Life & Leisure

How to steal a 10-million dollar red diamond

How to steal a 10-million dollar red diamond |

We watched an old movie last night. In the 2001 thriller Don’t Say A Word, a group of professional robbers broke into a bank’s vault, located a specific safety deposit box and rummaged through its contents for a small object wrapped in white paper. A red diamond valued at 10-million dollars was the only thing they were interested in. The robbers got away with the loot but, in an unexpected twist, one of them made a switch to the dismay of head robber Patrick Koster (Sean Bean).

Ten years later, child psychiatrist, Dr. Nathan R. Conrad (Michael Douglas) is asked by Dr. Louis Sachs (Oliver Platt) to examine patient Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy) at the state sanatorium. Back home, Dr. Conrad’s young daughter Jessie is kidnapped from their apartment. Over the phone, Koster tells Dr. Conrad that Elisabeth has a six-digit number hidden in her mind and the doctor must retrieve the number to get Jessie back.

It turns out the Elisabeth is the daughter of the robber who ran away with the diamond. Ten years earlier, Koster and the rest of the gang, in their attempt to force Elisabeth’s father to reveal the location of the diamond, pushed him in front of a subway train where he died. Koster and his gang were caught, and went to prison. The number hidden in Elisabeth’s mind is the number of her father’s grave where she had placed her doll with the diamond inside it.

Red diamond in Don't Say A Word

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

I knew that I had seen the film before. I recalled the plot slowly, bit by bit, but I remembered right away that there was a red gem inside the safety deposit box. I always thought it was a ruby and was rather surprised to hear Sean Bean’s character refer to it repeatedly as a diamond (I didn’t remember that!). The Wikipedia article about the film uses the term “a rare $10-million gem” while The Movie Spoiler calls it “a small ruby-like object worth about $10 million.”

Both descriptions sound overly-cautious as though trying to avoid what can be a huge factual error. The truth is, there are colored diamonds and red diamonds are particularly rare.

Red diamond in Don't Say A Word

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

As with any commodity, the more rare commodity jacks up the demand and, consequently, the price. The red diamond in the film doesn’t look too large but, according to a 2013 article in the Capetown Diamond Museum website, “the price for a natural fancy red diamond rarely starts under $100,000… for anything above 0.20ct.”

Consider this:

The Moussaieff Red Diamond is a diamond measuring 5.11 carats (1. 022 g) with a triangular brilliant cut sometimes called a trillion or a trilliant cut, rated in color as Fancy Red by the Gemological Institute of America. Although this may seem relatively small when compared to other famous diamonds, in fact, the Moussaieff Red is the largest Fancy Red the GIA reports having value. The price can reach up to $7 million. [Source]

So, depending on the vividness of the color, the lack of impurities and the current market demand, yes, that piece of stone — if it were genuine — could be worth ten million dollars.

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