Vickie Sek, Head of the Jewellery Department, Asia In 1987, Christie's sold in their April 28th New York auction a circular-cut purplish red diamond of 0.95 carats for a world record price of $1m per carat. At that time, I had yet to join Christie's and was working with an entirely different market in the jewelry world. I remember being in awe of this record and could not imagine how any diamond, especially one that was not even a carat, could make such a great price. I then joined Christie's Hong Kong in 1994 and since then have come to then joined Christie's Hong Kong in 1994 and since then have come to appreciate and understand the rarity of all great gems but, the red diamond has always been special to me. In May 2000, we offered at Christie's Hong Kong a beautiful oval-cut purplish red diamond of just 0.59 carats which realized $445,000 per carat and then again in May 2001, a rectangular-cut fancy red gem of 0.73 carats which achieved $536,000 per carat. Both times, I was immensely proud to have handled my very own red diamonds. The sale of the octagonal-shaped fancy purplish-red diamond, weighing 2.26 carats marks yet another high point with my association with red diamonds during my career at Christie's. Not only is it the largest red diamonds to appear for sale at auction but its special cut and richly saturated colour make it the ideal gem for the ultimate gem connoisseur.

Set with a modified octagonal-shaped fancy purplish red diamond, weighing 2.26 carats, within a heart-shaped diamond petal surround to the micro-pavé pink diamond border and bifurcated shoulders, mounted in 18k pink gold
Accompanied by report no. 14164116 dated 22 February 2005 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the diamond is Fancy Purplish Red colour, SI2 clarity

Lot Essay

Nature's hidden treasure: The Red Diamond

'I think it is of the rarest object on earth. My father (Harry Winston) never saw a red diamond and he had seen everything' Ronald Winston, on acquiring the Raj Red diamond of 2.23cts in 1988

Highly saturated diamonds, ranging in the red to purple hues are considered to be the rarest of all fancy colored diamonds.
Even with the notable discovery of the Argyle deposits in Australia only a number of pure red diamonds have been documented, examined or even discovered. There are only a few specimens of it in existence and only very few people have ever had the chance to see one up close.
The largest red diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Lab is a 5.11 carat trillion-cut stone named the Moussaeiff Red, after the jeweler who purchased it.
The second largest known example is a rectangular-cut red diamond weighing 5.05 carat which was found in South Africa in 1927 and whose whereabouts are presently unknown.
The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C has in their collections a 5.03 carat red brown circular-cut diamond believed to be from India, which was given in 1987 as a bequest from the estate of the late S. Sydney De Young, a prominent Boston gem dealer.

Adding to its myth, while the cause of its color is not yet thoroughly understood, it is generally concluded that the red color results from structural features in the diamond's crystal lattice combined possibly with minute quantities of nitrogen.

The source of this stone is unknown though diamonds in the purplish red hues have been reported from Brazil, Borneo, India, South Africa and Venezuela.

The highest price per carat for a red diamond sold at auction was achieved at Christie's New York on April 28th 1987, when a circular-cut fancy purplish red diamond of 0.95 carats sold for an outstanding $880,000 or $926,315 per carat. Found in Brazil, it is known as the Hancock Red after its owner Warren Hancock.

In terms of rarity, it was one of the greatest red stones seen on the market. The stone was a perfect circular-brilliant cut gem, with an even 'ruby red' distribution of color and tremendous fire.

Christie's New York most recently offered an important rectangular-cut fancy purplish-red diamond of 1.59 carats that sold for an outstanding $958,400 in New York in April 25th 2007.

Christie's Geneva is pleased to present an exceptional octagonal-shaped fancy purplish-red diamond weighing 2.26 carats. No other red diamond over 2 carats has ever been sold at an auction. It ranks as the largest polished red diamond ever to appear on the auction market and marks a rare auction event.


Location and Date Price Price per carat

Octagonal-shaped Fancy purplish-red diamond 2.26ct THE PRESENT STONE Christie's Geneva November 15, 2007

Radiant fancy red diamond 1.92 carats Phillip's de Pury New York October 24, 2001 $ 1,652,500 $ 860,677

Modified rectangular-cut fancy purplish red diamond 1.59 carats Christie's New York April 25, 2007 $ 958,400 $ 602,767

Circular-cut fancy purplish-red diamond 0.95 carats Christie's New York April 28, 1987 $ 880,000 $926,316

Modified square-cut fancy purplish red diamond 0.91 carats Sotheby's Hong Kong November 1, 2004 $ 561,392 $ 616,914

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