The Hancock Red is one of the most famous red diamonds in the world and Red diamonds are among the rarest diamonds on the planet. The Hancock Red, named after the famous collector Mr. Warren Hancock, is not famous for its size, but rather, for its rare purplish red color.
Red diamonds are so rare that only about twenty to thirty true red diamonds are known to exist, and most are less than half a carat in size. Since the red diamond, like the pink diamond, derives its unique color from defects in the crystal lattice and not from impurities such as nitrogen and boron, it is special and highly sought after.
The Brazilian Hancock Red diamond, weighing in at 0.95 carats, is a one-of-a-kind brilliant-cut round diamond. There are larger famous red diamonds such as the De Young Red, but that one boasts a brown overtone, which is far less desirable than a purplish red.
Another reason for the Hancock Red’s fame is the price it was sold for back in 1987. It was purchased at Christie’s in New York for $880,000, instantly giving it the title of the most expensive diamond per carat, at the time. At a whopping $926,000 per carat, the Hancock Red held its title for twenty years. The sale placed the price at seven times the price of the previous record-holding diamond. That auction made history, especially since Mr. Hancock had supposedly bought the diamond in 1956 for a mere $13,500.
Mr. Hancock had been a colored diamond collector all his life, until his early death at the age of 65 in 1981. The Montana rancher began collecting in the 1950s, and had the honor of having this rare stone named after him after he purchased it 1956.
Though more expensive diamonds have been sold since the Hancock Red Diamond, it still remains one of the most famous colored diamonds of all times due to its remarkable red color. Mr. Hancock sure knew a keeper when he saw one. We probably will not encounter another “Hancock Red” in this century, if ever at all. It is for this reason alone that the Hancock Red Diamond is an important historic and scientific artifact.