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Yellow Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

Yellow Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

Everyone is familiar with gorgeous colorless diamonds. However, when shopping for diamonds, you’re bound to come across some colored diamonds, some of which are yellow. So, what are yellow diamonds? Are they rare?

Yellow diamonds are, well, diamonds – with the addition of nitrogen within their internal structure which gives them their color. These stones can be common, but some types of yellow diamonds can be very rare and therefore very valuable and expensive.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about yellow diamonds, so without further ado, let’s dive in.

What Are Yellow Diamonds?

Like any other natural diamond, yellow diamonds are formed over millions of years. What makes them yellow is the small addition of Nitrogen within the diamond’s structure. You see, diamonds were created at immense pressure and extremely high temperatures deep below the Earth’s surface and are eventually brought to an accessible depth through volcanic eruptions. 

The compound elements, which cause the color of a diamond, can be anywhere but are generally more common where the earth’s material in that location has more of any specific elements. 

For instance, the Ellendale mine in Australia was known for its mass production of yellow diamonds since many yellow gems were found in that location. There are other mines around the globe that produce yellow diamonds, such as in Brazil, Angola, Sierra Leone, Borneo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yellow diamonds are one of many types of fancy colored diamonds, produced both naturally and lab-grown. While diamonds are most generally clear and colorless, fancy colored diamonds such as yellow diamonds offer an exciting and unique alternative.

These colored diamonds get their gorgeous yellow color due to the small part of nitrogen being trapped within the diamond’s structure. Regular colorless diamonds can sometimes have yellowish tinting which is usually considered a negative quality – gems that are completely colorless and clear command a higher price.

However, once the color reaches a point where yellow is the dominant color, its value and price begin to rise again as a fancy colored diamond. 

Fancy yellow diamonds can possess shades of other colors as well, such as brown or orange. The most valuable and desirable yellow diamonds are those with intense and pure yellow colors. These pure yellow gems are often referred to as Canary diamonds.

The unique color of yellow diamonds comes from nitrogen’s presence within the gem’s composition. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light, which makes a yellow shade. 

A yellow diamond’s color can range from light to dark, depending on the amount of nitrogen. Different chemicals present during the formation of a diamond lead to additional colors, such as the common orange or brown tint found with yellow diamonds. 

How Can You Tell If A Yellow Diamond Is Real?

The best and most accurate solution for this is to only purchase a yellow diamond that is accompanied by a GIA certificate. In this certificate, GIA will authenticate the stone and the origin of its color, ensuring it didn’t get the beautiful yellow color from a treatment made in the lab.

Are Yellow Diamonds Rare?

Yellow diamonds are, in fact, the most common type of fancy colored diamonds. The rarity is based on the exact shade of yellow color. Light-colored yellow diamonds are rather common, but those with intense yellow color are quite rare and therefore more valuable.

What Are Canary Diamonds?

Canary diamonds, named due to their shade resembling that of a canary bird, are the most valuable and desirable of all yellow diamonds, and therefore command the highest price. Canary diamonds are the most valuable and sought-after kind of yellow diamonds.

Like the canary bird, these diamonds show an intense yellow hue instead of a light or dull yellow tinge that is commonly considered a negative in diamonds.

Officially, canary diamonds are fancy yellow diamonds, graded anywhere from fancy vivid to fancy intense on the official GIA color scale. Canary diamonds are beautiful and rare and come with a higher price and resell value than most other yellow diamonds.

Because of the natural process required for a diamond to have an intense yellow color, Canary diamonds are extremely rare. 

Are Yellow or Canary Diamonds Real? 

Yellow diamonds are 100% real. The same processes create these diamonds as white diamonds, but some additional chemicals are present during their creation – most notably nitrogen.

Are Canary or Yellow Diamonds Famous?

Deep yellow diamonds or Canary diamonds are very rare and therefore make for some of the most famous gemstones in the world. They create an iconic appearance, and many celebrities have shown off canary diamonds.

Are Yellow Diamonds Expensive?

Fancy yellow diamonds can cost from $2500 per carat up to $20000 or even more per carat, based on a number of factors. For a good quality yellow diamond, one can expect the price to be at least $3500 per cart. Aspects that dictate the price of yellow diamonds include:

  • Yellow color grades – yellow diamonds with Faint and Very Light grades are much cheaper, whereas Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid graded diamonds are way more expensive.
  • Supporting colors – the most expensive diamonds are those with a pure yellow color, such as Canary diamonds. On the other hand, brownish-yellow diamonds are usually cheaper.
  • Cut and Clarity – these two factors heavily influence the price of yellow diamonds just like with colorless diamonds.
  • Carat weight – yellow diamonds with higher carat weight are rarer, thus dictate a higher relative price.

Generally speaking, Fancy yellow diamonds are pretty standard. Because of their commonality, Fancy yellow diamonds can be affordable. Considering good grades, a 1-carat yellow diamond will have a price of around $3500. 

A Fancy Vivid yellow diamond with an eye-clean clarity and decent color will cost around the same as a D color Flawless white diamond of the same cut. At this point, it depends on what your preferences are: a unique, richly colored stone or a colorless gem.

This chart will give you a general idea of the price range for each color grade for Fancy yellow diamonds:

Color Intensity0.5-carat1.0-carat2.0-carat
Fancy Vivid$3500-$8000$8000-$20000$35000-$60000
Fancy Intense$1500-$4000$4000-$8000$16500-$25000
Fancy $1000-$2000$3000-$6000$8000-$16000
Fancy Light$800-$1300$2000-$5000$7000-$11000

Evaluation the yellow diamond’s price is detailed since even the smallest tint can heavily impact the price. For this reason, we recommend talking to an expert before purchasing a yellow diamond.

Related Read: Diamond Price List: How Much Is A 0.1 To 40 Carat Diamond Worth?

What’s the Price of a 1-carat Yellow Diamond?

The price of a 1-carat yellow diamond can range anywhere between $2000 and $16000, depending on its grade and the intensity of its color. For example, Canary diamonds are the most expensive and you can generally expect to pay at least $10000 for a 1-carat stone.

Are Yellow Diamonds More Expensive?

Faint or light yellow diamonds are pretty common, so they are generally cheaper than white diamonds. On the other hand, deep yellow diamonds and Canary diamonds are very rare and are generally more expensive.

The Intensity Levels Of Yellow Diamonds

White diamonds are graded on the GIA color scale from D to Z, where D graded diamonds are completely colorless and Z graded stones have a distinct yellow or brown tint. The GIA color grading scale for yellow diamonds looks like this:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark

Assessing the yellow diamond’s color is a challenging task. More importantly, each fancy color grade isn’t just a point along a line since each grade is a range in itself. For instance, it’s possible to find a Fancy Yellow diamond that just barely made it over the border from Fancy Light grade territory.

It’s also possible to come across a Fancy Yellow that barely missed the cutoff into the Fancy Intense grade. That’s why we suggest looking at reputable vendors since they provide high-quality diamond images making it much easier to determine which stone is more beautiful and valuable.

How Does Color Impact the Yellow Diamond’s Price?

The colors of yellow diamonds are graded on how intense their color is. On the lower end of the spectrum are Faint or Fancy Light grades that have a lighter color and are generally less expensive.

On the other end, there are Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds that carry a much higher price tag. Supporting colors can also impact the yellow diamond’s price. Generally, a brownish tint will lower the value of a yellow diamond, while an orange or green hue can increase its price.

Aren’t Yellow-colored Diamonds a Bad Thing?

The more yellow a stone is, the less valuable it is when grading white diamonds. However, once a gem goes past the end of the standard color scale (from D to Z), its value rises again the more intense its color is.

Selecting The Best Ring Setting For Yellow Diamonds

When you buy a ring with a yellow diamond, pay attention to the color of the ring setting’s metal. With a yellow diamond, you have interesting opportunities for either complementary or contrast when it comes to the color of the ring setting.

Ring settings can be made out of all sorts of metals, including white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and platinum. Obviously, these metals have distinct colors meaning they will impact how the gemstone appears when it’s set in the ring.

A metal of lighter color, like white gold or platinum, can produce an impressive contrast paired with a Vivid Canary yellow diamond. Likewise, pairing a yellow centerpiece stone with white side stones, can accentuate the center stone and make it attract attention.

Alternatively, a ring setting of darker color, such as rose or yellow gold, can make a yellow gemstone appear more intense than its actual color grade. This enables you to save some money by buying a light-colored stone, which is going to have a darker look when it reflects the ring setting’s color.

When it comes to choosing the shape of your ring setting, consider the points we mentioned above. Generally, a yellow gold ring setting will make the stone’s color look darker, whereas a white gold ring setting can make it look lighter.

If you want to save some money, be sure to search for a yellow diamond that has one intensity grade lower and also have it set in a yellow gold ring setting to maximize the gem’s color. Here are some great ring setting options for your yellow diamond:

Side Stones Settings

To highlight and accent your yellow diamond, you can also consider a side stone ring setting. The side stones can be round brilliants or any design that matches your taste and style.

Pave Setting

Embedded side stones featured in a pave setting provide the ring with some additional sparkle. Your side stones can be white diamonds or you can opt for those that match the color of your centerpiece yellow diamond – the choice is all yours.

Related Read: How To Prevent Pave Diamonds From Falling Out?

Halo Setting

A halo setting can make your yellow diamond engagement ring appear bigger, especially if there are two layers that surround the gemstone.

What Is The Best Shape For A Yellow Diamond?

Yellow fancy color diamonds reflect light in a different manner than a colorless diamond. Because of this, the cut and shape of your yellow stone are very important. While the most popular cut of a white diamond is round, you will rarely stumble across a fancy yellow color diamond in that cut. You see, fancy cuts go really well with fancy color gemstones.

So, while shopping for a yellow diamond, you will see fancy yellow diamonds in all sorts of fancy shapes such as emerald cut, cushion cut, oval cut, and even heart shape.

When looking at loose yellow diamonds, make sure to consider a fancy shape so that you get the most sparkle out of the diamond. In general, yellow diamonds require nontraditional shapes to make them shine and sparkle, and because of that, you would be pressed to find many round-cut yellow diamonds.

The most popular diamond shape for yellow diamonds is oval-cut. Also, fancy yellow cushion-cut diamonds are desired in vintage jewelry.

Lab-grown Fancy Yellow Diamonds

Mined yellow diamonds are very rare, and as a result, are highly valued. Before growing diamonds in labs, people had to wait for someone to mine their future diamonds. The time spent waiting for a yellow gem to be mined, combined with mining costs, and the controlled trade of diamonds, made them extremely expensive.

The fact that yellow diamonds are so rare is what makes them highly sought after, which feeds into unsustainable and conflict-riddled diamond practices.

Luckily, yellow diamonds aren’t only created naturally – they can also be grown in labs. Scientists have perfected the methods necessary to create diamonds in a lab, which carry the same chemical and physical properties and beauty as natural diamonds.

Most people don’t have the time to waste waiting for a yellow diamond to be mined, so many opt for lab-grown gems. With the ability to design your stone with less wait time at a lower cost, it’s a wonder people still purchase mined fancy colored gems at all! Lab-grown diamonds are identical to natural diamonds, to the point where they are impossible for diamond specialists to tell the difference

Lab-created fancy yellow diamonds provide an interesting alternative for people who are on a tight budget. Lab-created yellow diamonds are significantly less expensive than natural diamonds since they are easier to come by. The downside is that lab-grown diamonds aren’t as rare as their natural counterparts and therefore carry very little resale value.

But, if you just want a gorgeous yellow diamond for the lowest price, you should consider going with a lab-grown yellow diamond.

Yellow Diamonds and Treatment

Yellow diamonds have been also produced by treating diamonds with a brownish tint. These treatments include HPHT, irradiation, coating, and annealing. Some of these treatments can be altered or reversed if the stone is subjected to heating during jewelry repair.

Yellow diamonds that have gotten their color through artificial treatment should always be disclosed and sold at a lower price compared to similar diamonds with natural color. Also, the buyer should be informed about any special care requirements.

Many diamond buyers have no interest in artificially treated gems. They want natural colored stones and are willing to pay a premium for them. On the other hand, some people are glad to purchase a treated diamond since it allows them to get a bigger stone for the same price.

Bottom Line

So, if you’re looking for a unique diamond that will stand out from the rest, you should definitely consider yellow diamonds. The additional nitrogen within the structure of these stones is what gives them their gorgeous yellow color.

Some yellow diamonds are rather common, but others, such as Canary diamonds, are very rare and thus very expensive. Other factors that play a role in a yellow diamond’s value are cut, clarity, and carat weight.

If you want to want to get a yellow diamond for your ring, be sure to select the right metal for your ring since some metals can boost the appearance of yellow diamonds. Ultimately, if you have any concerns regarding yellow diamonds, we recommend talking to a diamond expert before making your purchase.