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Fancy Red Color Diamonds

By Mike Fried,

Fancy red diamonds are an extraordinary class of colored diamonds, highly prized for their rarity and unique deep red hue. Unlike other colored diamonds that contain trace elements like boron or nitrogen, red diamonds owe their color to a rare distortion in their crystal lattice. When buying a red diamond, it’s crucial to focus on its color, as it largely dictates the diamond’s value. Certifications from reputable gemological laboratories can verify the authenticity and quality of the stone.

Because of their extreme scarcity, red diamonds are often found in smaller carat sizes, usually below 1 carat. The budget for a fancy red diamond can be staggering, with prices reaching into the millions of dollars per carat for stones of the highest color intensity. Due to their unique beauty and rarity, red diamonds are often used in high-end, bespoke jewelry such as engagement rings and other statement pieces, serving as the standout centerpiece.


Bottom Line Recommendation:

A red diamond should be purchased from a vendor with high-quality photos like James Allen. You want to ensure you’re getting the most beautiful red stone for your budget. In our years of experience, Leibish & Co. offers the best prices and overall customer experience in the Fancy Color Diamond market. Additionally, Leibish & Co provides the highest level of expertise in bringing out the maximum color of the stone when set in jewelry.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

What are red diamonds?
Where does the red color originate?
What are the color intensity levels of red diamonds?
How much do red diamonds cost?
What is the best ring setting for a red diamond?
Examples of red diamond jewelry

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

What Are Red Diamonds?

Red diamonds are the rarest and most unique type of fancy colored diamond. A red diamond is a pure carbon gemstone, featuring none of the chemical impurities that create other kinds of colored diamonds.

Very few mines produce red diamonds. Africa, Australia, Brazil and India are the areas known for having produced red diamonds. Of these areas, the Argyle mine in Western Australia is responsible for several famous red diamonds. Only a handful of pure red diamonds are found each year. According to JCK Online “for 30 years (1957–1987) the Gemological Institute of America graded none (red diamonds) with the pure color.”

Their extreme rarity means almost all red diamonds are less than one carat in weight. The largest known red diamond, the Moussaieff Red Diamond, weighs 5.11 carats, and has an estimated worth of $20 million. Even much smaller red diamonds carry a significant price tag, often as much as $1 million per carat.

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Origin of Red Diamond’s Color

Different than other Fancy Diamonds, red diamonds don’t obtain their color from having impurities like nitrogen in their composition. In fact, the exact cause of the red diamond’s color is still debated among experts. Some gemologists believe that the red shade comes from changes to the atomic structure—in a process called plastic deformation—that occurred during the diamond’s journey to the Earth’s surface. Similar to pink diamonds, it’s likely that the enormous pressure the diamonds endured impacted their molecular structure. With this theory, more pressure probably meant a richer red hue.

“This gem is one of only a few diamonds to display enough saturation and intensity to be graded as a true red,” Jill Burgum, Heritage Auctions’ executive director of fine jewelry, said in a statement. “Adding to the allure, the cause of a red diamond’s color remains a mystery to scientists, making this stone even more of a marvel.” JCK Online

Not knowing the exact origin of the red diamond’s color adds to the stone’s mystery, as it’s the rarest one of all the Fancy Color Diamonds.

Red Diamond Intensity Levels

With red diamonds, there are no varying levels of color intensity. While other Fancy Color Diamonds are graded by terms like Fancy, Intense and Vivid, red diamonds are not evaluated on that scale. The red color itself could even be considered as a supersaturated level of the pink diamond spectrum.

Different modifiers, or overtones, may be present along with the red color. The most common, and probably the most aesthetically pleasing, is Purplish Red. Other common modifiers are Brownish and Orangey. Stones with Orangey and Brownish overtones are worth significantly less than pure Red or Purplish Red diamonds.


Red Diamond Prices

Pure red diamonds often cost in excess of $1 million per carat. This makes red diamonds the most expensive type of colored diamond.

As an example, this 0.71 Carat Fancy Red Diamond Radiant shape from Leibish & Co. with a clarity grade of SI2 is priced at $603,600! This stone is GIA certified Fancy Red without any modifiers. This stone is priced at over $850,000 per carat!

An even more extreme example, this 0.90 Carat Fancy Red Princess shape from Leibish & Co. is priced at over $1.5 million, for a diamond below 1 carat. Again, this diamond carries an enourmous price tag despite small yet noticeable imperfections in the diamond’s clarity.

Extreme rarity is what makes “pure” red diamonds so valuable and very pricy. Of all the Fancy Color Diamonds, red is the rarest of them all. They’re generally beyond the purview of celebrity life and are seldom found above 1 carat.

Not all red diamonds are exceptionally rare, though. The most sought-after stones are the ones that are primarily red with the absence of secondary tones like orange or purple. Predominantly red diamonds are so rare that at any given moment, probably less than a handful are available for sale in the market—ones that have a certified unmodified red color and are above 0.20 carat, that is.

For those wishing for a red diamond, but not looking to pay for a predominantly red stone should consider a red diamond with a modifier. Purplish red diamonds tend to offer the most beautiful selection.

Red Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a red diamond, the stone should be set in an equally stunning ring. Here’s some inspiration for red diamond engagement rings.

Style 1: Ornate halo setting

To maximize on stone size and beauty, choose an ornate halo setting to accompany a rare red diamond.

Ornate halo setting example: Argyle Fancy Red Princess Diamond Ring from Leibish & Co.

Style 2: Three-stone setting

Complement a rich red diamond with vibrant side stones—either with white or colored diamonds.

Three-stone setting example: Radiant Cut Fancy Red with two Fancy Deep Blue-Green diamonds from Leibish & Co.

Style 3: Prong setting

A prong setting elevates a red diamond to stand out even more.

Prong setting example: Fancy Red and Diamond Couture Ring in a Prong Setting from Leibish & Co.

Design a piece of jewelry that will be cherished and passed down for generations. No matter what you choose, your red diamond will make the jewelry a head-turner.

Red Diamond bracelet inspiration: Multicolored and Mixed Shape Couture Halo Diamond Bracelet from Leibish & Co.

Red Diamond ring inspiration: Radiant cut Fancy Purplish Red Diamond ring from Leibish & Co.

Because red diamonds are extremely rare, we highly recommend talking with an expert before moving ahead in your search.

Leibish & Co Leibish & Co is the industry leader in the world of Fancy Color Diamonds. Their inventory size and prices are the best in the business, and their expertise in this highly specialized field will ensure that your diamond is set in a way to maximize its color.
What we love about them:
  • Largest and best inventory of fancy color diamonds
  • Best prices for fancy color diamonds
  • Industry leading expertise will ensure the color of your diamond is maximized in its setting
  • Leading bidders in the annual Argyle auction
  • Highest quality jewelry available online
  • Free shipping
  • Free resizing within first 2 years of purchase
  • Items comes with professional appraisal for insurance
  • 30 day no questions asked free return policy
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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