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What is a Yellow Diamond? Everything You Need to Know

by Sophia Huxley
Last updated on August 21, 2023

Colorful diamonds are a fun, exciting way to make diamond jewelry or an engagement ring more personal! The allure of a yellow diamond in comparison to white is often tempting. However, their complex nature scares many away. It is hard to know where to start when buying a fancy yellow diamond. To help you out, we’ve compiled some information to help you start looking.

First of all, there are a lot of factors when grading a yellow diamond. To grade yellow diamonds properly, even gemologists have to be highly trained. International Gemological Institute (IGI) grades all of Clean Origin’s fancy-colored stones. These diamonds fall outside of the usual D-to-Z range. They require special grading to account for the vibrancy of color as a positive factor.

Color Matters for Yellow Diamonds

Whereas light yellow diamonds are not as desirable for some, deep yellow or bright white diamonds are fan favorites. Because of this, they cannot be graded against each other on the same scale. Remember that these diamonds, due to their vibrant color, are best shown off in non-round cuts.

You will have a hard time finding a round-cut yellow diamond. This is because they show a more gorgeous face-up color in other cuts, such as pear, marquise, and heart shapes. Be aware that these diamonds can look darker when set. Try to compare your raw diamond in a setting to make sure it is a perfect fit!  

Fancy-colored diamonds, depending on shade and size, were quite rare before lab grown diamonds became available. They are often lauded for their distinctive beauty and are wonderfully unique choices for jewelry.

Lab Grown Yellow Diamonds

Interestingly, some of the gorgeous colorful diamonds available start out yellow and are irradiated to change their color. Alternatively, some colored diamonds are naturally occurring or made perfectly in a lab.

Lab grown yellow diamonds are created through high levels of nitrogen in the jewel. They are often preferred for their natural warmth. Yellow diamonds can come with orange, brown, or even green tints in them, adding to their eye-catching qualities. They are considered natural fancy colored diamonds. True yellow diamonds are quite rare. However, some diamonds turn yellow with age or are enhanced by man to get a vibrant hue. 

Types of Yellow Diamonds

Canary diamonds that fall into the lower end of the D-to-Z color grading are referred to as cape diamonds. These are the more affordable yellow diamonds on the market. True yellow diamonds, which are darker than the usual D-to-Z range, are graded as fancy. Furthermore, they tend to get more expensive the more vivid they are.

Fancy Yellow Diamonds Fall Into One of These Six Categories:

  • Light Yellow Diamond
  • Yellow Diamond
  • Dark Yellow Diamond
  • Deep Yellow Diamond
  • Intense Yellow Diamond
  • Vivid Yellow Diamond, also known as a canary diamond

These categories range from fancy light yellow diamond to fancy vivid yellow diamonds. This range reflects the intensity of the yellow within the stone in a positive way. The more vivid and intense level diamonds are more valued.

A large carat fancy yellow diamond can be quite expensive, as well as rare. With that, it makes for a stunning color in an engagement ring or other jewelry. Below is a description of each of the above categories.

1. Fancy Light Yellow Diamond

A fancy light yellow diamond will be the least intense yellow color of the various yellow diamonds. These diamonds will not look like tinted colorless diamonds, they will still appear intentionally yellow. They are a great engagement ring option and the most affordable option of the yellow diamond scale.

2. Fancy Yellow Diamond

A fancy yellow diamond is a step darker than a fancy light yellow diamond. Nevertheless, it is definitely still on the lighter end of the color scale. A more vivid color diamond has a higher value per carat when compared to a fancy light yellow diamond.

3. Fancy Dark Yellow Diamond

Per carat, a fancy yellow diamond will really vary in cost. Nonetheless, once we get to fancy dark yellow on the color scale, we move into higher price smaller carat options. Finding a naturally grown fancy dark yellow diamond or any of the more vivid yellow diamonds is fairly rare.

The dark yellow diamond was reserved for those who could afford to outbid others for them when first discovered. Now with lab grown options, pricing is a lot fairer, but still definitely higher than some other options. Generally, per carat, fancy colored diamonds are still more expensive and harder to get a hold of.

4. Fancy Deep Yellow Diamond

Fancy colored diamonds in the yellow diamond category are a full yellow tone. There are some undertone possibilities such as brownish-yellow, orange, and greenish. Fancy colored diamonds of all hues can have tones to them. The GIA includes such factors in its color scale grading.

5. Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond

The second deepest color rating, a fancy intense yellow diamond of a significant carat weight can cost quite a lot. In fact, a GIA study showed them ranging from $6,500 per carat to $8,000 per carat. Remember mined prices do not equate to lab grown. Expect inflated prices when comparing mined to lab grown categories of fancy color diamonds.

Rings with a mined fancy intense yellow diamond are a fairly expensive investment. They look and atomically are, the same as lab grown options. If you want a brilliant yellow, start your search with fancy intense yellow diamonds.

6. Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond

Also known as a canary diamond, a fancy vivid yellow diamond is the most intense yellow diamond on the market. In terms of fancy color diamonds in general, these are rare, expensive gems that feature unique colorings. Some have greenish, brown, orange, or brownish-yellow tints which will decrease the price as pure yellow diamonds hold more value.

In order to mitigate costs, it is important to consider the preferred tones in your diamond. Also, consider your general max cost so you can pick which color rating you want to shop within. With Clean Origin jewelry, you can shop a wider array of these fancy color diamond categories by choosing lab grown.

Are Yellow Diamonds Rare or Expensive?

Yes and no! A yellow diamond with vivid, intense coloring can be incredibly rare and expensive! Meanwhile, a lighter yellow diamond will tend to be cheaper. Depending on the shade, it can even pass for white to the average eye.

Fancy color diamonds, in general, vary in price. This usually depends on their fancy color rating as well as their clarity, shape, and other factors. The GIA rates each yellow diamond, noting whether it is relatively colorless, it has brownish undertones, or features orange options.

Determining the Value of a Yellow Diamond

The undertone of fancy-colored diamonds can be a very important part of determining their value. True yellow diamonds sometimes have a higher value than some with light yellow undertones. However, regardless of general value, some people prefer orange or brownish undertones in their yellow rings. Brown hues can add depth to the color of the yellow diamond, which is the opposite of what we typically see for white diamonds. For those stones, yellow and brown diamonds tend to be less valuable.

Fancy Vivid-graded yellow diamonds, also known as canary diamonds, tend to be the most expensive of the yellow diamond grades. Depending on the size, intensity of coloring, and the grade of diamond, yellow diamonds can be an expensive rarity. Conversely, they could also be a cost-effective gift.

Personal preference reigns when it comes to the discernable value of these diamonds. The average person will struggle to grade them. So, they are a fun personalization option more so than a ring budget announcement.

Yellow Lab Created Diamonds

Making lab grown diamonds goes through a fascinating process. One of the parts is deciding on a fancy color or not. The lab introduces nitrogen during the growth process when creating a yellow diamond. Nitrogen gives these diamonds their yellow hue. More nitrogen introduced causes vibrant color!

Trace elements and chemicals help create fancy-colored diamonds naturally. Consequently, the lab growth process allows us to leverage those elements to create purposefully brilliant stones. There is no more guessing what hue a diamond will have. It has become an exact science to create high-value lab grown stones.

As lab growing gets more and more popular, these gorgeous diamonds become more accessible for everyday wear. Furthermore, they become an even more exciting personal touch to people’s engagement rings.

Lab Grown vs. Mined Yellow Diamonds

Mined vivid and intense yellow diamonds are rare. Furthermore, highly valued as a result. Before lab growing, people had to wait for someone to unearth their future diamond. It takes a long time to wait for a yellow diamond to come out of the ground. Combined with mining costs, and controlled trade of these stones, their prices skyrocketed.

The rarity of yellow diamonds makes them highly sought after, which feeds into unsustainable, conflict-riddled diamond practices. Luckily, we make lab grown yellow diamonds at any color grade in a clean and ethical manner!

It is not common to want D-to-Z-graded yellow diamonds. So, lab grown yellow diamonds are often intense, expensive stones made sustainably and on-demand for clients. No one wants to waste time waiting for a mined canary diamond. With that, many prefer to go the lab grown route. We have the ability to design your diamond with less wait time at a lower price. It is a wonder people still buy mined fancy colored diamonds at all!

Lab grown diamonds are identical to mined diamonds. They are so similar to the point that they are impossible for gem specialists to tell the difference. Interestingly, higher-graded lab grown diamonds are often priced a lot lower because of the accessibility of the technology. This usually leads people to believe that lab grown diamonds are often much better quality.

Save Money With Lab Grown

This means that lab grown diamonds can be more brilliant and vivid stones overall without breaking the bank. A high-quality stone can be unique for individual wedding bands, earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry pieces. It decreases stone waste and increases satisfaction with the final product.

What Cut Should a Yellow Diamond Be?

Yellow fancy color diamonds reflect differently than colorless or white diamonds. Because of this, the cut and shape choices are very important!

The general favorite cut of a white diamond or colorless diamond is round. However, you will rarely find a fancy yellow color diamond in that cut. Fancy cuts go well with fancy-colored diamonds. So, you will see fancy yellow diamonds with cushion cuts, oval cuts, emerald cuts, and even heart cuts.

When looking at fancy yellow diamonds, consider a fancy cut to get the most sparkle out of the stone. Oval-cut yellow diamonds are a modern fan favorite, and fancy yellow cushion-cut diamonds were very popular in vintage jewelry. A fancy yellow diamond ring will look its best under candlelight or natural light and in a fancy cut. Fancy color diamonds, in general, require nontraditional cuts to make them shine. It’s difficult to find many round-cut canary diamonds for that reason.

Clean Origin’s Selection of Color Diamonds

Clean Origin provides a variety of fancy colored diamonds, ranging from pink to yellow to blue. We run the gamut from fancy vivid graded options to fancy light. That way, there is a stone to match every color scheme and personal style. There are also tonal options on our site. So those looking for more orange, brown, or green in their stone can find it easily.

We know the eye-catching nature of a fancy-colored diamond. So, we try to provide many high-quality options. Our quality gems speak for themselves, with competitive gradings, professional cuts, and brilliant colors.

By sourcing 100% lab grown diamonds, Clean Origin is able to provide better quality, rare diamonds at a lower price. We remain committed to sustainable, equitable diamond practices. We prefer our jewelry to sit apart from the murky ethics of the natural diamond supply chain. No longer do you have to wait to find a canary diamond. Instead, we can make one just for you.