Yellow diamonds are one of the most prized and rare gems in the world of diamonds. From their formation to grading, discover what makes these stunning stones so unique and valuable.
What are yellow diamonds?
Yellow diamonds are one of the most fascinating and sought-after gemstones in the world of diamonds. They are a type of fancy-coloured diamond and are treasured for their exceptional beauty. Unlike traditional colourless diamonds, yellow diamonds contain traces of nitrogen in their crystal structure, which gives them their distinct yellow colour.
Yellow diamonds are mined all over the world, including Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Russia, and are not specific to any one region.
Coloured diamonds are incredibly rare when compared to the majority of diamonds in the world. However, amongst all coloured diamonds, yellow tones are the second most common (the first being brown/champagne undertones).
The intensity of a yellow diamond's colour can range from a pale, almost colourless yellow to a rich, deep yellow. The more intense the colour, the more valuable the diamond.
Are yellow diamonds low colour-grade white diamonds?
Yellow diamonds should not simply be confused with low colour-grade white diamonds. Most white diamonds are graded for their colour on the scale of D - Z, with D being colourless diamonds, down to Z for the deepest colour tint that is visually present to the eye (usually yellow or brown).
Some very light or faint yellow diamonds exist on this scale, which are considered ‘Cape’ diamonds - originating from Cape Province in South Africa where they were most famously mined. These are not considered Fancy Coloured Diamonds, but can present excellent value for those seeking very light or faint yellow tones in their stone, as they will often be less expensive than Fancy Yellow Diamonds with the same carat or clarity.
However, white diamonds with a lower colour grade can also appear dull or undesirable in their hue. Seeking faint or very light yellow diamonds of this nature requires careful consideration of the diamonds gradings, sparkle and quality characteristics.
How are Fancy Yellow Diamonds graded?
Yellow diamonds, like all diamonds, are graded using the 4C’s – cut, clarity, colour, and carat weight.
Fancy Coloured yellow diamonds exist beyond the universal GIA colour grading scale of D-Z, where their tint becomes deep or intense enough that it becomes highly desirable.
GIA uses a grading scale for Fancy Yellow Diamonds that ranges from Fancy Light Yellow to Fancy Vivid Yellow. The colour grade of a fancy yellow diamond is based on three main aspects; hue, saturation and tone.
What is the preferred Yellow Diamond Colour?
The preference for unique Yellow Diamond colour will depend on your own personal preference, but may also be guided by market trends.
Consider each of the elements of the diamonds colour to consider what stands out to you.
Hue is the visible colour tone of the diamond. Naturally, the main colour hue of yellow diamonds is yellow. However, most fancy yellow diamonds also have secondary coloured undertones which affect the value. These are usually green, brown or orange, and each of these is considered more or less rare and desirable based on the way they contribute to the colour of the diamond.
For example, canary yellow diamonds have no secondary hue, and are incredibly rare and valuable. Yellow diamonds with orange undertones are generally more expensive than those with green undertones.
Saturation is the intensity of the colour within the diamond. The deeper and more intense the colour within a Fancy Yellow Diamond, the more rare and therefore more expensive.
Tone refers to the depth of the colour with the diamond - how light or dark the stone is. This is, in essence, a matter of personal preference - the depth of colour that stands out to you is completely unique! However in general, the most sought after diamonds are those that sit in the mid-range of tone.
Which Yellow Diamond shape displays a more intense colour?
The shape and cutting style of a yellow diamond can also play a significant role in its colour intensity. A well-cut yellow diamond will showcase its colour more intensely, while a poorly cut diamond can appear washed out and lacklustre.
The most popular cutting styles for yellow diamonds are brilliant cuts, as the faceting enhances the diamond's colour and maximises its brilliance. These include cushion shapes, radiants and ovals.
How are Yellow Diamonds valued?
The value of yellow diamonds, just like white diamonds, varies greatly and is based on clarity, carat, colour and cut. Yellow diamonds are valued based on the same factors as white diamonds – the 4Cs. However, since yellow diamonds, especially fancy vivid hues, are rarer and more difficult to find than white diamonds, they can often command higher prices.
The value of a yellow diamond can also be influenced by the intensity and saturation of its colour. If you’re interested in sourcing a yellow diamond for your special piece please get in touch with our expert consultants here.