Fancy Diamonds

Rare Carat Guide to Yellow Diamonds | Rare Carat

What is a Yellow Diamond?

When the word “diamond” is brought up, most people imagine a colorless sparkly stone, but while that image is customary, it doesn’t define all diamonds. Diamonds come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Normally, we would find ourselves discussing the D to Z color scale when we talk about diamond color. Did you know diamonds come in every color of the rainbow? Today we will be talking about Fancy Yellow colored diamonds.

Diamonds that are not fancy colored are on the D to Z color ( grading scale. A diamond that earns the color grade of D is classified as “colorless,” while a Z colored stone will have a visible hue. Although, it doesn’t stop there.

Some stones go beyond Z and earn the title of “fancy colored”. So a Z color diamond can be yellow, but the stone must have a hue and intensity beyond Z to be considered fancy. In the past, M - Z diamonds were seen as an undesirable color, but with the help of marketing and creative minds, these “canary” or “lemonade” diamonds have become very popular!

What makes a diamond yellow?

The presence of nitrogen creates a yellow color. The amount of nitrogen directly correlates to the strength of yellow. Stones with high amounts of nitrogen are intensely colored, while stones with little nitrogen have only a tint. The more nitrogen, the stronger the pigment.

Yellow cushion cut diamond with white trapezoid side stones

There are also lab grown diamonds that can be fancy colored. Like we talked about previously, the presence of nitrogen will influence a yellow hue! Be on the lookout for terms such as lab-created, lab-grown, and synthetic, that reveal the stone isn’t natural but is in fact, man-made.

Color Evaluation Explained

Fancy colored diamonds have their own system of color evaluation. Instead of just a single letter, they are also graded by the strength and purity of their hue as well as the distribution of color through the stone. They can be Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense or Fancy Vivid.

Cut and Shape

Another thing to keep in mind while browsing for yellow diamonds are the cut and shape. Since round stones hide color really well, you will often see yellow or any fancy color diamond as a radiant, cushion and other fancy shapes to show off the color.

To create the most intense amount of color, the cutter will look at where the color is located and cut it accordingly. So you will often see less than perfect cuts on fancy colors so that it shows off the most color! Who knew? This will also affect the color distribution.

Therefore, the report will usually indicate 1. Origin of Color (ex: Natural), followed by the 2. Strength of Color (ex: Fancy Intense), followed by the actual 3. Color (ex: Yellow), followed by the 4. Distribution (ex: Even.) Whew! No wonder these babies cost more.

fancy color explained on GIA report .png

About 60% of colored diamonds are yellow. So although they are the most common fancy colored diamond, they are still very rare. Only about 1 of 16,000 carats in diamonds that are mined are destined to be a fancy yellow rockstar in a ring!

I feel this leaves me no choice, but to conclude that yellow diamonds are a beautiful and colorful addition to anyone’s jewelry collection. Don't forget about these sunshine-colored gems the next time you’re in the market for a diamond. If you don’t see them on the Rare Carat website, just click the bubble to chat with a gemologist, be ready with an image, and they will help you source what you want!

Elizabeth Callnan
Elizabeth Callnan
Elizabeth grew up toddling around in her Grandfather's rock shop which shaped her love and passion for gemstones. Started by her Great Grandfather, she has definitely followed in her family's footsteps. She has recently completed her Graduate Gemologist courses at the GIA and is now working on studying pearls. When she's not adoring the dazzle of gemstones (or writing about them) she's enjoying the captivating beauty of her home state, Hawaii!