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  • Writer's pictureRayah Levy, FCD Invest President

The World’s Most Famous Red Diamonds

Red has a range of symbolic meanings, including life, health, vigor, war, courage, anger, and love. Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting, and aggressive. Red represents physical energy, passion, and desire. It symbolizes action, confidence, and courage. Red diamonds are the absolute rarest variety of colored diamonds. In the entire world, only a few diamonds with a pure red hue were found in an entire year. The primary source of those red diamonds has been the Argyle Mine in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, which closed in November of 2020. Presently, no new sources of red diamonds are known. Many people do not realize that pink diamonds and red diamonds both have a red color. The difference between "red diamonds" and "pink diamonds" is one of color intensity. During the color grading process, a diamond with a weak to moderate saturation, accompanied by a light to medium tone, will be called a "pink" diamond. The name "red" is reserved for diamonds with a strong color saturation and a medium to dark tone. The name "Fancy Red" is given only to those diamonds that exceed the saturation levels of Fancy Vivid Pink and Fancy Deep Pink. Only one in 100,000 diamonds qualifies as a ‘Fancy’ color. These odds lengthen exponentially for red diamonds, which are so rare that no red diamond has ever been discovered larger than 5.11 carats, which is the Moussaieff Red, and only 3 red diamonds in existence weigh over 3 carats.

Famous Reds

The Moussaieff Red

The Moussaieff Red’s vivid red color is astounding. Cut and polished from a 13.9-carat crystal discovered in the 1990s by a Brazilian farmer, this is the largest red diamond known. The rough was acquired by the William Goldberg Diamond Company in the mid-1990’s. They cut the rough into a 5.11 carat triangular brilliant, then known as The Red Shield. The diamond was purchased by Shlomo Moussaieff in the early 2000s and is now owned by Moussaieff Jewellers Ltd. The diamond’s estimated value is $20 million.

The Kazanjian Red Diamond The Kazanjian Red Diamond, previously known as the Red Diamond, was found in Lichtenberg, South Africa in the 1927, and was cut in Amsterdam. The Nazis seized the diamond from a home in the Netherlands during World War II. United States General Joseph McNarney, who believed the diamond to be some sort of ruby, later discovered the stone in a salt mine after the war. After remaining in a private collection of an anonymous jeweler, the Kazanjian Bros. Inc. purchased the stone in 2007. Today, Michael Kazanjian believes the stone to be worth in excess of $50 million. The diamond weighed 35 carats in its rough shape. After the diamond cutter’s preparation decreased its size by 85%, the jewelers turned the stone into a beautiful 5.05-carat emerald-cut diamond. The diamond measures 0.39 inches (9.9 mm) on the sides, and 0.23 inches (5.8 mm) in depth. It is the second-largest red diamond ever found.

The DeYoung Red

Boston jeweler, Sydney DeYoung, purchased an estate jewelry collection at a flea market. Included in the collection was a pin with a large brownish red stone that was thought to be a garnet. The stone was almost inclusion free, it had no signs of wear, and it had a complex cut. All of these suggested that the stone was not a garnet - so DeYoung took the stone for gemological testing, and the results were astounding. The stone turned out to be a 5.03-carat VS2 Fancy deep red color, with a slight tint of brown. The diamond is a modified round brilliant cut. The facets on the diamond's crown, which resemble kites, are split in two horizontally. This feature makes the DeYoung diamond more brilliant than other diamonds with an ordinary round brilliant cut. DeYoung removed the stone from its setting, kept it in a vault, and never offered it for sale. He decided to bequeath the diamond to the Smithsonian, and it was officially accessioned into the National Gem Collection in December 1987. It is the third-largest red diamond known to exist and the only red diamond on public display anywhere in the world. The country of origin of the diamond is unknown.

The Hancock Red

The Hancock Red is one of the most famous red diamonds. At the time of its sale in 1987 it was the highest price per carat ever paid for a gemstone of any kind sold at auction, producing a 6500% profit per-carat. The hammer came down at $880,000—a remarkable $926,315 per carat, eight times its pre-sale estimate. The spectacular price brought enormous media and celebrity attention to colored diamonds. The Fancy Purple-Red 0.95-carat Hancock Red was cut from rough diamond mined in Brazil, and one of its first owners was Warren Hancock, a Montana rancher who was also a collector of colored diamonds. Mr. Hancock was rumored to have paid $13,500 for the gem in 1956. At that time very few people were interested in colored diamonds, and most people had never thought about them.

The Graff Purplish-Red Diamond

Little is known about The Graff Purplish-Red Diamond’s early history. Through certain characteristics such as its 2.26-carat modified octagonal-cut, scientists predict the diamond’s origin is either South Africa or Brazil. Today, the stone sits in an 18k pink gold ring that is surrounded by four heart shaped diamond petals and features the 2.26-carat red diamond as the centerpiece. On November 15, 2007, the Graff Purplish-Red was sold for $2.65 million at auction, making the price per carat $1.17 million.

The Rob Red

The Rob Red is a pear shaped, 0.59ct VS1 clarity diamond. It has been described as the most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world. The Rob Red is the only red diamond in the world with the highest color grading of Fancy Intense Red, making it unique among all red diamonds regarding color saturation and clarity.

Please email FCD Invest at to discuss your personalized long-term investment strategy. For more information on Fancy Colored Diamonds as an investment, please visit our Fancy Colored Diamond informational page linked here.

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