What Is a Yellow Diamond? Fancy Yellow Diamond Guide

December 13, 2023

Colorful diamonds are a fun way to add a unique, exciting touch to diamond jewelry and engagement rings. Of the 12 primary diamond colors, fancy yellow diamonds are some of the most sought-after stones. However, you must consider different factors when selecting a yellow diamond (or any colored diamond) to find the perfect one.
In this article, we'll explain what defines a yellow diamond, explore the grading process, delve into the spectrum of yellow hues available, unravel the meanings behind nicknames such as 'canary diamonds,' and identify which shapes best enhance the beauty of yellow diamonds.


What Is a Yellow Diamond?

All natural diamonds are made from carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure under immense pressure and high temperatures deep within the Earth's mantle. Over millions of years, carbon atoms bond in a tetrahedral arrangement, forming the hardest known natural material—diamonds.

Yellow diamonds, also known as fancy yellow diamonds, are made from carbon atoms in much the same way as their colorless counterparts but derive their vibrant hue from trace elements and structural irregularities that occur during their formation. Instead of pure carbon, yellow diamonds contain clusters of nitrogen atoms that absorb blue light, resulting in the yellow coloration.

Among these vibrant gems, the canary yellow diamond stands out for its striking color intensity. These diamonds, referred to simply as 'canary,' boast a rich, deep yellow that is rare and highly sought after. In contrast, white diamonds lack these nitrogen impurities and display a clear and colorless appearance. Natural yellow diamonds vary significantly in intensity, from light pastel shades to the deep, vivid tones of the canary yellow diamond.

The allure of the color of yellow diamonds, especially those known as canary, lies in their rarity and unique aesthetic appeal. Each yellow diamond tells a story of geological processes, and their distinct coloration adds a layer of intrigue and beauty that sets them apart from the more common white diamond. The presence and concentration of nitrogen atoms play a crucial role in determining the specific shade of yellow, making each natural yellow diamond a unique masterpiece of nature's artistry.


How Are Yellow Diamonds Graded?

Understanding the difference between yellowish diamonds and those that earn a true yellow diamond grade is essential. Grading a yellow diamond takes skill and should only be done by professionals from organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI). 

Colorless diamonds are graded on a scale from D to Z, with diamonds rated D considered truly colorless. As the color grade moves down the alphabet, colorless diamonds start to take on a yellowish color. Diamonds that fall within the U to Z range, known as Cape Diamonds, have noticeable amounts of yellow and represent the very beginning of the fancy yellow diamond color scale. Only yellow and brown diamonds start from within the colorless scale.


what is a yellow diamond - graded scale

Fancy yellow diamonds earn a grade based on the hue of their color. Those at the scale's beginning exhibit the mildest yellow tones, while those at the other end have the most intense color. In addition to the yellow hue, fancy yellow diamonds can be pure yellow or contain secondary tones of brown, green, orange, or gray. Although yellow diamonds can be qualified as faint, very light, or light, true yellow diamonds fall into one of six categories on the fancy scale:

Fancy Light Yellow Diamonds:

These diamonds are the lightest on the scale but appear internally yellow. They are the most affordable yellow diamonds and ideal for budget-conscious shoppers. As a specific type of yellow diamond, their hue ranges from a subtle, almost pastel yellow to a more pronounced sunny shade, offering a spectrum within the category of light yellow diamonds. When it comes to yellow diamond jewelry, these stones are highly versatile, making them perfect for a range of designs from classic to contemporary.

Regarding yellow diamond prices, fancy light yellow diamonds represent a cost-effective option for those seeking the allure and uniqueness of colored diamonds without the hefty price tag often associated with more saturated colors. This affordability makes them attractive for various jewelry pieces, including engagement rings, pendants, and earrings.

When selecting a fancy light yellow diamond, it's essential to consider it in order, focusing on factors like cut, clarity, carat weight, and the type of yellow hue. The 4C ensures you find a stone that fits your budget and meets your aesthetic preferences and quality standards. Whether set in white, yellow, or rose gold, these light yellow diamonds offer warmth and sophistication, making them a timeless choice for any jewelry collection.

Explore our exceptional 3.5-carat Fancy Light Yellow Diamond, a true gem of unique allure:

3.5-carat Fancy Light Yellow Diamond


Fancy Yellow Diamonds:

Fancy yellow diamonds, often called "famous yellow diamonds," are renowned for their striking and vivid hues. These diamonds, encompassing varieties such as orangy yellow and brownish yellow, showcase a depth of color unmatched by their lighter counterparts. The orangy yellow diamond, in particular, blends the warmth of orange with the brightness of yellow, creating a unique and desirable coloration. In the realm of colored diamonds, pure yellow diamonds stand out for their clarity and lack of secondary hues, making them highly sought after.

When considering the purchase of these gems, consulting a diamond buying guide is essential. Such guides provide valuable insights into the nuances of color grades, clarity, and the overall quality of yellow diamonds. Diamonds with a high intensity of color, especially those that exhibit pure yellow or unique blends like orangy or brownish yellow, are typically more valuable and rare.

Additionally, jewelry settings widely appreciate fancy yellow diamonds for their versatility. Their rich color complements various designs, making them popular for rings, necklaces, and other fine jewelry pieces. Understanding these aspects can significantly aid buyers in making informed decisions and selecting a diamond that meets their aesthetic preferences and represents a wise investment.

VMK Diamonds presents an extraordinary selection from the diamond world, featuring an incredible 9.12 carat fancy yellow diamond, carefully chosen for its exceptional quality and brilliance.

incredible 9.12 carat fancy yellow diamond

Fancy Dark Yellow Diamonds:

These diamonds are more yellow than their predecessors on the scale. Fancy dark yellow diamonds are rarer and command a higher price per carat. Every diamond in this category has a unique hue and intensity, making them stand out in the world of gemstones. It's important to note that not every diamond falls into this exclusive category. Yellow diamonds are relatively more common, but the intense yellow stones, especially those with a deep, vivid coloration, are a true rarity.

The popularity of yellow diamonds has been on the rise, particularly for those seeking a diamond with a higher level of uniqueness and visual appeal. These diamonds often exhibit a range of colors, from yellow to brown, each adding to their distinctiveness. The unusual coloring of natural, fancy color diamonds sets their allure apart from traditional white diamonds. This rarity and unique beauty make fancy dark yellow diamonds highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Fancy Deep Yellow Diamonds:

Fancy deep yellow diamonds have a full yellow hue and are in high demand. In this range, secondary tones can significantly influence the appearance and price.

At VMK Diamonds, we specialize in sourcing the finest diamonds at exceptionally competitive prices. Take, for instance, our exquisite 1.31 carat Fancy Deep Yellow diamond, a testament to our commitment to quality and value. This gem exemplifies the pinnacle of craftsmanship and brilliance, offering an unmatched combination of size, color and clarity.

1.31-carat Fancy Deep Yellow diamond


Fancy Intense Yellow Diamonds:

Fancy intense yellow diamonds, also known as Canary Diamonds by the GIA, are renowned for their vibrant and captivating hue. These diamonds rank among the most sought-after due to their unique fancy yellow color, which is deeper and more pronounced than other yellow diamonds. We grade yellow diamonds on a scale that evaluates their color intensity, considering both saturation and tone. The 'fancy intense' category, just one step below the highest grade of 'fancy vivid,' signifies a high level of color richness in these diamonds.

The allure of these stones lies in their striking color, reminiscent of the radiant sunshine. This fancy yellow color results from the presence of nitrogen within the diamond's structure, which absorbs blue light and consequently gives the diamond its yellow hue. When evaluating a 1 carat diamond of this variety, the intensity of the color plays a crucial role in its valuation.

Notably, the price per carat of these exquisite stones jumps considerably, ranging from $6,500 to $8,000 or more per carat. This price range is a testament to their rarity and the high demand among diamond enthusiasts and collectors. The relationship between yellow diamonds and canary diamonds is often interesting. Contrary to common belief, not all yellow diamonds qualify as canary diamonds, even though people colloquially refer to all fancy intense yellow diamonds by this prestigious and distinct name.

Explore our exquisite 1.33 carat Fancy Intense Greenish Yellow diamond, a masterpiece of color and brilliance for those seeking the vibrancy of intense yellow hues.

1.33 carat Fancy Intense Greenish Yellow diamond


Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds:

Fancy vivid yellow diamonds, often referred to as Canary Diamonds, are renowned for their striking resemblance to the bright and bold color of the canary bird. Among natural colored diamonds, these gems stand out for their beautiful yellow color, embodying elegance and rarity. When purchasing a diamond of this caliber, it's essential to consider that a vivid yellow diamond will cost significantly more due to its rarity and demand.

The term "fancy canary yellow" is commonly used for yellow diamonds that exhibit a particularly intense and vibrant hue. These diamonds are among the most coveted diamonds in the world, not just for their stunning appearance but also for their investment value. The price of a pure, fancy, vivid yellow diamond can reach sky-high figures, making them a symbol of luxury and exclusivity.

However, it's interesting to note that the inclusion of a secondary hue can not only lower the cost but also lend the stone a unique, eye-catching color. Yellow diamonds are often sought after for this very reason, as the secondary hues can create a spectrum of warm tones that enhance the beauty of the center diamond. Whether used as the center stone in a ring or as accent stones, these diamonds add a touch of brilliance and warmth to any piece of jewelry.

Take advantage of the opportunity to own our exquisite 1.01 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond.

1.01 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond

What Is the Best Shape for a Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring?

Fancy colored diamonds and colorless diamonds reflect light differently, making the stone's shape very important. When experts shape a colorless stone, the goal is to do it so that the light remains in the stone for as short a time as possible – giving it its colorless beauty. That's why round, colorless stones sparkle the most. However, colored diamonds need a different approach.

You'll most often find fancy color diamonds in what are known as fancy shapes. The most popular shapes include oval, marquise, cushion, heart, emerald, pear, and princess. These shapes help light remain in the stone's facets longer, emphasizing the stone's color.

Choose any fancy shape for your fancy yellow diamond, and you won't go wrong! It's a personal decision. Some people love the novelty and enhanced meaning of a heart-shaped yellow diamond. Others prefer an oval or marquise shape because the bigger surface area makes the diamond appear larger than its actual carat weight.

Discover the epitome of romance with VMK Diamonds' exceptional heart cut ring, featuring a double halo design. This unique piece showcases a captivating yellow diamond at its center, symbolizing love in its most elegant form.:
captivating yellow diamond at its center


Once you've selected a diamond in the color and shape you like, you'll need to choose an engagement ring setting. You can highlight the stone's beauty with a solitaire setting or complement it with additional side stones or a diamond halo to add extra flair.

Are you seeking a one-of-a-kind jewel for the most special day of your life? VMK Diamonds offers just what you're searching for. Our exquisite ring, featuring colorless diamonds, masterfully accentuates the centerpiece - a stunning Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond, ensuring a breathtaking symbol of your unique celebration.

Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond


Also, carefully consider the type of metal for the ring. Yellow gold will blend in with a yellow diamond, while white gold or platinum will help the yellow diamond stand out. There are many ways to personalize your engagement ring – just make sure to work with a reputable jewelry designer.

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