Rarest diamond in the world

Written by: Hagai Bichman

|

|

Time to read 13 min

The rarest diamonds in the world have commanded staggering record prices at major auction houses like Sotheby's,

Christie's, and others - often smashing expectations and reflecting their exceptional scarcity. Here are some of the highest prices paid for rarest diamonds...

What record prices have been paid at auction for some of the rarest diamonds ?

The rarest diamonds in the world have commanded staggering record prices at major auction houses like Sotheby's, Christie's, and others - often smashing expectations and reflecting their exceptional scarcity. Here are some of the highest prices paid for rarest diamonds:

The Oppenheimer BlueSold for $57.6 million at Christie's Geneva in 2016, this 14.62 carat emerald cut fancy vivid blue diamond set a record $3.9 million per carat for any jewel at auction. Its incredible vivid blue color, immense size, and flawless clarity combined for the ultimate convergence of rarity in one stone.

The Pink StarThis 59.6 carat oval fancy vivid pink diamond broke the overall diamond auction record in 2022, fetching $71.2 million ($1.19m/carat) at Sotheby's Hong Kong. Easily the largest of its intense pink hue ever graded by the GIA, its massive size combined with perfect color saturation elevated it to "rarest of the rare" status.

Wittelsbach-Graff DiamondIn 2008, this historic 31.06 carat fancy deep grayish-blue diamond sold for $24.3 million ($782,197/carat) in a landmark sale. Not only was the Wittelsbach-Graff exceptionally rare for its color, it also traced back to Europe's diamond trading legacy starting in the 1600s - adding provenance value.

The Winston Legacy DiamondA flawless 101.73 carat D-color pear shaped specimen, sold by Christie's Geneva in 2013 for over $26.7 million ($263,000/carat). Though colorless, its rarity derived from being the largest perfect pear-shaped diamond in existence - dominating by over 25 carats versus others in its prestigious class.

The Zoe DiamondThis 9.75 carat fancy vivid blue pear shape stunned when it sold for $32.6 million in 2014, or an unprecedented $3.35 million per carat. Flawless clarity, intense color saturation, and the extreme rarity of its shape/size combination for a vivid blue elevated this diamond into record territory.

So whether judged by ideal color, massive size, perfect symmetry, historic provenance or a combination - when the preeminent rarest specimens combine their unique characteristics in a single diamond, collectors have proven willing to pay virtually any price to acquire the prize at auction. Rarity, at its most extreme, knows no price ceiling.

What is considered the rarest diamond in the world and why ?

While judging rarity is highly subjective, many experts consider red diamonds to be the rarest of all diamond colors and therefore among the rarest diamonds in the world. Intense pure reds are exponentially rarer than other fancy colored diamonds like pinks, blues or yellows.

Only around 20-30 true red diamonds of high enough color saturation and quality have been discovered and professionally graded throughout history. The vast majority are less than half a carat in size, with a handful weighing over 1 carat. Examples over 5 carats are almost non-existent, with one of the largest known red diamonds being the 5.11 carat Moussaieff Red.

The color results from a rare combination of structural defects and impurities like aluminum, nitrogen, or hydrogen trapped within the diamond's crystal lattice during formation under extreme heat and pressure. These infinitesimally precise conditions proved very difficult to replicate in nature on a scale to generate intense red coloration.

In general, most highly saturated reds have surfaced from the Argyle mine in Australia or Amerindian deposits in Brazil - though isolated finds have also come from other locations around the world. Their tremendous rarity, unique provenance stories, and unmatched red brilliance have cemented these diamonds' place among the rarest of all precious gemstones.

Beyond reds, some other diamonds stake claims as among the world's rarest finds. Examples include carbonado diamonds (opaque black porous diamonds of mysterious cosmic origin), green diamonds from radiation exposure, and large flawless white diamonds over 10 carats in weight. However, no rival matches the extreme rarity of pure, vivid rarest diamond in the world reds.

So while many gemological factors determine rarity, most experts agree that intense primary red color displayed in less than 30 stones throughout history merits red diamonds the overall title of rarest gemstone in the world - a true once-in-a-universe find for any lucky collector.

What are the unique characteristics that make certain diamonds so incredibly rare ?

For a diamond to be considered among the world's rarest, it typically exhibits one or more highly uncommon characteristics that result in extreme scarcity. These unique traits relate to factors like color, size, clarity, crystal form, origin, or a combination of elements so unusual that gem experts estimate only a tiny handful of such specimens exist globally.

When it comes to color, the most coveted and rarest diamond hues are considered to be intense reds, pinks, blues, greens, violets, and vivid oranges/purples. Flawless white diamonds over 10 carats are also exceedingly rare. With colored diamonds, the more saturated and evenly distributed the color, the greater the rarity. Secondary hues can boost or diminish desirability.

Immense size is another marker of supreme rarity. Only a couple dozen diamonds over 200 carats have ever been found and cut - their sheer magnitude making them one-in-a-billion discoveries. Extraordinary weights over 500-1000 carats are even more unprecedented globally.

Many diamonds considered among the rarest in the world also possess exceptional transparency and clarity, essentially being internally flawless with immaculate optical properties. This combination of massive size, intense color, and perfect clarity is nearly impossible to achieve in nature.

Unique morphologies or crystalline forms can also impart great rarity. Examples include spherical crystals, doubled crystals, trapiche crystals with geometric internal patterns, or remarkably elongated flats. Their oddities reflect exotic formation conditions.

Finally, a diamond's provenance and source sometimes alone qualifies it as among the rarest based on limited recovery from a specific mine throughout history. For instance, chameleon diamonds from the now depleted Letseng mine in Lesotho possess remarkable color changes with viewing angle shifts.

So in short, ideal color, immense size, pristine physical perfection, extraordinary forms, and extremely limited supply from a distinct origin are the traits that collectively delineate the rarest diamonds on Earth. Possessing one of these qualities makes a diamond rare, but combining them makes a rarest diamond in the world .

How do rarest diamonds get their distinctive colors and what causes their formation ?

The distinctive colors of the rarest diamonds result from highly uncommon defects, impurities or exposure events occurring in the harsh depths where diamonds crystallize from carbon materials under extreme heat and pressure over billions of years. However, the exact formation conditions required for each color differ significantly.

For rare red diamonds, their vivid crimson or purplish-red hues are caused by a complex defect in the diamond's atomic lattice structure called a "plastic deformation". This structural aberration combined with trace amounts of impurities like aluminum or hydrogen then selectively absorbs and refracts light wavelengths producing red coloration. Similar lattice deformities plus nitrogen impurities yield the prized pinks.

Blue diamonds represent another class of rarest gem colored by impurities - in this case, dispersed boron atoms within the carbon lattice. Higher boron concentrations intensify blue saturation from pale sky tones to vivid royal hues. Radiation exposure can further enhance blue hues of some diamonds containing boron.

Unusual yellow, orange, and green colorations occur in many rarest diamonds mainly due to defects, pressure shifts during formation, and exposure to subterranean particles accelerated towards them during growth phases. Anomalies like plastic deformation or the presence of hydrogen, nickel or nitrogen can manifest in varying shades across this color spectrum.

Meanwhile, rarest violet and purple hues result from intricate combinations of red plastic deformities plus certain concentrations of induced defects and trace impurities that alter light refraction properties versus isolated red or blue coloring.

Certain rarest diamonds also derive distinctive black, gray, pink, or chocolatey colorings from anomalies in the crystallization process itself rather than impurities or defects. These include mineral coatings and fibrous inclusions embedded during growth cycles.

So in summary, while pure crystallized carbon bonds ideally produce transparent diamonds, extraordinary conditions introducing lattice faults, embedded impurities, radiation flux, shockwaves, and disrupted growth environments spawn the vibrant, diverse, and rarest hued rarest diamond in the world specimens coveted by collectors worldwide.

What are some of the most famous examples of rarest diamonds throughout history ?

Some of the rarest and most celebrated diamonds throughout history epitomize the incredible scarcity and beauty that define the world's most exceptional gemstones. These famous diamonds span a wide range of sizes, colors, and ages - yet all achieved global renown due to their singularly rare qualities.

The Bahia Esperanza Diamond (spelled various ways) is widely regarded as one of the rarest diamonds ever discovered. Originating in Brazil, this elongated pyramid diamond is a certified Fancy Vivid Orange-Brown weighing an astounding 175.52 carats - an essentially incalculable rarity of that exotic color and size. After discovery in the 1950s, it spent decades in private hands before resurfacing in the 1990s.

The Incomparable Diamond, a 407.48 carat internally flawless yellow-brown stunner from the Congo, represents one of the largest and most perfect colored diamonds in existence. Cut into an elongated shield shape over a year by Laser Gemological Services, its volume and purity make it one of the rarest diamonds by sheer size and composition.

Among colored diamonds, the 5.11 carat Moussaieff Red is considered one of the rarest reds of significant size on record. Originally found in Brazil but cut and polished in the 1970s, this brilliant Fancy Red diamond briefly held the auction record price per carat over $8 million for any colored diamond.

Other historical examples of renowned rarity include the now re-cut 45.52 carat Dresden Green, which exhibits an olive-green color from radiation exposure; and the 26.58 carat Centennial Diamond - the largest modern fancy vivid golden-orange diamond known.

Of course, even among white diamonds, specimens classified as "D colorless" and Internally Flawless stand out as among the rarest in the world if reaching massive weights. The 545.67 Golden Jubilee takes the prize as the largest cut D/IF diamond ever certified.

So whether defined by color, size, purity or a combination thereof, certain diamonds have secured legendary status as some of the rarest precious gems on Earth based on their once-in-an-infinite combination of attributes placing them truly in a class by themselves in rarity.

How much more valuable are the rarest diamonds compared to normal gems ?

The rarest diamonds in the world command astronomical premiums in value compared to normal gem quality diamonds. While other factors like clarity and cut also influence price, superlative rarity based on color, size and provenance causes truly exceptional stones to be worth exponentially more than standard gems.

For colored diamonds, the most vivid fancy red, blue, pink, green and certain orange hues are the rarest and most coveted - especially if combined with substantial size over 3-5 carats. High quality reds and blues over 5 carats can sell for 50-100 times the price of an equivalent weight top color white diamond or even higher. Some record breaking colored diamonds have exceeded $1 million per carat at auction.

The world famous 59.6 carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond sold for $71.2 million in 2022, smashing the record at over $1.1 million per carat largely due to its massive rarity. Yet a 5 carat D Flawless white diamond this decade retailed around $500,000 or $100,000/ct - highlighting the incomparable premiums for rare pink color.

Beyond color, immense size and quality are the principal markers of rarest diamond value. While over 10 carats, even white diamond prices soar exponentially due to the scarcity of large rough specimens. The 163 carat D Flawless Lesedi la Rona sold for $33.7 million in 2016, or over $200k/carat - over 5 times the price of a normal premium smaller diamond.

Provenance also impacts rarest diamond values. Diamonds from historic niche deposits like the famed Indian Golconda mines can quadruple in value versus similar quality diamonds based solely on their romanticized scarcity. A flawless 50 carat Golconda colorless could fetch billions today.

So in summary, rare color combined with large size, perfect quality, and coveted provenance can exponentially multiply a diamond's worth relative to a normal gem quality diamond. The world's rarest diamonds fetch astronomical rarest diamond in the world prices driven by sheer limited supply dynamics - often hundreds or thousands of times more valuable per carat than standard gemstones. Their unparalleled scarcity defines their sky-high valuations.

Where have some of the rarest diamond finds originated from geographically ?

While diamonds have been found on nearly every continent, some geographic regions and specific mines have produced a vastly disproportionate share of the world's rarest diamond specimens based on color, size, and other unique attributes. These diamond sources include:

India: Ancient mines like Golconda supplied famed gemstones in the Mughal era renowned for superb clarity and color. The once prominent Indian supplies dwindled after the 18th century but set the benchmark for rarest quality tradition.

South Africa: In modern times, prolific African mines like Cullinan, Premier, and Kimberley fueled the De Beers empire and yielded several of the largest ever rough diamonds including the famed Cullinan Diamond at over 3000 carats in the rough. While focused more on commercial production, rarities like pure colored diamonds or massive rocks periodically emerged.

Australia: Starting in the 1980s, the Argyle mine became the first consistent source for fancy vivid pink, red, and purplish diamonds - the rarest of colored varieties. Over 90% of those ultra rare hues derived from this one Western Australia operation before its 2020 closure.

Brazil: Dating back centuries, Brazilian deposits in Minas Gerais state and elsewhere have coughed up some of the most exotic rarest diamonds including many famed colored specimens. These include vivid oranges, browns, pinks, purples and more in addition to the occasional outsized white gem.

Russia: Siberian Russian mines like Udachnaya have been hallmark sources for several of the largest diamonds ever produced, including multiple record-setters each weighing hundreds of carats in the rough as well as an irregular supply of rare colored diamonds.

While diamonds occur globally, these particular geographic locations and mines produced anomalous concentrations of the dimensions, hues and singular traits that catapulted certain finds into the echelons of the rarest diamond in the world throughout history based on their improbable discoveries.

What makes colored rarest diamonds even more exceptional than colorless ones ?

Colored diamonds represent some of the rarest diamonds globally due to the confluence of extraordinary chemical impurities, physical factors, and geological conditions required for their formation - making them significantly more exceptional than the already rare colorless varieties.

To form a colored diamond, elemental impurities like nitrogen, boron, or hydrogen must be present within the carbon composition with highly precise concentrations and spatial orientations. During the diamond's multi-billion year genesis, immense heat and pressure spanning specific environments trigger these impurities to disrupt the carbon crystallization.

The interference alters the crystal structure by distorting atomic bonding angles and introducing atomic-scale deformities or "plastic strain" zones. These deformities selectively absorb and disperse light in ways producing spectacular colors like red, pink, blue, green, yellow, and more in the diamond depending on the specific impurity type.

Meanwhile, most colorless diamonds simply form with a pure carbon structure without such precise impurities or deformities to facilitate the filtering and refraction of light wavelengths required for coloration.

So while all natural diamonds are scarce due to the extreme formation conditions, achieving color elevates this rarity substantially. Only one in several hundred thousand diamonds exhibits the exact deformation-impurity combinations leading to the most coveted colored hues like vivid reds and pinks.

Additionally, rarer colors like red or green often require exposure to intense radiation, heat pressures, or even lightning strikes on top of the initial deformation - an exceptionally unlikely happenstance producing their one-of-a-million coloration.

On top of this, color frequently correlates with larger crystal size in nature - another intrinsic rarity characteristic. So not only do the rarest diamond in the world colors emerge amidst already statistically minute circumstances, but their carat size frequently ranks amongst the largest to boot.

So in summary, their chemically pure origin, structurally perfect imperfections, physically singular qualities, and often large dimensions culminate in a multi-faceted convergence of properties that make any colored diamond order of magnitudes rarer than even its colorless counterparts.

How do experts evaluate and grade the rarest diamonds for quality and authenticity ?

How do experts evaluate and grade the rarest diamonds for quality and authenticity?

Evaluating and grading the rarest diamonds in the world requires extensive analysis by highly trained experts using specialized equipment and judgment honed over years of experience. Several key factors are assessed to validate authenticity and determine quality for establishing rarity and value.

The first major component is establishing the diamond's natural origin versus potential lab created synthesis. Experts use techniques like microscopic inspection of inclusions/growth patterns, ultraviolet fluorescence reaction, and advanced spectroscopy to probe the gem's atomic-level composition and structural properties. These differentiate natural formations from artificial cultivation.

Assuming natural origin, the color must then be evaluated on several dimensions - hue, tone, and saturation. The hue refers to the primary spectral color itself - blue, red, pink, yellow etc. But secondary hues like purple, orange, or green from complex defects also hugely impact rarities and value. Tone describes the relative lightness versus darkness of the color while saturation measures color intensity and purity.

Specialized color grading scales from gemological labs provide standardized color descriptions. For example, GIA designates "Fancy" descriptors for saturated colors like Fancy Vivid Purplish Red or Fancy Light Yellowish Green pointing to extreme rarity whereas "Light" would be less valuable.

Clarity grades centered on inclusion characteristics must also document transparency and structural integrity. Any inclusions or growth particulates compromising brilliance or integrity may dramatically reduce rarity.

Finally, other attributes like polish quality, dimensions, origin details, and historical ownership all feed into rarity stories. Each piece of the puzzle is vital for authenticating a true contender as one of the