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Yellow Diamonds: An Immense Color Diamond Guide

yellow diamonds

Yellow diamonds come from the class of fancy diamonds. They are found naturally and synthesized in labs as well. Most mistake yellow diamonds for bad colorless diamonds as they too have a yellow hue to them in the mower color grades.

yellow diamonds

However, in a yellow diamond, the yellow is extremely prominent, classifying it as the primary color of the diamond, hence it is then no longer a colorless diamond but a fancy yellow diamond whose value incrementally increases.

Yellow Diamonds: Origin and Formation

Similar to most diamonds, yellow diamonds are also formed deep in the Earth’s crust, nearly 125 to 150 miles below the earth’s mantle. Yellow diamonds similar to other fancy diamonds get their color due to the presence of nitrogen in them. 

The metal is sullied in the carbon-based crystalline lattice of the diamond. The nitrogen tends to absorb blue light making the diamond appear yellow in color. The intensity of the yellow color in the diamond depends upon the level of nitrogen present in the stone. 

Sometimes in the presence of other chemicals, secondary colors such as brown or orange tints can be seen in the primarily yellow diamond.   The geographical locations also play a role in the intensity of the yellow color, at certain locations mines are richer in minerals. resulting in deeper color intensity of the diamond.

What are Canary Diamonds?

Canary diamonds are the most valuable yellow diamonds ever discovered. They are sought by many. The resemblance between the color of the canary diamond and that of an actual canary is uncanny.

The deep, intense yellow hue of the canary diamond is very similar to the actual canary bird. The canary diamonds are graded similar to any other fancy diamond, following the color grading scale of the GIA, which ranges from Fancy Intense to Fancy vivid, for canary diamonds.

It is interesting to note that the use of the term canary diamond is not restricted to any one particular diamond, rather it is a common term for any yellow diamond, which has a pure color. It is a sort of nickname developed over time for such pure yellow diamonds.

These diamonds like all other pure diamonds are extremely rare, and thus also massively expensive. These factors make their reselling values higher when compared to other diamonds.

Zimmy Diamonds

Zimmy Diamonds are another group of yellow diamonds; these were not however nicknamed due to the purity of their color. They are rather well known for their origin. The Jimmy diamonds are known to originate from the Zimmy mine which is located in Sierra Leone, West Africa. This mine is famous for the diamonds that are mined from its soil. Diamonds found here mostly have a color intensity of a vivid yellow.

How are yellow diamonds graded?

The While, white colorless diamonds are grade based on a color scale that ranges from D-Z, the yellow diamond follows the GIA scale for fancy diamonds. 

Any diamond with a yellow hue that goes beyond the color grade Z of the scale for colorless diamonds, is considered a fancy diamond. 

In simpler terms, yellow diamonds are saturated diamonds. When it comes to fancy diamonds their color is the most important aspect out of the other 4c’s of a diamond, namely – cut, carat, color, and clarity. Since a fancy diamond is all about its color, it’s only obvious that the more intense the color of the diamond, the higher it’s valued. 

Also read: Tips For Beginners Diamond Trader – How To Get Started

The GIA’s color grading scale for any colored fancy diamond is as follows:

  • Faint
  • Very light
  • Light
  • Fancy light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy intense
  • Fancy vivid, Fancy Deep, and Fancy dark

According to the gemologists, it is quite an ardent task to determine the character traits of a diamond, it is best done by specialists who are trained enough to be able to distinguish between the minor differences that make the features and the pricing of each diamond unique

To determine the color of a fancy Diamond is an even more difficult task because the color of a fancy diamond cannot be measured like a dimension along a scale. 

Sometimes the color grade given to a diamond could be a result of the observer’s bias. This is more prominently seen if the diamond has fluorescence. 

Each grade is more like a range. And if you get a diamond that is in between ranges, then it could be certified a color grade above or below, depending upon the perspective of the gemologist who certified the diamond. 

For example, a yellow diamond is one or two shades above the fancy light grade, it is possible that it may not be graded as a fancy intense but rather be kept as a fancy light. This can be a loss to some people if not careful, and most retailers tend to benefit from such situations. 

Price of a fancy yellow diamond

Like most diamonds, the higher the color grade of a fancy diamond, the more expensive its rate per carat is. However, yellow fancy diamonds are less rare compared to other fancy diamonds such as red, blue, pink, and purple, hence these are relatively affordable. Some of the factors other than the color grade, which make a real difference to the price per carat of a yellow diamond are:

  • Presence or absence of secondary colors: Diamonds that are pure, i.e., they do not have any secondary color such as brown or orange, are considered rarer and hence have a higher value per carat, for example, the canary diamonds. Sometimes, very rarely we see a yellow diamond with a green undertone, these diamonds are also comparatively expensive. Whereas diamonds with secondary colors are less expensive than pure diamonds. Bottom line, the more rare the diamond, the higher its value per carat.
  • Unlike other fancy diamonds, the other three factors of the 4c’s (cut, carat, color, and clarity) also play a huge role in determining the price of the diamond.
  • Carat weights, It is uncommon for yellow diamonds to be found with higher carat weights, hence these are more expensive compared to smaller diamonds.

A 1ct yellow diamond, with average cut, color, and clarity grades is estimated to cost nearly $3000 – $5000. Generally speaking, the price for yellow diamonds ranges between $2000 to $20,000 or more per carat depending upon the above-mentioned factors. 

Yellow diamonds with the strongest color intensity that is graded Fancy Vivid yellow is unquestionably the most expensive out of the lot. Its price is expected to range between $8000 – $16,000 and above per carat weight. 

Another interesting fact at this point is that a fancy vivid yellow diamond would cost just as much as a D-grade colorless diamond (the highest possible grade for colorless diamonds). Hence it comes down to you making an important decision- which one would you choose? 

Engagement settings for yellow diamonds

A fancy yellow diamond may not be the most ideal stone for an engagement ring, However, the fact that it is a fancy stone is enough to appeal to the aesthetics of many. It is paramount that you choose the best metal that complements the yellow diamond, unlike colorless diamonds you get a wider range of opportunities for contrasting and complementing a metal color with the color of your diamond. 

There are various metals available on the market for engagement rings, metals such as platinum, white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold are most common and each one would contrast differently with a yellow stone. 

A lighter metal such as platinum or white gold would create an eye-catching contrast with a vivid canary yellow. Alternatively, a darker metal like yellow gold or rose gold is likely to make the appearance of your yellow stone deeper and more intense than its actual color grade. If you go for this metal, you can actually select a yellow diamond that has a faint color grade. Thereby saving money on our budget.

Some Popular customized ring settings are:

  • The Halo Setting:

The halo setting can make your yellow diamond appear better, more so if there is more than one layer of stones surrounding the yellow one. 

  • The Pave Settings:

The pave settings are the go-to setting for most engagement rings, and it is ideal for all those who wish to add value to their ring. The side stones of the ring could be colorless or any other fancy diamond that would contrast the center yellow diamonds. The smaller stone tends to add more sparkle to your ring.

  • Side Stone settings:

These are used to highlight the center yellow diamond with side stones which can be colorless or fancy. And can be of any cut, round, triangle-shaped, or any other shape which accents your taste. 

Some facts about the yellow diamonds

  • Yellow Diamonds are only 1 out of 10,000 carats that are mined

Naturally occurring yellow diamonds are rare, although not as rare as the other fancy diamonds. Yellow diamonds among them are the most common, but they are still rare to the point that out of 10,000 carats of diamonds mined, only 1 carat is a yellow diamond. Yellow diamonds make up 60% of the world’s-colored diamonds.

  • Yellow diamonds are found all over the world

Yellow diamonds can be found in all the diamond mines in the world, however, the ones with the most intense color are specific to the mines found in South Africa, moreover, they are not found in mines, rather discovered in the soil. Yellow diamonds are widely sold in South Africa, and it is home to some of the prestigious diamond retailers, selling yellow diamonds.

  • Yellow diamonds have a unique color combination

All diamonds are unique in their characteristics. However, some of the most unique color characteristics and combinations are seen for yellow diamonds. These range from brownish-yellow, to orange-yellow, to greenish-yellow, and sometimes even more varying secondary colors are found. Pure yellow diamonds are called canary diamonds, as they have a vivid and intense color that is similar to that of a canary bird.

  • The first yellow diamond was discovered in the year 1867

The first yellow diamonds were found in the soils in South Africa, coincidentally it was also the first diamond to ever have been discovered in the continent. A teenager had come across a rough stone in the grass, his mother passed it on to his neighbor no knowing its true worth. It traveled halfway across the globe to Europe where it was purchased by European DeBeers in 1967. It was nicknamed the “eureka diamond”. A few years later after the death of de beers, the diamond was eventually donated to the people of South Africa and is currently on display at the Kimberly Mine Museum.

  • Oval is the most popular shape for yellow diamonds

In most cases, a round cut brilliant diamond is the go-to choice for a diamond cut, of a colorless color grade. However, that is not the case for fancy yellow diamonds. As a matter of fact, a round cut is a big no for fancy diamonds, as their cut shape reflects a lot of light that falls on its surface, thereby reducing the appearance effect of the yellow diamond. This is one of the main reasons, that an oval shape is most preferred as this cut reflects the least amount of light, and thus maximizes its color potential

Also read: Know Something About Raw Diamonds!

Conclusion Thoughts

Yellow diamonds are classified as fancy diamonds, although they are not as rare as the other fancier diamonds, they are still hard to come by. These are mined all over the world, but mines specific to intense colored yellow diamonds are located in South Africa.

When selecting a yellow diamond its color is its price determining factor. A fancy vivid yellow diamond of 1 carat approximately costs the same as a D color grade colorless diamond. However yellow diamonds have a greater variety for choosing a jewelry setting compared to colorless diamonds. At the end of the day when it comes to buying fancy diamonds, your preference matters the most.


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