What is a Red Diamond? Your Burning Questions Answered

Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Interested in learning about red diamonds? You're in the right place! 

In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the top questions asked about fancy red diamonds. 

what is a red diamond?
  • What is a red diamond?
  • Are there lab grown red diamonds?
  • Are red diamonds expensive?

How Are Red Diamonds Formed?

The majority of fancy colored diamonds get their colors from impurities entering during the diamond's formation. There are few fancy colored diamonds that get their colorful hues from a defect in the crystal lattice. The same is true for natural fancy pink diamonds.

leibish and co red diamond

Natural Fancy Red Diamonds from Leibish and Co.

The atomic structure of the diamond is changed so much, the way the light passes through the crystal shows us a red-colored diamond. Pure red diamonds are so rare. Red diamonds are most often found with secondary hues of purplish red, orangey red, and brownish red.

The bigger the deformity in the atomic structure, the higher the red color intensity. There isn't too much known about these rare diamonds, and they are being studied every day.

Stress on the diamond crystal lattice causes the red color, but the red hue is different from other red gemstones. Red diamonds have a softer hue, not like garnets or rubies. It's still a natural diamond, so it will reflect some white light too.

Where Are Red Diamonds Found?

The most notable red diamonds come from Western Australia. More specifically, the Argyle Mine. This particular mine is the hub for the world famous Argyle pink diamonds. Red diamonds and pink diamonds from the Argyle mine are no longer obtainable. The mine closed production in 2020.

Argyle Mine Aerial View

Other notable places where red colored diamonds are found are Brazil, Russia, India, and Africa.

Are Red Diamonds Rare?

Red diamonds are so rare, they don't have the same intensity levels as other fancy colored diamonds. Instead of having a Fancy Deep, Fancy Intense, or any Fancy Light intensities, the rare red diamond only comes in Fancy Red.

It makes sense when you think about it. Fancy red diamonds can't have any light shades, or they become fancy pink diamonds. Because red diamonds are the rarest of colored diamonds, there's not enough of them to categorize them the same. They come in dark red shades too, but are all labeled Fancy red.

Do Lab Created Red Diamonds Exist?

It might surprise you to know it's possible to obtain a lab-grown fancy red diamond. Lab-created red diamonds have all the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural fancy red diamonds. The origin is what's different. Lab-grown red diamonds are real diamonds at a less expensive price.

Lab-grown red diamonds start as colorless diamonds. They are subjected to the high-pressure high temperature process until red diamonds are formed. A similar process is done to natural fancy red diamonds to enhance their color. Red lab colored diamonds are still rare like natural ones, but they are around 30% less expensive.

How Much Does A Red Diamond Cost?

Colorless diamonds are graded using a system created by the Gemological Institute of America called "The 4Cs of Diamond Quality." The price and value of colorless diamonds has a lot to do with its cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. In the same respect, the cut quality of a colorless diamond is the most important factor.

It's not quite the same thing when it comes to colored diamonds. Clarity isn't often a huge factor, unless there are large dark inclusions that detract from the red color. With red diamonds being smaller than the other fancy color diamonds, clarity become even less of a factor.

0.46 carat SI1 Radiant Natural Fancy Red Diamond $391,000

For red diamonds and other diamond colors, the importance of the 4cs is modified a bit. Each one is still important, but it's the color and carat weight that contributes to the diamond cost. The origin is also very important, whether it's a natural fancy red diamond or a synthetic red diamond.

There are also different elements of the color analysis of a gemstone, the prices can be confusing and varied. Red diamonds don't have the exact same complexity as some other colors, but they still have hues with secondary colors too.

brilliant earth fancy red diamond

0.95-carat VS1 Lab-Created Fancy Red Diamond $2580

For example, if a red diamond has a fancy purplish red hue, it'll command a much higher price than a red color diamond with a secondary brownish red hue. And even the smallest red diamonds can go for over $40,000.

The price of this 0.54-carat natural fancy brownish red diamond isn't even listed, meant for serious inquiries only. 

fancy brownish red diamond

This 0.10-carat fancy purplish red diamond costs over $40,000!

As you can imagine, prices for red diamonds get exponentially high for a 0.75- or 1-carat fancy red diamond. Very few people in the world can afford them.

That's for natural fancy red diamonds. The price of a lab created fancy red diamond is still high, but not as high. Check out the prices of these lab grown red diamonds.

Where to Buy Red Diamonds

Finding a legitimate red diamond can be hard to do if you don't know where to look. Don't count on them being in-stores at any of your favorite chain jewelry stores. But if you want to browse red diamonds and see what they're all about, you've got some great options online.

If you're lucky enough to be in the market for a natural fancy red diamond, Leibish & Co will be your best option. Leibish is one of the best retailers specializing in fancy color diamonds, including the rare natural fancy red diamond and even fancy white diamonds.

All of their fancy color diamonds may have received treatment unless stated otherwise. Treatments to turn a fancy red diamond into a darker hue are less expensive and less valuable, but still very expensive.

Some of their red diamonds and pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine and are labeled as such. They also come with GIA grading reports.

leibish and co red diamonds

Now, if you're in the market for a lab created red diamond, Brilliant Earth is your go to. They have a modest selection of red diamonds to choose from and view with their 360˚ viewer. They even allow you to see what the loose stone would look like in any of their settings.

Remember, lab created red diamonds can't replicate the exact shade of red color found in natural ones. You may find more lab red diamonds with a pinkish secondary hue rather than a deep red color.

Brilliant Earth also has my favorite selection of engagement ring settings. You could literally spend hours making beautiful rings.

FAQs About Red Diamonds

What’s the difference between red diamonds and pink diamonds?

The main reason why red diamonds don't have tone levels like other color diamonds is because we also have pink diamonds. A fancy light red diamond would essentially be a pink diamond. In the same manner, a black diamond doesn't have tone levels either. A fancy light black diamond would be a grey diamond.

So, what exactly differentiates a pink diamond from a red diamond?

Analyzing color is not an exact science in the world of gemology. There are certain shades and hues of colored diamonds that command higher prices and values, but there's not a definitive way pin down the exact shade. Instead, it's based on a general agreement between jewelers, gemologists, and jewelry professionals.

fancy pink diamond

Fancy Pink Diamond

If pink and red diamonds had tone levels like blue diamonds, yellow diamonds, and other colors, this is what gemologists agree would say. A diamond with a light saturation and light to medium tone levels is a pink diamond. A diamond with medium to dark tone that exceeds the saturation it takes to be called a Fancy deep pink diamond is agreed upon as a red diamond.

fancy red diamond

Fancy Red Diamond

Are There Any Famous Red Diamonds?

Just as there are famous pink diamonds and blue diamonds in the world, there are famous red diamonds too. The Golden Jubilee is the world's largest diamond and it's a fancy brown colored diamond. However, the most famous fancy red diamonds are much smaller than other famous color diamonds.

The Red Shield diamond is a 5.11-carat fancy red diamond. It is an internally flawless red diamond in the triangular brilliant cut diamond shape, also known as the trilliant or trillion. This famous red diamond was discovered in Brazil in the 1990s. When a jewelry company named Moussaieff acquired the stone, they renamed it after themselves as the "Moussaieff Red Diamond".

The Hancock Red diamond is another one of the most famous red diamonds. It is a 0.95-carat fancy red round brilliant cut diamond. However, it's carat weight isn't what makes the Hancock red diamond a special one. This red diamond has a rare purplish red hue. Typically, round brilliant cut diamonds aren't the best diamond shape for colored diamonds, but the Hancock Red is an exception. 

The Rob Red diamond is a 0.59-carat fancy red pear shaped diamond. It is an eye-clean fancy red diamond with a VS1 clarity grade. Gemologists and experts agree the Rob Red is a rich red diamond, with the best saturation and intensity.

How can you tell if a red diamond is real?

Since only a handful of pure red diamonds exist in the world, you can probably guess how many fakes there are on the market. With natural diamonds, there are no super deals.

Whether you're choosing colorless white or colored diamonds, there are fakes everywhere, especially online. If you're not buying red diamond without a diamond certificate from a trusted authority (like GIA certified), I'd advise you to stop in your tracks.

Colored diamonds are rare and expensive, whether they are pink, orange, green, blue, or purple diamonds. Others aren't as expensive depending on intensities, like brown diamonds, black diamonds, and yellow diamonds. Never buy a loose fancy colored diamond without a diamond certificate.

lab created red diamond

Lab-Created Purplish Red Diamond

Unheated Natural Rhodolite Garnet

There are many different tests to tell if a red diamond (or any diamond in the world) is real. Some may require tools and others household items. However, due to their rarity, it's pretty easy to know who's selling real ones and who's faking them.

natural red ruby

Natural Red Ruby

red diamond

Natural Fancy Red Diamond

Another reason your red diamond will need a certificate is to tell you if its color is natural or enhanced by irradiation treatment. It can also tell you if it is a mined red diamond, or a lab-created red diamond.

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