Nature's Marvel: The Red Diamond
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 small number of pure red diamonds have been documented, examined or found. Ronald Winston commented when he acquired the Raj Red diamond of 2.23 carats in 1988, "I think it is one of the rarest objects on earth. My father never saw a red diamond and he'd seen everything."
The Smithsonian Institute has in their collections, a 5.03 carat red brown 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. The source of this stone is unknown though diamonds in the purplish red hue have been reported from Brazil, Borneo, India, South Africa, and Venezuela. While the cause of 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 with minute quantities of nitrogen.
The highest price paid per carat for a red diamond- as well as for any diamond sold at auction- was achieved at Christie's New York on April 28, 1987, when a circular-cut fancy purplish red diamond of 0.95 carats sold for an astounding $880,000 or $926,315 per carat. The present lot, an exceptional rectangular-cut fancy purplish red diamond of 1.59 carats, ranks as the second largest polished red diamond ever to appear on the auction market and marks a rare auction event.
Top Five Largest Polished Red Diamonds Offered at Auction
Radiant fancy red diamond ring
Weighing approximately 1.92 carats October 24, 2001 $1,652,500
Modified rectangular-cut fancy purplish red diamond
Weighing approximately 1.59 carats April 25, 2007
Circular-cut fancy purplish-red diamond
Weighing approximately 0.95 carat April 28, 1987 $880,000
Modified square-cut fancy purplish red ring
Weighing approximately 0.91 carat November 1, 2004 $561,392
Oval-cut fancy red diamond of 1.05 cts (SI2)
Weighing approximately 1.05 carats April 15, 2002 $442,500