All About Yellow Diamonds

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All About Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds are diamonds that have an obvious yellow bodycolor when viewed in the "face-up" position. The yellow color is usually caused by small amounts of nitrogen contained within the diamond's crystal structure.Yellow diamonds with a rich, pure yellow color are the world's most valuable yellow gemstone. Many people consider them to be the most beautiful yellow gem because of their brightness and fire.

 Yellow diamonds are sometimes marketed as “canary.” While this isn’t a proper grading term, it’s commonly used in the trade to describe fancy yellow diamonds. Yellow diamonds offer a beautiful shine to any kind of jewelry, and are now even being used in engagement rings and wedding bands more frequently. Yellow diamonds are available at a variety of price points, making them one of the most popular colored diamond selections.

yellow and white diamond ring


Yellow diamonds can be found all over the world, but they primarily originate from South AfricaYellow diamonds were rarely seen until their discovery in South Africa in the late 1860s. They are available in every shape and size, from round to oval, cushion and princess cut. Each diamond is unique, varying in color intensity, ranging from light to vivid yellow.

yellow diamond cluster earrings


Yellow diamonds are graded for cut, clarity, and carat weight the same way as white diamonds. Their color, however, is considered differently.



As you might expect, color is one of the most important characteristics of a fancy yellow diamond. Yellow diamonds are considered to be a colored diamond and graded as “Fancy”. A Fancy grade means that the yellow diamond must have more color than the Z masterstone. White diamonds are scaled from D to Z. At the highest range, colorless diamonds are extremely rare and valuable and are identified by D. Those with the letter Z, however, have a brown or yellow tint and are less valuable due to the presence of nitrogen.

The color of a yellow diamond is due to the nitrogen that is naturally found in the stone during its formation. In very small concentrations, nitrogen gives colorless diamonds a slight tint that reduces their value and places them in a lower color range. A high nitrogen level, on the other hand, creates a rich golden color — and an increased value.


As a diamond consumer, you’ve probably heard the term “diamond treatment” or “treated diamond,” or perhaps “enhanced diamond” and wondered what that meant. A relatively small percentage of gem-quality diamonds are treated and they are treated for two reasons: to improve clarity or to alter color. In most cases involving yellow diamonds, they are treated to enhance the yellow color in the diamond. Yellow diamonds that have obtained their color through treatment should always be disclosed and sold for a lower price than similar diamonds with a natural color. You should also be informed of any special care requirements. Many buyers have no interest in treated diamonds. They want gems with a natural color and are willing to pay a premium for them. At the same time, some people are glad to buy a treated stone because it enables them to get a larger diamond for the same price or the same size diamond at a lower price.


A diamond’s color grade and whether it’s natural or treated, can dramatically affect its price. In order to determine the color of a yellow diamond, the GIA Colored Diamond Grading System is used. This grading system assigns yellow diamonds to one of six color grades:
Fancy Light - Fancy - Fancy Dark - Fancy Deep - Fancy Intense - Fancy Vivid



When it comes to white diamonds, the right cut is the key to creating their sparkle. In contrast, fancy colored diamonds are cut to emphasize their color rather than their brilliance. While a round brilliant cut will enhance a white diamond’s sparkle, it would dilute the intensity of a yellow diamond. Canary diamonds are best suited to radiant, cushion, and pear cuts as they evoke the most vibrant colors. Cutters do this because a diamond’s cut can have a noticeable impact on its apparent color when viewed from above. Cutters will even recut diamonds to maximize the intensity of the diamond’s face-up color.


The clarity grade of a fancy yellow diamond is less important than it is for white diamonds, since the stone’s color hides flaws. In fact, a canary diamond will typically be more valuable than a light yellow diamond with a higher clarity grade, solely due to the former’s intense hue. It is often acceptable to keep more inclusions in a yellow diamond in order to preserve its size.


Quality natural yellow diamonds with a high carat weight are extremely valuable. But, because they are less rare than colors like pink and blue, they’re more affordable than other fancy colored diamonds.

yellow diamond pendant


Yellow diamonds do not always need to be formed naturally. Scientists have perfected the processes to be able to create diamonds in a laboratory, which carry the same physical properties and beauty as naturally created diamonds.

Lab-created fancy yellow diamonds offer an interesting alternative for those who are on a budget. Lab-grown diamonds are significantly cheaper than natural diamonds, as they are easier to come by. Yet they are physically no different to natural diamonds and thus have the same visual beauty.

The downside is lab diamonds are not as rare as natural diamonds and thus carry very little resale value. However, if you simply want a beautiful yellow diamond for the lowest price, you can consider going with a man made yellow diamond. 


Yellow diamonds are cut into every imaginable shape but they are not by any means equal. Fancy color diamonds are usually cut into radiant and cushion shapes, unlike colorless diamonds where the round shape complements its attributes the most. This is of course because said shapes enhance a diamond’s color. They help the stone retain the light that enters it so that the color can be seen as vividly as possible.

Since the different shapes of yellow diamonds have very different faceting systems, there are some major differences in the frequency and value of differently shaped yellow diamonds, even when they are the same color grade.

(The images below are examples of some of the different shapes and shades that yellow diamonds are available in.)

radiant cut yellow diamond


The vast majority of yellow diamonds and in fact of all fancy color diamonds are cut to Radiant shape. The Radiant cut faceting maximizes the saturation of color in the diamond (where the value of the diamond comes from) while maintaining the highest levels of brilliance and fire possible, the 'Life' of the stone. It is the combination of these two traits that give diamonds their sparkle and combined with the depth and tone of the color, make yellow diamonds visually attractive and valuable. The Radiant cut is available in square to rectangular shape and is a great choice for a yellow diamond.


cushion cut yellow diamond


The Cushion cut is very similar to the Radiant cut in regards to how the faceting system and shape of the stone balance the most vibrant color possible with highest brilliance achievable. This is why the cushion cut is the second most popular cut for fancy yellow diamonds.

The main difference visual between the Cushion and the Radiant are the softer, rounded edges of the Cushion shape. There are several variations of the Cushion shape, in most cases Cushion cuts make for stunning yellow diamonds. Cushion cut yellow diamonds can vary from square to rectangular and are a great choice for a yellow diamond.

emerald cut yellow diamond


Emerald cuts employ a step-cut faceting system. This system of long, broad facets maximize the return of white light or brilliance and deeply interfere with the perception of body color in a diamond. For that reason, Emerald cut yellow diamonds are infrequent at best. When a yellow diamond is cut to Emerald shape the diamond will often command a large premium over similar Radiant or Cushion shapes.

asscher cut yellow diamond


The Asscher cut is very similar to the Emerald cut and while it is not the ideal shape for a yellow diamond it can be a stunningly beautiful option. For those that find the repeating pattern of concentric squares created by the Asscher diamond's unique faceting mesmerizing, the Asscher holds it's own in the fancy color diamond shape comparison.

oval cut yellow diamond


The Oval Brilliant cut yellow diamond can be amazing in terms of their color retention/color display coupled with high levels of brilliance and fire but the Oval can also be problematic because of it's oblong and asymmetrical shape.

In many cases the Oval cut will exhibit what we refer to as a 'bow-tie' and while this might sound nice, what it actually describes is a dark/light area in the center of the diamond that is either black or without color, either way an unattractive feature that should be avoided. An Oval must be examined visually to determine the extent of the bow-tie. Extremely well proportioned Ovals can minimize or virtually eliminate the bow-tie.

princess cut yellow diamond


While the Princess cut can make for an attractive shape in colorless diamonds, it is rare to find a good looking Princess cut in a yellow diamond. The faceting pattern of the Princess negates the color of the stone and the result is often a washed out and unattractive yellow diamond. The sharp pointed edges of the Princess are also very delicate and can present problems when mounting in a ring. If you are interested in a square shaped yellow diamond we recommend that you consider a square Radiant cut instead.

pear shape yellow diamond


The Pear-Shape is a distinct variation on the Oval and as such has the potential for very high brilliance and 'life' in the stone while retaining and showing off excellent color saturation.

Like all asymmetrically shaped diamonds, a visual inspection is required to determine the extent of 'bow-tie' present in the diamond.

 round brilliant yellow diamond


The Round Brilliant cut diamond is by far the most brilliant of all the diamond cuts. For over 100 years diamond cutters have been studying the precision optics involved in maximizing the return of light from this shape diamond. The Round Brilliant shape is so brilliant that the body color of the diamond is to a large extent negated and more frequently than not Round Brilliant cut yellow diamonds appear washed out and poorly proportioned in a desperate attempt to find the proper balance between color and brilliance.

There are exceptions, some diamonds have such rich body color that they can successfully be formed to the Round Brilliant shape and appear to hold their body color. These stones are rare indeed and you should expect to pay a very high premium for a good quality Round Brilliant shaped yellow diamond.


When buying a yellow diamond for use in jewelry, the color of the metal used in the setting can be important. With yellow diamonds, you have unique opportunities for either contrast or complementarity when it comes to color. Jewelry comes in various types of metal, including platinum, white gold, yellow gold and rose gold, each with a unique appearance. Keep in mind, these metals have different colors which will influence how the diamond appears when it is set.

yellow diamond halo ring

A lighter-colored metal, such as platinum or white gold, can create a stunning contrast with a yellow diamond, yet it will not enhance the color as much. At Devon's Diamonds & Decor, yellow diamonds are often set in high carat yellow gold cups to make the color of the stone appear more vibrant. Yellow gold cups are able to be designed so they are not visible once set in a complete white piece; whether it be platinum or white gold.

yellow diamond halo ring


Whether you're looking for a yellow diamond ring, yellow diamond engagement ring, yellow diamond earrings, yellow diamond necklace or a yellow diamond bracelet, Devon's Diamonds & Decor has got you covered. We specialize in designing custom jewelry in Boca Raton. Our family of fourth generation jewelers loves helping customers bring their dream jewelry to life. 

Ready to find or start building a beautiful piece of yellow diamond jewelry? Visit our Boca Raton jewelry store or give us a call at (561) 430-6988.

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