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The question is very often asked "are diamonds really rare?" and like all good questions the answer is involved and multifaceted, rather like a diamond itself. Fancy colored diamonds is a subject on its own and a rare black diamond is not the same as a rare red diamond, so much depends on the definition of the word "rare".
Diamonds are indeed abundant and found in many places of the world but only between a fifth and a third of all produced diamonds are of gem quality that are suitable for setting in jewelry whilst the remaining majority are used in industrial uses such as cutting and drilling. From these gemstone quality stones approximately 1 in 10,000 are fancy colored diamonds, so it depends on what type of diamonds we are discussing whether diamonds are rare or common.
Within the world of colored diamonds which include red, green, blue, pink, purple, orange and yellow, the most rare diamond color are the red diamonds. How rare are red diamonds? As it is extremely rare to find a red diamond, to date, less than 30 diamonds in the world have ever been certified by the Gemological Institute of America as being fancy red and as the reason for the color red is not entirely known, it is thought to be due to a fault in the crystal lattice and as it is also unknown as to how many remain at all, this color has become the collector's dream. Perhaps the most famous red diamond is The Mousaieff Red, once called The Red Shield, it weighs just over five carats and is the largest known natural fancy red diamond in the world.
The second rarest colored diamonds are green diamonds. There is only one really famous green diamond, the majestic Dresden Green Diamond that weighs just over 41 carats and is amongst the rarest diamonds in the world. This hue of green comes from a natural exposure to radiation which makes it so rare but easily available as an artificial colored stone.
Purple, pink and orange diamonds are also among the rare diamonds of the world.
Like red diamonds the color of the pink stones is because of a change in the structure of the crystal resulting in the way the light entering the stone is reflected and so gives a red or pink shade.
Most pink diamonds come from the Argyle diamond mine in Australia that is the source for approximately 90% of red and pink diamonds but the average weight of them is around 1 carat. The large and famous rare pink diamonds have their origins in other locations in the world.
The largest pink diamond of all time is Darya-I-Nur (meaning "Sea of Light") weighing 182 carats was discovered in southern India. Recently a flawless oval 59.60 carat fancy vivid pink diamond, mined in South Africa, was sold at the end of last year for the equivalent of 83 million US$, it has been named as the Pink Star. This beat the previous auction record of 46.2 million US$ for the fancy intense pink diamond called the Graff Pink.
Most orange diamonds also come from South Africa and on the same day that the world record was set for the pink an orange diamond called appropriately "The Orange" fetched 31 million US$.
Orange diamonds are caused by nitrogen and as these diamonds are rare among cut diamonds, they are more commonly found with yellow or brown shades.
One of the most famous pure orange diamonds is the breath-taking Pumpkin Diamond the intense color of which makes it stand out from all the other orange diamonds that ever existed. It is certified by the “Gemological Institute of America” as the world’s largest “Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond” and was found in South Africa in 1997. The cutting and polishing was done by William Goldberg who set the diamond for auction at Sotheby’s. The “House of Harry Winston” bought the still unnamed diamond for $1.3 million and it was named “Pumpkin Diamond” because Winston had bought the orange colored diamond on the day before Halloween.
The cushion cut Pumpkin Diamond weighs 5.54 carats and is set in a ring with two white smaller diamonds on each side. This fascinating ring was worn by the “Best Actress” Academy Award winner Halle Berry on the night of the ceremony in 2003. It was exhibited at the Smithsonian’s “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibition and the current value of the diamond is $3 million.
Blue diamonds are also very rare and perhaps the most famous blue diamond in the world is the legendary "Blue Hope", which finally came to rest after surviving intrigue, wars and romances at the Smithsonian Institute. It was later polished to a 45.52-carat Fancy Deep Grayish-Blue VS1 diamond. The Hope Diamond sold for a record breaking $1,321,590 and is estimated today to be worth $200 - $250 million US$.
A blue diamond in a pure hue is one of the rarest natural colored diamonds and is often found with other hues such as green or grey; all are available in various tones and saturations, some examples being Fancy Light Blue, Fancy Deep Blue, Fancy Dark Blue, Fancy Greenish Blue, Fancy Intense Blue, Fancy Grayish Blue, Fancy Vivid Blue. Most of the blue diamonds, whose color is due to the presence of boron are mined near Pretoria in South Africa.
The Hope Diamonds and The Wittelsbacb-Graff Diamond. Photo credits: The Smithsonian Museum
Equally known and shrouded in mystery and intrigue bearing historical evidence is the Wittelsbach-Graff. It was always an exquisite diamond with an unusual number of 82 facets with a Fancy Deep Grayish Blue color and a VS2 clarity grade weighing 35.56 carats. In 2008, Laurence Graff, a jeweler of international repute, purchased the Wittelsbach Diamond at a Christie’s auction
for $24.3 million. Graff re-cut the diamond, losing 4.45 carats, to a 31.06 carats. He improved the stone, renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff and is now a Fancy Deep Blue, Internally Flawless diamond.
Deep blue, symbolizes a mystical world of wisdom, self-mastery, and spiritual realization, a sound investment, a beauty to behold, and a feeling to be treasured, view our collection here.
The least rare among natural colored diamonds are yellow diamonds. Since they are the least rare they are usually the least expensive among colored diamonds though certain examples with very vivid hues can also achieve astronomical prices.
The mysterious that always finds its way into the story of diamonds did not overlook the yellow shades of the family.
One of the most important of all stones is a yellow diamond nearly 140 carats in weight called the ‘Florentine’ which belonged the famous Medici family in Europe then changed hands into the Emperor of the Habsburgs and after nearly two hundred years when the family moved into exile into Switzerland, the stone just vanished. Perhaps the most famous is the Tiffany Yellow Diamond it weighed 287.42 carats in the rough when discovered in 1878 in the Kimberley mine in South Africa, and was cut into a cushion shape of 128.54 carats with 90 facets to maximize its brilliance. The gem was on loan from Tiffany & Co. to the Smithsonian Museumin Washington D.C. and whilst on display there, the museum’s gem curator, said that this is the largest diamond on display in the U.S. The diamond was worn by Audrey Hepburn
in 1961 in publicity photographs for the legendary film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
We have seen the celebrity world associated with aristocracy, adventure and heroism being inspired to purchase yellow diamonds; from politicians like Hilary Clinton to supermodels like Heidi Klum and actresses like Whoopi Goldberg all joining the yellow bandwagon.
All Fancy Colored Diamonds are unique and rare.
"The splendour of diamonds", credit The Smithsonian Museum