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Exclusivity of the Fancy Color Market
The fancy color diamond market has always been something of an enigma to the average diamond consumer. The closest the average person gets to this insular world is perhaps canary yellow diamonds which are, by far, the least rare and exclusive in this market.
The closest most of us come to the rarest elements of the fancy color diamond trade is probably the celebrity section of their favorite periodical. Pink diamonds, for example, became a part of popular discussion when Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez back in 2002 with a 6 carat vivid pink diamond.
Rarest of the Rare
But Red Diamonds, the subject of this article, are in a completely different league. These diamonds are so rare that at any given moment, there probably aren’t more than a handful available in the market for sale that have a certified unmodified red color and are above 0.20ct.
Red Diamonds are so rare and expensive, they’re generally beyond the purview of celebrity life. Plus, since they’re so rare, it is nearly impossible to find a true red diamond over 1 carat – hardly enough bling to catch the paparazzi eye.
In fact, the largest known Red Diamond in the world, the Moussaieff Red, is only 5.11 carats. Compare that to colorless diamonds, where on any given day you could find hundreds, if not thousands, of high quality diamonds over 5 carats in the market.
Different Shades of Red
Unlike the other colors in the Fancy Color world, there are no varying levels of intensity of Red (such as Fancy, Intense, and Vivid). In fact one could consider the red color itself to just be a super-saturated level of the pink spectrum.
There are, however, different modifiers that can be attached to the red color. The most common, and probably the most aesthetically pleasing, is Purplish Red.
The other common modifiers to the Red color are Brownish and Orangey. Both of these are worth significantly less than straight Red or Purplish Red.
Primary vs. Secondary Grades
Also, it’s worth noting here the general principle of how fancy color grades are noted. The 2nd color is always considered the “primary” color and the first color is the “modifying” color.
So, in the Heart Shape example above, the diamond is Red with a Purplish modifier. The lone exception to this rule is when the first color is not listed with the “ish” suffix.
If, for example, the color would be noted “Purple Red” instead of “Purplish Red” that would mean that both colors carry equal weight.
Crazy Rare, Crazy Prices
As you might imagine, with such outrageous rarity comes outrageously high prices. Here are two great examples.
1) 0.32ct Fancy Red Radiant Cut Argyle Diamond. Clarity is ungraded (common for Fancy Colors) but clearly appears to be I1 – $195,380
2) 0.38ct Fancy Red Radiant Cut Argyle Diamond. GIA graded SI2 Clarity. – $153,990
Of the two, the stone from Leibish & Co is clearly the better value. But even that stone has an astonishing price of over $400,000 per carat!
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