancy color diamonds are created the same way. That’s why their inherent properties are somewhat similar, the only difference being their ability to exhibit intense colors. 

Diamonds are formed as a result of extreme pressure and heat that reaches 1,300 degrees Celsius. It takes billions of years for this harsh environment to crystallize carbon atoms, thus, to form diamonds. Miners have to dig at least 150km below the Earth’s surface to find them and only a handful of mines have produced red diamonds. 

Fancy color diamonds contain properties that produce different colors. For example, blue diamonds contain boron impurities that generate their blue hue. Some other diamonds have concentrations of nitrogen or hydrogen. Red diamonds, on the other hand, don’t contain any types of impurities. They are pure carbon, just like white or colorless diamonds. 

Regarding their red color, scientists still have different opinions on this topic. Some claim that red diamonds are just dark pink diamonds. The fact that they can only be found in mines where pink diamonds had been discovered confirms this theory. Others believe that the source of the red color comes from complex atom deformations within the crystal, causing it to absorb all colors apart from red. 

Since only a limited number of red diamonds have been found, it makes it challenging for scientists to precisely analyze their atomic structure. That’s why the formation of red diamonds is still considered a mystery. 

Understanding the Four Cs of Red Diamonds 

The quality of each diamond is graded according to the four Cs – color, clarity, cut, and carat. Since fancy color diamonds are so special due to their color saturation levels, the most important quality-determining factor is color. 


oval cut red diamond

While colorless diamonds are graded according to GIA’s D-Z color scale, fancy color diamonds have colors that go beyond the Z range. As opposed to colorless diamonds, which need to exhibit an absence of color to be considered valuable, fancy color diamonds are worth more if they contain an intense color. The more accentuated the color saturation is, the more expensive red diamonds are. 

Some tend to mistake pink diamonds for variations of red diamonds. In truth, a diamond has to display certain color characteristics to be classified as a pure red diamond. If a fancy color diamond doesn’t meet those requirements, it’s graded as a pink diamond or a red diamond with a secondary hue. 


red diamonds

According to GIA, a diamond’s clarity can be divided into six categories: included (I1, I2, and I3), slightly included (SI1 and SI2), very slightly included (VS1 and VS2), very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2), internally flawless (IF), and flawless (F). 

Red diamonds almost always have VS1 or VS2 clarity, except for some famous pieces. For example, the Moussaieff Red is graded as IF (internally flawless). 

Whether a red diamond has VS1 or VS2 clarity usually doesn’t cause a difference in price, since color is the primary determining factor. 


emerald cut red diamonds

While a red diamond’s cut isn’t a major aspect of the four Cs, it can still make a difference in price. In other words, the shape of a diamond can affect its color. If a red diamond has larger dimensions, its color intensity and brightness will be more prominent. 

The diamond’s style can also influence the color; as larger cuts allow light to be reflected against the diamond in greater amounts. 


Examining Diamond Designs with Loupe

As mentioned, red diamonds are most commonly found in small amounts. Unlike pink diamonds, which are usually discovered in a multitude, finding red diamonds that have more than one carat doesn’t happen often. 

The largest red diamond ever found is the Moussaieff Red, which weighs 5.11 carats. 

Intensity Levels of Red Diamonds 

diamond on tweezers

Fancy color diamonds come in different intensity levels. According to GIA, a fancy color diamond can have one of nine intensity levels (faint, very light, light, fancy light, fancy, fancy intense, fancy vivid, fancy deep, and fancy dark). 

Red diamonds, inversely, only have one intensity level, and that’s fancy. 

It’s possible that red diamonds only have one color intensity level because some believe that red diamonds are the darkest type of pink diamonds. Another common opinion is that if a red diamond was to have a light-red hue, then it would be considered a pink diamond. On the other hand, if a red diamond has a dark-red color, it would fall into the brown diamond group. 

Apart from red diamonds, black diamonds and white diamonds also only have one color intensity level. 

One way of telling whether a red diamond is fake or not is by checking its intensity level. If the diamond has an intensity level that isn’t graded as fancy, you will know that it’s not a real diamond. 

Understanding Secondary Hues of Red Diamonds 

3 red diamonds

As with other types of fancy color diamonds, the purer a diamond is, the more valuable it is. That being said, a pure red diamond with no secondary hues or modifiers is extremely rare. 

The most famous pure red diamond is the Rob Red, which is also considered the most saturated red diamond in the world. Other than the Rob Red, there are only 20 to 30 known red diamonds that have a pure red color. 

Red diamonds can have purple, orange, and brown secondary hues. While red diamonds with brown or orange undertones are slightly more common, those with purple secondary hues are rare and more valuable. 

Even though some red diamonds have secondary hues, their rarity makes them more expensive than some other pure fancy color diamonds. 

Prices of Red Diamonds 

pear shaped red diamond on black rocks

As mentioned, red diamonds are the most expensive fancy color diamonds. Red diamonds with secondary orange and brown colors tend to cost much less than those with a purple undertone, which are usually worth $400,000 per carat. On the other hand, only one carat of a pure red diamond can cost $1 million. 

The Moussaieff Red diamond, which is the largest red diamond in the world (5.11 carats), is worth $20 million. 

The fact that red diamonds will become even harder to find in the future means that their price will increase even more. In fact, some gemologists predict that in the following couple of years, red diamonds will be twice as expensive. 

Considering the six or seven-figure range of red diamonds, they are often purchased by investors and collectors, with the aim of reselling them at a higher price. 

Alternatives for Red Diamonds 

If you are interested in non-diamond engagement rings, or if you’re simply on a budget, there are plenty of other gemstones you can choose for your engagement ring. The best alternatives to red diamonds are rubies, garnets, and rubellites. 


Loose Ruby on Wood

Rubies are an obvious choice due to their stunning red color, which is caused by high levels of chromium. A ruby’s color can range from vibrant red to purplish red, and if they are paired with gold rings, they give off a vintage appeal. Rubies are also one of the most expensive gemstones, but are still a much more affordable option than red diamonds. 

The most common ruby cut is a flat tabular hexagonal shape, but it’s also possible to find round, emerald, triangular, pear, and marquise rubies. Rubies commonly weigh less than one carat. 


Loose Garnet on Wood

Garnet gemstones come in different colors, such as red, orange, brown, green, pink, etc. The most common garnet color is red, making it a perfect alternative to a red diamond. One of the reasons red garnet gemstones are popular is because they usually don’t have any inclusions that are visible to the human eye. 

Since garnets come in different colors, sizes, and cuts, they are much more affordable than rubies. Garnets that exhibit other colors are less widespread than red ones. 


rubellite on a pair of tweezers

Rubellites are types of tourmaline gemstones, which usually exhibit intense blue and green colors. Due to high levels of manganese, tourmalines can also come in pink, orange, and red hues. In fact, rubellites with slight pink and purple hues are very popular. They come in various shapes and sizes. 

Rubellites with a dark tone resemble rubies, which is what makes them a great alternative to red diamonds as well. 

Seven Shopping Tips for Red Diamonds 

Before you buy a red diamond engagement ring for your significant other, there are a couple of things you need to think about in advance. To choose the best possible option, make sure to go through these seven shopping tips for red diamonds: 

1. Find a Red Diamond Expert 

Afshin Negotiating prices on vintage ring at estate diamond jewelry showroom

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices, it’s best to consult with an expert. The gemologists at EDJ are experts in their field, and they can tell you everything you want to know about red diamonds. If you want to schedule an appointment, you can do it right here. 

2. Evaluate the Quality 

inspecting diamond ring with loupe

It’s very important to do your research before you make a purchase, especially if you want to buy a red diamond. Familiarize yourself with the four Cs of diamonds. For fancy color diamonds, the most important quality factor is color, which will also impact the diamond’s price the most. 

The diamond’s size and shape are also essential determining factors. On the other hand, a red diamond’s clarity usually doesn’t influence the value of the ring. 

3. Choose the Right Shape 

red diamond shapes

Decide on the diamond’s cut before you start looking at options. EDJ offers old European cuts, cushion, asscher, emerald, oval, and other types of cuts. When you are in the market for a red diamond engagement ring, you should pick a cut that maximizes the color’s intensity. 

4. Compare to Other Options 

12070M fancy pink diamond ring

Even when you think you’ve found the ideal engagement ring, take a few moments to consider all the options. Here at EDJ, we offer a stunning collection of diamond engagement rings, as well as fancy color diamond engagement rings. 

Take an extra moment to go through all of our options, and perhaps you will find an even better diamond ring. If more than one ring catches your eye, and you’re not sure which one you should choose, contact us. We will make sure that you go home with the most beautiful diamond engagement ring. 

5. Think About the Style 

Ruby Rings Group Photo

The style of the ring is very important. Do you want a vintage ring? An antique? A ring from a specific era? Make sure you go through all of our pages before you make a choice. 

Also, there’s the ring’s setting. Will you choose a diamond ring with an ornate halo, or perhaps a three-stone setting, which can comprise white or color diamonds – small details like these matter. 

6. Verify the Diamond’s Certificate 

GIA D Color Diamond in UV Seal

The ring you choose should be verified by GIA or AGS. If you shop with EDJ, there’s nothing to worry about. Each and every ring in our catalog is of the highest quality. 

7. Do You See Your Fiancée Wearing It? 

customer looking at diamond halo engagement ring on hand

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself when you think you’ve found the ring – can you see it on your finance’s hand? Do you think the style and color of the ring will match their style too? Take a moment and imagine the ring your fiancé would love. 

Famous Red Diamonds 

Here are some of the most famous red diamonds that have ever been found: 

The Hancock Red 

hancock red diamond

This was the first red diamond to have a public appearance in 1956. It was acquired by a man called Warren Hancock, who later sold it for $927,000 during an auction in 1987. The Hancock Red weighs 0.95 carats, and it exhibits a rare combination of red and purple. 

The Rob Red 

rob red diamond

This red diamond is quite famous due to its pure red color. In fact, the Rob Red is said to be the purest red diamond in the world. It’s pear-shaped, and it has 0.59 carats. 

The Moussaieff Red 

Moussaieff red diamond

This diamond is known as the largest red diamond in the world, weighing 5.11 carats. It was found by a Brazilian farmer in the 1990s, and is currently owned by Moussaieff Jewellers Ltd. This red diamond is classified as IF (internally flawless), and it has a triangular brilliant cut. 

Afshin Estate Diamond Jewelry in Jewelry Showroom

Red diamonds are the most valuable type of fancy color diamonds, so purchasing one for your significant other signifies deep affection and commitment. Moreover, your red diamond ring will only become more valuable as time passes. If you’re looking to find the perfect diamond for your significant other, reach out to one of our Estate Diamond Jewelry experts.

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