Red diamonds are among the most sought-after colored stones, and they are not cheap, too. Let’s learn how the quality of these diamonds is determined and what you should pay attention to when buying such stones.
What Are Red Diamonds?
Red diamonds are the rarest and most expensive fancy-color diamonds.
The red color in these stones is a result of structural abnormalities and chemical impurities present within the diamond.
Most natural red diamonds are mined in Australia and Brazil.
Evaluating the Quality of Red Diamonds
Red diamonds are graded similarly to colorless diamonds: by looking at the color, clarity, carat, and cut of the stone.
Unlike colorless diamonds, however, red diamonds are evaluated mostly based on their color.
The color of red diamonds is assessed on the purity of its hue, its intensity and tone, and its evenness.
The grades most commonly used to describe the color of these stones are as follows (from low to high intensity of color): Faint Red, Very Light Red, Light Red, Fancy Light Red, Fancy Red, Fancy Intense Red, Fancy Vivid Red, Fancy Dark Red, and Fancy Deep Red.
The hue of a red diamond is primarily red. It can have secondary hues, and the most common such undertones are purple, orange, and brown.
Red diamonds with a pure hue, i.e., without secondary colors, are the most valuable.
Intensity of color is perhaps the most important characteristic of a red diamond. In general, the more saturated the red hue of such a stone, the more valuable it is.
The tone of a red diamond’s color refers to how dark it is, and this characteristic is of secondary importance as it often comes down to personal preferences.
Color distribution is a characteristic that refers to how even the hue of a diamond is.
Stones with even coloring, i.e., without noticeable darker and brighter spots of red, are valued more highly than diamonds with an uneven distribution of color.
The clarity of red diamonds is judged in the same way as that of colorless diamonds: The fewer big and visible flaws there are in the stone, the higher its clarity grade. In red diamonds, however, imperfections can be less visible because of the intensity of the color. This is why it is possible to find a low-clarity red stone whose inclusions are somewhat masked by its color.
In general, bigger diamonds are rarer and more expensive than smaller ones, and red diamonds are no exception in this regard.
Because of rarity, the higher the carat weight of a red diamond, the more expensive it gets per carat.
For example, the price of a 1-carat stone is not two times as high as that of a 0.5-carat diamond but can actually be four or five times its price (or even more).
Unlike their colorless counterparts, red diamonds are cut to maximize color, not brilliance.
This is why the conventional standards for cut proportions applied to white diamonds are not as important for red ones.
For that reason, it is recommended that you first focus on color quality when choosing a red diamond. Pick the cut you like after you’ve already decided on color.
Synthetic and Artificially Colored Red Diamonds: A Cheaper Alternative
Since natural red diamonds are so rare and expensive, the jewelry industry has come up with more affordable options: artificially created red diamonds, which can be synthetic stones or natural diamonds that have been treated to alter their color.
Synthetic red diamonds are created in a lab, and they have the same chemical composition as natural diamonds, so synthetics are not considered fake.
Lab-created red diamonds are cheaper than natural ones and are a good, affordable alternative.
Treated red diamonds are created when natural diamonds of another color are subjected to heat, irradiation, or high pressure to change their hue.
When choosing a red diamond, make sure to ask for a certificate describing what treatments the stone has gone through and whether it is of synthetic or natural origin.
Stones that owe their color to some sort of treatment may sometimes require special care (for example, you might need to avoid exposing them to high heat).