Last updated on April 15, 2021
The history of the Moussaieff Red Diamond is relatively uneventful; however, it gained international attention due to its unparalleled colour and size. Although 5.11 carats may not seem very large, the Moussaieff Red is the largest fancy red diamond ever found.
Origin of the Moussaieff Red Diamond
The history of the Moussaieff Red Diamond traces back to late 20th century Brazil. It was discovered by a Brazillian farmer in a mesoregion known as Zona da Mata Mineira of Minas Gerais in the 1990s.
Minas Gerais is undoubtedly one of the most legendary mining regions producing some of the world’s largest diamonds, several of them richly coloured.
Upon discovering this rare beauty, an intensely coloured red diamond in the rough weighing 13.90 carats (2.78 g), the farmer put it up for sale. Shortly the gem was purchased by the American diamond expert William Goldberg, the creator of the Ashoka cut.
It required him five trips to South America to secure the stone, but it was worth it. Goldberg brought back to New York a deep red, type IIa diamond, whose frequency of occurrence is less than 0.1% of all naturally occurring diamonds.
After much study, William Goldberg and his team decided that the diamond would be cut into a modified triangular brilliant, known as a trilliant cut. What emerged from the master cutters was the largest fancy red, internally flawless diamond known, weighing 5.11 carats, the original name of which was the Red Shield Diamond.
The Moussaieff Red Diamond’s New Home
Sometime between 2001 and 2002, the Red Shield Diamond was purchased from Goldberg by Shlomo Moussaieff, an Israel-born London jeweller and the founder of Moussaieff Jewellers Ltd. The stunning diamond was acquired for an estimated $8 million and renamed the Moussaieff Red Diamond.
In 2003, the Moussaieff Red was displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The gem was included in “The Splendour of Diamonds” exhibition and dazzled thousands of visitors with its unrivalled colour and unique shape. It was displayed alongside such beauties as the Millennium Star, the Heart of Eternity, the Pumpkin Diamond, the Allnatt Diamond, the Steinmetz Pink and the Ocean Dream Diamond.
In 2005, the Moussaieff Red Diamond was displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History again. It was exhibited as a part of a display showing eight of the most incredible diamonds in the world. The other diamonds included the Allnatt, the Heart of Eternity, the Millennium Star, the Ocean Dream, the Steinmetz Pink, the Incomparable and the 616 Diamond.
Today the red diamond is among the top ten most expensive diamonds in the world, worth an estimated $20 million according to some sources.
Cover image credit: William Goldberg