Everything Diamonds, How to buy a diamond

Red Diamonds: Beautiful and Rare Stones

by Sophia Huxley
July 16, 2021
colored diamonds

When deciding on a fancy color diamond, it can be tough to know what to buy, how to select it, and what that diamond even represents! We at Clean Origin want shopping to be simple, easy, and fun so we compiled a list of common questions about red diamonds, as well as the answers below. If you still aren’t sure, go schedule a Virtual Appointment with one of our specialists to help you find the diamond of your dreams.

What Do Red Diamonds Mean?

Red diamonds, like many stones, can be read for deeper meanings. We love the long history of some of these meanings, such as a yellow diamond ring symbolizing the beginning or continuation of living a happy life and being in love. Red diamonds can be used, much like red roses, to symbolize passion and power. They also can be used to suggest ritual or repetition, like a consistent commitment to something or someone.

Red diamonds also can mean flexibility of form. This hints at the ever-changing aspect of self and honors ideas such as ‘through sickness and through health’ or growing old together. A red diamond ring says that you understand you will grow and change with your partner and that you are committed to growing together. What a gorgeous diamond ring to give!

An engagement ring can hold compelling messages depending on the stones you choose as well as the metals. Red diamonds hold a specifically intense message that speaks to everlasting love.

What Makes a Diamond Red in Color?

Red diamonds are incredibly unique in how they derive their color. Whereas other various carat fancy-colored diamonds get their gorgeous hues from impurities caused by high nitrogen levels, boron, hydrogen, or even from excessive pressure like purple diamonds, red diamonds are simply carbon. They, like colorless diamonds, are pure carbon and have a rare occurrence in their atomic structure that causes the color to form.

The atomic structure difference bends light through the irregular lattice of the stone, causing them to look deep red. Because their color is a trick of the light so to say, they can look different in various lighting environments. While they’ll never look colorless, they can look deeper or more luminously red in different lights. Candlelight and daylight bring out the most in these stones, causing an intense red to show. Fluorescent lights don’t do them justice.

Natural light will bounce through their atomic structure beautifully. Fluorescent lights are viewed as the worst lighting for these stones. Blue diamonds and red diamonds have essentially opposite lighting rules to draw out their color. If you’re in fluorescent lighting more often than natural light, consider a blue diamond instead!

How Are Red Diamonds Graded?

Red diamonds are not graded on a similar scale to other fancy color diamonds. Fancy color diamonds, in general, cannot lie on the usual D-to-Z scale because we have to account for the depth of color and intensity of hue in a positive way for these diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has standardized these grading scales and provides detailed guides on their site.

Fancy red diamonds cannot lie on the usual grading scale for various carat fancy color diamonds because they are considered highly saturated pink diamonds. A red diamond is essentially fancy intense, fancy vivid, or fancy deep pink diamond. They are often graded more highly on their tones, warmth, and clarity than whether they are the darkest or lightest of red diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has no true scale listed for these stones and discusses the complexity of their grading to justify why. Due to their rarity naturally, it can be hard to come across enough of these stones to grade comparatively anyway. Small carat fancy red diamonds are the most common way to find these stones, and per carat are worth a serious chunk of change.

Tone colors tend to be an important part of grading fancy colored red diamonds. They come most commonly in a fancy purplish red but can be found in brownish or orangey hues as well. Orangey and brownish-red diamonds are worth a lot less than purplish or pure red diamonds. Many people prefer their red diamonds to retain a certain pinkness then have them turn orangey or burgundy. 

Are Pink Diamonds the Same As Red Diamonds?

Surprisingly, yes! See, red diamonds are classed as such because they are on the deep to intense level of color when graded. Pink diamonds are essentially lighter color red diamonds but are separated into different categories due to the difference in looks and because pink diamonds are more common.

To be clear, a pink diamond is a light fancy red diamond. Just like how canary diamonds, otherwise known as intense yellow diamonds, are rarer than lighter shades when naturally occurring, red diamonds follow a similar rule. Many people prefer pink diamonds due to their coloring, pricing, and versatility. Per carat, pink diamonds are valued lower, but they still maintain a high price point unless they are lab-grown. They match many metal types, come in many different hues and shades, and are a lot more reasonably priced while still being a rare and exquisite diamond type. 

Is a Red Diamond Like a Ruby?

While red diamonds may share a similar hue as rubies, their color is unlike any other stone. Garnets, rubies, spinels, and really any other red to pink-toned gemstone cannot match their deepness or clarity. These diamond’s red hue is prized because it is incredibly unique. The coloring allows them to match lots of metal types well. Some people prefer white gold with red diamonds, while others prefer yellow gold or even rose gold with these fabulous stones. 

What Settings Flatter a Red Diamond?

While with a pink diamond, for example, you would likely have a much bigger starter stone. Red-colored diamonds will always require you to make up for their generally smaller size. Few can afford a large red diamond, let alone find one! It is best to assume that you will need to find settings that help amp up the smaller diamond if you are set on red.

Plenty of settings will amp up your red-colored diamonds so that people aren’t focused on the per-carat price. If you want something in the red family, but you don’t want to sacrifice on size, best to pivot to pink diamond. That way you can get a larger carat diamond and have more options in terms of settings. 

Style 1: Ornate halo setting

To maximize on stone size and beauty, choose an ornate halo setting to accompany a rare red diamond. These halo settings will make your diamond even redder compared to the color of the halo stones and will make your diamond seem far bigger. 

Ornate halo setting example: Our Antique Halo Ring

Style 2: Three-stone setting

Complement a rich red diamond with vibrant side stones—either with white or colored diamonds. This will add to the glitz of your ring while still keeping the red diamond as the focal point.

Three-stone setting example: Vineyard 3 Stone Ring

Style 3: Prong setting

A prong setting elevates a red diamond to stand out even more. This is a great way to make sure your stone is noticed first, especially because you will have to start with a much smaller than average diamond by purchasing a red diamond.

Prong setting example: Loire Six Prong Ring

How Many Red Diamonds Exist?

Red diamonds are so rare that a shockingly low number of pure red diamonds actually are known to exist. Currently, only 20-30 pure red diamonds have been found, and most of those diamonds are less than half a carat in size.

The expense of a red diamond is not just prestige. It is a mark of someone who paid for something incredibly rare and waited for it to come on the market for many years. Red diamonds are more of a collector’s piece for many due to their rarity, expense, and tiny size. Many people outside the collector community and gemologist community wouldn’t truly know the worth of a smaller red diamond on someone’s ring or necklace. 

How Much Are Red Diamonds Worth?

Red diamond prices are only rising, with speculation that they may double in the coming years. Currently, a red diamond over 0.20ct rarely goes for anything less than $100,000. Pure red diamonds go for about 1 million dollars per carat.

These stones can be costly and are not as widely available as other fancy colored diamonds. The rarity of the stones combined with demand and price inflation causes them to be some of the most expensive gems in the world.

The second-rarest diamond color, pink, is often most people’s first alternative. Since they are actually the same type of stone with less intensity, and the price tag lowers considerably while still being very much a luxury purchase.

How Can You Tell If a Red Diamond Is Real?

We always suggest seeing a professional if you doubt the quality of a red diamond! No one is a better judge of your stone than an educated expert. If you see a red diamond that is too good to be true, or you think you have found the one, it is best to meet with an expert.

That said, we have pulled a few tests that you can perform in-store or at home so you can avoid some of the more obvious fakes. If you want a quick at-home test to see how real the stone is before you call in anyone to verify the stone for you, here are some options. 

The Water Test:

Practically famous as a real diamond test, drop the stone in a glass of water. If it sinks, that is a good sign! If it floats, it is not a diamond, let alone a red one. 

The Fog Test:

Put the stone in front of your mouth with a mirror behind it and breath until the mirror is fogged up. If the stone stays fogged up for a few seconds, it may not be real. Real diamonds do not fog up easily or stay fogged up as condensation does not stick to the surface.

Check The Weight:

Go by your local jeweler if you do not have a diamond scale at home. If your diamond weighs more than a diamond of its size and shape, it is likely fake. This is because stones like cubic zirconia can weigh up to 55% more than a diamond, so the weight of your stone is a good indicator of its authenticity.

Famous Red Diamonds

Due to their rarity and price per carat, there are quite a few famous red diamonds. Here are a few of those stunning stones, from the Hancock red diamond to the Moussaieff red diamond.

The Hancock Red Diamond

The Hancock Red Diamond is a round brilliant cut diamond weighing 0.95ct and was named after Warren Hancock, the famous collector. In 1956, Mr. Hancock reportedly paid $13,500 (approximately R125 000) for this diamond and was sold for $880,000 (approximately R8million) in 1987.

That makes this diamonds per carat pricing astronomical! This natural fancy red diamond is not famous for its size, as it is under 1 carat, but rather for its rare purplish-red color. It is a heavily desired, gorgeously hued, red diamond. 

The Rob Red

Red diamond

The Rob Red is a pear-shaped, 0.59ct fancy red, VS1 clarity diamond. A fancy color diamond expert has described it as the most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world. It is fairly small again, famous for its coloring more so than size. It is quite hard to source larger, pure red diamonds.

The Moussaieff Red Diamond

Moussaieff diamond

The Moussaieff Red, originally known as the “Red Shield,” is a triangular brilliant cut or trilliant-cut, fancy red, internally flawless, and 5.11 carats. This large, flawless stone was discovered in the 1990s by a Brazilian farmer in the Abzetezinho River. The red color is said to be stunning in person, a great example of the excitement in a colored diamond. In 2001, the Moussaieff jewelry firm acquired this diamond for $8million. At 5.11 carats, the Moussaieff red diamond is the largest red diamond in the world today.

The Supreme Purple Star

Supreme Purple diamond

The round brilliant cut, 2 to 5 carat, deep purple Supreme Purple Star diamond is a study in individuality. The exact color and clarity of the diamond have not been revealed. When looking at the diamond from one angle, it appears to have a deep purple color; however, when the diamond is rotated in the light, the color changes to a deep to vivid purplish red. This diamond is a brilliant example of the effects of lighting on red diamonds and an example of how their true hue results from light refraction rather than impurities.