The Orange Diamond


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Dr. Shihaan M. Larif

Origin of Name

The name "The Orange Diamond" using the definite article "the" without any doubt was inspired by the extreme rarity of orange diamonds in general and in particular orange diamonds of large size exceeding 5 carats. In fact before the 14.82-carat, fancy vivid orange "The Orange Diamond" came into the limelight in the year 2013, the largest fancy vivid orange diamond known to the world was the 5.54-carat, cushion-cut "Pumpkin Diamond" cut and polished by diamantaire William Goldberg himself and purchased by Ronald Winston at a Sotheby's New York auction on October 30, 1997. The "Gemstone Forecaster" at that time referred to the "Pumpkin Diamond" as "the only vivid orange ever graded by the GIA," and the "Colored Diamond Encyclopedia" referred to it as "the world's largest fancy vivid orange diamond."

The appearance of a relatively large fancy vivid orange diamond weighing an incredible 14.82 carats after a long period of 16 years is indeed a significant event in the history of famous diamonds, and to mark this historic event, knowing very well that the appearance of another fancy vivid orange diamond of that size and calibre may not materialize in the near future, probably prompted the owners of the diamond to christen the rare stone as "The Orange Diamond." The name "The Orange Diamond" refers to the one and only large fancy vivid orange diamond in the world greater than 10 carats; the largest in the world at present; the 14.82-carat, pear-shaped, fancy vivid orange diamond.

The Orange Diamond - Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond in the World

The Orange Diamond - Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond in the World

Enlarged image of the 5.54-carat, fancy vivid orange, Pumpkin Diamond - closest rival of The Orange Diamond, pushed to 2nd place after 16 years

Enlarged image of the 5.54-carat, fancy vivid orange, Pumpkin Diamond - closest rival of The Orange Diamond, pushed to 2nd place after 16 years


Characteristics of the Diamond

The 4Cs of the diamond

According to the GIA Certificate No. 16319474 issued on August 17, 2013, "The Orange Diamond" is a 14.82-carat, pear-shaped, fancy vivid orange diamond with a clarity grade of VS1. The dimensions of the diamond are greatest length 21 mm and greatest width 14 mm.


The GIA Certifies that "The Orange Diamond" is the Largest Fancy Vivid Orange, Natural Colored Diamond Graded by Them

A supplemental letter accompanying the GIA certificate stated that 'According to the records of the GIA Laboratory (this diamond) is the largest Fancy Vivid Orange, Natural Colour, diamond graded as of the date of the report issued.' 


According to the GIA "The Orange Diamond" is a Type 1a diamond, even though in general orange diamonds are considered to be Type 1b

Laboratory tests conducted by the GIA has established that "The Orange Diamond" is in fact a Type 1a diamond, even though most orange diamonds are generally considered to be Type 1b.

Orange diamonds are Type 1b, because nitrogen atoms are scattered as single atoms in the diamond crystal lattice and not as groups or aggregates of 2, 3, or 4 atoms as in Type 1a diamonds. The Nitrogen atoms absorb visible light in the blue end of the spectrum producing the complementary intense yellow color known as canary yellow, orange or sometimes amber colors. However, since only 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds belong to this group, canary yellow, orange and amber colors are extremely rare in diamonds.

Hence, in general all orange diamonds are considered to be Type 1b. However, there may be exceptions as in the case of "The Orange Diamond" in which the fancy vivid orange color is without any doubt produced by scattered single nitrogen atoms, but there are also sufficient quantities of aggregates of 2, 3 or 4 atoms, that can give an infra-red absorption spectrum, consistent with Type 1a diamonds.

This is like the Argyle diamonds. All Argyle diamonds whether brown, yellow, colorless, grey, pink, red or green are Type Ia diamonds. This is because these diamonds have significant quantities of nitrogen varying from about 10 ppm to about 1000 ppm, in the form of A and B aggregates, which do not affect the color of diamonds. A great majority of the Agyle diamonds have undergone deformation of the crystal lattice, and the diamonds are highly strained and color zoned, parallel to {111}. The highly strained character is apparent when observed with cross polarizing filters. The plastic deformation causes the brown and pink coloration and other fancy colors like purple and red as in Type IIa diamonds. Hence, in Argyle diamonds fancy colors are produced by plastic deformation as in Type IIa diamonds, yet the diamonds are Type Ia because of the presence of detectable quantities of nitrogen as A and B aggregates, which do not affect the color of the diamonds. Argyle brownish yellow and yellow diamonds however, contain N3 centers besides A and B aggregates, that impart the yellow color to the diamonds. Brownish yellow color is the combined effect of plastically deformed centers and N3 centers.


Another view of the 14.82-carat pear-shaped fancy vivid orange diamond

A note on the scarcity of Orange diamonds

Christie's website on its November 12, 2013, Magnificent Jewels Geneva Sale Lot finder, in its webpage for Lot 286 - The Orange : The Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond In The World - have included a paragraph on the scarcity of orange diamonds, as Lot Notes. This paragraph is reproduced below for the benefit of our readers.

5.72-carat natural Ceylon (Sri Lanka) orange sapphire

5.72-carat, heart-shaped, natural, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) orange sapphire



Early History of the diamond

Nothing is known about the early history of the diamond such as the country and mine of origin, the date of discovery, characteristics of the rough diamond, the person or company involved in the cutting of the rough diamond etc.

However, the country of origin of the diamond is undoubtedly South Africa, where in the past the Zwartruggen dikes of South Africa, had been identified as a relatively prolific source of amber and orange colored diamonds, with 2-5 % of the output from these mines being amber or orange colored. A small number of amber and orange diamonds were also found in the output from the Finsch and Premier mines. In the year 2010, Namakawa Diamonds reported the recovery of an orange rough diamond weighing 7.53 carats, believed to be potentially flawless and having the potential to achieve the fancy vivid grade when cut and polished. The rough diamond was discovered during operations in Namakawa's southeast node in the northwest of South Africa was subsequently sold at their Johannesburg tender for US$ 1.33 million.


7.53-carat, vivid orange, potentially flawless Namakawa rough diamond


Sale of "The Orange Diamond" at Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale on November 12, 2013

Lot 286 at Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale 1400, held on November 12, 2013, was titled : "The Orange" : The Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond In The World. A pre-sale estimate of CHF 16,000,000 - CHF 19,000,000 (US$ 17,414,966 - US$ 20,680,273) was placed on the lot.

After a keenly contested bidding process Lot 286 achieved a record-breaking price of CHF 32,645,000 equivalent to US$ 35,540,612, which was twice the lower estimate of CHF 16,000,000 and 1.9 times the upper estimate of CHF 19,000,000. The unprecedented record set by "The Orange" diamond secured for it a place amongst the record-breaking pink and blue diamonds in recent times. The Orange diamond was purchased by a private collector present in the sale room, who, for the time being wishes to remain anonymous.

The record-breaking price achieved by "The Orange" diamond set two new world records :- 1) The highest price-per-carat (US$ 2,398,151) achieved by any diamond sold at an auction, and 2) The highest price ever achieved by a fancy vivid orange diamond at an auction.

Francois Curiel, International Head of Christie's Jewellery Department, decalred after the sale, " Time and again, a stone will appear on the market that is truly a miracle of nature. The 14.82-carat orange diamond is one such stone, a rare gem, which will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime. In the sale on Tuesday it soared far above all previous records for any orange diamond ever sold at auction, placing "The Orange" amongst the greatest pinks and blues, which are traditionally the most appreciated colored diamonds."

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewellery, Christie's Switzerland and Americas, commented after the sale,

In a $125 million auction, The Orange, the Patino Collection, natural pearls, Royal jewels and stylish creations from the collection of Helene Rochas were competed for with a passion rarely seen before. The energy in the auction room was constant throughout the sale with collectors and members of the trade bidding without abandon."

For the auction house Christie's, November 12, 2013 Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale was a milestone in its history, as the total sales realized at the auction, US$ 125,360,131, was the highest ever registered by the auction house for a Geneva jewellery auction. The total sale realized represented 89% by lot and 96% by value, with a record 22 lots selling above US$ 1 million.


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Back to Famous Diamonds

Related :-

Pumpkin Diamond

Lady Heart Diamond Collection



External Links :-


References :-

1) The Orange - The Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond In The World Christie's Press Release, Geneva, October 10, 2013.

2) The Pumpkin Diamond -

3) The Lady Heart Diamond Collection-

4) The Orange - The Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond In The World - Sale 1400, Lot 286 - Christie's Lot Finder for November 12, 2013, Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale.

5) The Orange - The Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond in the World Sets A New Record Price At Auction. - Christie's Post Sale Press Release, November 12, 2013.

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Dr Shihaan Larif
Founder Internet Stones.COM



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