Fancy Yellow Diamonds: Pro Guide to Natural Diamond Color

By Michael Fried

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It’s critical that you buy a yellow diamond from a vendor with high-quality photos like James Allen. Color can vary greatly even within a specific GIA color grade. In our experience, Leibish & Co. has the best prices and overall customer experience in the Fancy Color Diamond market. In addition, Leibish & Co’s expertise brings out the maximum color of a diamond when set in a ring.

Yellow diamonds are very popular in halo settings like this stunning set but also go well with elegant solitaire settings like this one from Leibish.

Origin of Yellow Diamond’s Color

The unique color of yellow diamonds comes from the presence of nitrogen in their composition. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light, making the stone a yellow shade. Depending on the amount of nitrogen, a yellow diamond could range from light to dark.

As a part of the Fancy Color Diamond family, yellow diamonds may also have a secondary hue like orange or brown. Pure natural yellow diamonds of an intense shade are sometimes referred to as Canary Diamonds or Canary Yellow Diamonds.

Yellow Diamond Intensity Levels

White diamonds are graded on a color scale of D to Z, with D being a colorless diamond and Z having a distinct yellow or brown tint. If the scale were to continue past Z—all the way to a rich, yellow color—you’d have a Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond. In other words, yellow diamonds are fully saturated with yellow and carry no traces of whiteness whatsoever.

The GIA color grading scale for yellow diamonds is:

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

Assessing the color of yellow diamonds—or any Fancy Color Diamonds—is a difficult task. Most importantly, each Fancy color grade isn’t simply a point along a line. Each grade is a range in itself. For example, it’s possible to find a Fancy Yellow that just barely made it over the border from Fancy Light territory. It’s also possible to find a Fancy Yellow that just missed the cutoff into the Fancy Intense grade.

That’s why we recommend using a vendor like Leibish & Co. because they provide the highest quality of images—making it easier to determine which diamond is more beautiful and more valuable.

Yellow Diamond Rarity and Prices

Fancy yellow diamonds, also known as canary yellow diamonds, are relatively common. Due to their commonality—relative to other Fancy colors—yellow diamonds can be fairly affordable.

Fancy Light Yellow diamonds, as an example, will price similarly to a I Color white diamond. For instance, this 1.01 Carats Fancy Light Yellow, VS2 Clarity Radiant Cut yellow diamond costs $4,150 while this 1.03 Carats, I Color, VS2 Clarity Radiant Cut diamond costs $4,100.

At their strongest color intensity though, Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds can become rather expensive. A Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond with a decent color and eye-clean clarity will cost approximately the same as a D Color Flawless white diamond of the same shape. At this point, it depends on which you and the wearer find more appealing: a unique, richly colored diamond or a white, colorless diamond.

Evaluating the price of a yellow diamond is detailed, as even the smallest brown tint can reduce a yellow’s value, while green or orange tints will increase the value. For this reason, we recommend consulting an expert before moving ahead with a yellow diamond purchase.

Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

Setting a yellow diamond in an engagement ring allows for a unique opportunity to make the stone’s color even more intense. Most often, a yellow gold setting will make the diamond’s color appear deeper, while a white gold setting may make it appear lighter. In order to save on your budget, you may wish to look for a yellow diamond of one intensity grade lower and have it set in yellow gold to maximize the color.

Style 1: Halo setting

A halo setting can boost the size appearance of your yellow diamond engagement ring, especially if there are two layers of surrounding stones.

Halo setting example: Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Diamond Double Halo Ring

Style 2: Pavé setting

Embedded side stones in a pavé setting give the ring additional sparkle. Your side stones can match the color of your center stone or be white diamonds.

Pavé setting example: Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Pavé Side Stones Ring

Style 3: Side stones setting

To accent and highlight your yellow diamond, consider a side stone setting. Your side stones can be round brilliants, triangle-shaped or any design that matches your style.

Side stones setting example: Platinum Fancy Yellow Radiant & Triangle Diamond Ring

Popular Jewelry Settings for Yellow Diamonds

Design jewelry for a gift that will be treasured for years to come. Yellow diamonds make for stunning jewelry—whether that’s a bracelet, necklace or set of earrings.

Yellow diamond necklace inspiration: Fancy light yellow marquise diamond and pave pendant

Yellow diamond earrings inspiration: Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Stud Diamond Earrings

Yellow diamond bracelet inspiration: Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Diamond Halo Bracelet

Want to ensure you’re getting the best value and beauty for your budget? Contact our diamond experts today.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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