Red Diamond Guide – Your Complete Guide

Heart shape red diamond for engagement ring

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Red is the rarest and most expensive diamond color out there to such an extreme degree that it’s virtually impractical to even consider natural fancy color red diamond jewelry.

And we don’t say that just to put you off either – that’s just how impossibly rare these stones are. As an example, these stones are so rare that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) hasn’t issued a report for a natural red diamond in 30 years!

In short – red diamonds are at the top of the pyramid in the diamond world and most of us will never see such a diamond in person. Fortunately, lab-grown diamonds can come in red as well and at a fraction of the price of natural fancy red diamonds.

Here’s what you need to know about these exclusive stones.  

What Are Red Diamonds and How Do They Get Their Color?

In case you need even more proof for red diamonds’ uniqueness, here’s a curious tidbit about how they are formed – natural fancy red diamonds don’t owe their color to any particular chemical inclusion like other colored gemstones. Instead, they are pure and clear just as colorless diamonds.

However, what gives them their rare ruby-like look is a slight deformity in the crystal lattice of the carbon atoms which causes the light to bend when it passes through the stone and gives it an intense red hue. This deformity is so obscure and rare that natural red diamonds are ridiculously hard to find.

Red Diamond Color Intensity

The main grading method for colored diamonds is by their color intensity. That’s because the color of colored diamonds is its most important characteristic, surpassing the cut and the carat weight in its impact on the overall price of the stone.

The way colored diamonds are rated is on a scale of nine different intensity levels:

Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep

The thing about red diamonds, however, is that they are technically a part of the pink diamonds color spectrum. Red diamonds are really at the highest end of the pink color intensity spectrum.

Red diamonds are so saturated in color, however, that they can’t really be categorized as pink but are simply categorized as their own color group with a single intensity level – Fancy Red. Anything lighter than that simply isn’t viewed as a red diamond at all but is instead categorized as one of the pink diamond color levels.

Putting aside this unique aspect of red diamonds, it should be mentioned that they can come with certain secondary color hues, namely brown, orange or purple ones. While all three of these variations can make for some pretty spectacular visual effects, especially the rare and valuable purple color, pure red diamonds remain the most rare and highly valued variations.

Evaluating a Red Diamond

Different red diamond cuts

Popular gemstone cuts for colored diamonds

As with other colored diamonds, red diamond cut and clarity take a backseat behind color. Because red diamonds are so exceedingly rare, simply finding one is cause for celebration that any inclusions would simply be overlooked.

As for the cut’s significance, it does have its role to play – the main goal of the red diamond’s cut is to accent the color as much as possible. As a result of that cuts like radiant, cushion, emerald, and marquise which tend to emphasize the stone’s color are often chosen for colored diamonds.

Best Red Diamond Alternatives

Given how absurdly rare and expensive natural fancy red diamonds are, going for a lab-grown synthetic red diamond or a color-enhanced red diamond is the most practical option to own one.

Synthetic Red Diamonds

Both synthetic and color-enhanced red diamonds can be as gorgeous as natural diamonds and although they’re still quite pricey, they’re much more affordable. A natural fancy red 0.5 carat diamond can cost north of $200,000 but a 0.75 carat synthetic or color-treated diamond that looks identical to it may cost around $4,000.

The difference between synthetic and color-treated red diamonds is that synthetic diamonds are lab-grown from scratch and are essentially “real” red diamonds that have just been grown faster and in a controlled environment.

Color-treated diamonds, on the other hand, are diamonds that weren’t initially red but have undergone post-growth treatments of neutron and electron bombardments that have changed the structure of their crystal lattice and turned them into red diamonds.

“Diamond purists” may not like lab-grown synthetic diamonds or color-treated ones because they don’t quite carry the prestige of a natural diamond. However, given that they look the same, we’d say that synthetic and color-treated diamonds are a perfectly viable alternative. Plus, their production is much more ethical, eco-friendly, and efficient which is always a plus.

Gemstone Alternatives

The best natural alternative to red diamonds are gemstones such as red garnet, the red andesine-labradorite, red apatite, red bixbite, fire opals, red topaz, red tourmaline and rubelite, red zircon, and of course – the ruby.

Red ruby engagement ring

Ruby ring set in rose gold. Check Price Here.

Loose red spinel

Red spinel is an inexpensive alternative to red diamonds. Check Price Here.

Rubies are the most expensive and most valuable out of those and they are closest to red diamonds in terms of both hardness, rarity, and value.

All of these red gemstones look gorgeous when they are of a high enough quality but if you do want a truly spectacular and highly valued red gemstone than rubies and synthetic red diamonds are your best bet. 

Red Diamonds Symbolism

The cynics among us might say that if you can afford a red diamond then you don’t really need anything else in life. That’d be wrong, of course, and red diamonds are said to bring a lot of different meanings and attributes to their wearer.

They are said to increase one’s willpower, to brighten the wearer’s feelings, to make the impossible possible and urge the wearer to try new and otherwise scary things, as well as to help you see the hidden truths in life.

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