When most people dream of diamonds, they picture a nearly colorless stone full of sparkle and shine. When experienced jewelry buyers, ring specialists and celebrities dream of diamonds, they picture unique and rare colored stones, most specifically yellow diamonds. Yellow diamonds are having their big moment in, not only the jewelry industry, but all around the world.
It’s not unlikely to see yellow diamonds splashed across the pages of fashion magazines, worn proudly by A-listers on the red carpet or sitting front and center (stone) on breathtaking engagement rings. (We’re looking at you Kelly Clarkson!) But what exactly is a yellow diamond and what makes them so special? King of Jewelry has all the answers and will even help you find the perfect yellow diamond when you’re ready to pop the question.
A yellow diamond, also known as a canary diamond, is the most popular colored diamond in the world. The yellow hue comes from the presence of nitrogen in their composition. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light, making the stone a yellow shade. This yellow shade can range from bright yellow to a brownish yellow, sometimes even with a brown or green hue.
The Gemological Institution of America, the leading authority of diamonds in the world, has made a scale to rate a diamond based on its yellow shade, or lack thereof. The scale has 6 grades – Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid. The term “fancy” is used when the diamond has more color than the Z masterstone. If you’re not familiar with other GIA grading scales, a white diamond is graded from D-Z or colorless to light yellow. Once it moves past Z, the yellow diamond enters a new grading scale using the term “fancy”. The price of the stone greatly differs from one grade to the next, similar to how other GIA scales work. The brighter the yellow, the more expensive the diamond. (To learn more about basis diamond education, read our blog about the four c's of diamonds.)
Yellow diamonds typically have similar pricing to white diamonds considering how common they are compared to other colored stones. (It is important to note that although yellow diamonds are abundant and popular, they only make up a very small percentage of overall diamond production.) At King of Jewelry, for example, a 2.10 Ct. Halo Canary Cushion Cut Diamond Ring Fancy Yellow,SI1 GIA Certified is $6495 and 1.90 Ct. Halo Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring G VS1 GIA Certified is also $6495.
If you decide to go with a yellow diamond with more intensity (Fancy Deep, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid) the cost of the diamond will be much higher, considering it is more rare. The cost of these diamonds will be similar to the price of a D color or flawless diamond. With price not being a deciding factor, it is really up to the buyer whether they prefer a yellow or white (colorless) diamond.
Most Common Shape & Setting
Cushion and radiant cut tend to be the most popular settings for yellow diamonds at King of Jewelry. A radiant cut will maximize the saturation of the stone while maintaining the highest level of brilliance and fire of the stone. A cushion cut yields similar results to the radiant cut because the only major difference between the two is the edges of the shape, with cushion cut being more rounded.
Another common setting for yellow diamonds, especially at King of Jewelry, is a halo setting with a white gold band. White gold tends to be more popular for settings with yellow stones simply because yellow gold can be too much yellow. A white gold band lets its yellow diamond shine front and center!
If radiant or cushion cut are not your style, no worries! Browse King of Jewelry's collection to see more settings such as pear shape, emerald cut, heart shape, trillion cut, oval cut, round cut, asscher cut, etc.
Famous Yellow Diamonds
One of the first yellow diamonds ever discovered was unearthed in the Kimberly mine in South Africa during the late 1800s. The massive stone, famously named “The Tiffany Yellow Diamond”, weighed in at a whopping 287.42 carats. The stone was purchased by famous NYC jeweler Charles Tiffany and was cut by then 23-year-old gemologist, George Federick Kunz. Funz brought down the weight of the diamond to its current weight, 128.54 carats (25.108 grams). The discovery of such a beautiful, yellow stone set the tone for yellow diamonds in the industry.
The “Sun of Africa Yellow Diamond”, dubbed the most mysterious gem in the world, made waves in 2007 when it was discovered in the Kimberly mines in South Africa. It was later transported to the Netherlands where it was cut and polished into a 127-carat diamond. Not much else about this diamond or its history is public knowledge beside the fact the GIA has it listed as a fancy vivid yellow diamond with excellent polish and no fluorescence.
Another rather mysterious famous yellow diamond is the “Florentine Diamond.” The exact origin of this 137.27-carat double rose cut diamond with 9 sides and 126 facets, remains unknown. It is said to have been owned by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who lost it during a battle in 1476. As the story goes, the famous gem was then found by a foot soldier and sold for a single coin.
Documented history shows the diamond was brought into Switzerland after the fall of Austria during World War II and later stolen and taken into South America with other gems of the Crown Jewels. It is rumored that the diamond eventually made its way to the United States where its exact whereabouts remain unknown.
Yellow Diamonds in Hollywood
It’s no surprise that celebrities all across Hollywood have a liking for rare and expensive diamonds. Remember when we mentioned Kelly Clarkson earlier? Well the American Idol winner and longtime artist was proposed to by Brandon Blackstock in 2012 with a gorgeous 5-carat yellow diamond engagement ring designed by Johnathon Arndt. The stunning design, complete with a french-set white diamond halo, had yellow diamond lovers around the world in awe.
There must be something in the water in Tennessee because country music artist Carrie Underwood is another leading lady rocking a yellow diamond engagement ring. Hockey player, Mike Fischer, proposed with a 5-carat round cut yellow diamond in December 2009 and the famous couple married the next year.
Yellow diamonds definitely deserve all the credit they get. Not only are they breathtaking but they’re meaningful. The color yellow universally represents happiness, positivity, clarity, optimism, honor, loyalty and joy. Aren’t those all qualities that people look for in a life partner and relationship? What better way to start this exciting chapter than with a yellow diamond full of meaning, earthly history and sparkle. Can’t forget the sparkle!
King of Jewelry’s mission is to hand craft your dream into a reality. Whether that be with a yellow diamond, white diamond, pink diamond - whatever it is, we can do it. We look forward to taking this journey with you.