What is better than a brilliant shiny diamond? A brilliant shiny diamond with an even cuter nickname. You need to look no further than the yellow canary diamond. Who does not want to look at a ring that resembles the bright sun above a sunny beach and named after a cute fluffy bird? Here is all you need to know about the yellow canary diamond on a ring.
Why are some diamonds white, while some are a golden yellow hue? We have all heard that our diamonds are made out of carbon, but mother nature likes to sprinkle in a little surprise once in a while. Nitrogen, carbon's next-door neighbor on the periodic table, often finds its way into the diamond carbon party. A diamond carbon party is a pretty professional event. Everyone is there to network and suited up to talk business. I mean it does take a lot to make the hardest natural substance on earth. A pure white diamond with only carbon is such a case. Professional, clean, and no nonsense. But nitrogen atoms are those crazy next-door neighbors, who show up uninvited, sneak in, and turn on the disco ball. Suddenly, the little nitrogen in the mix turns this formal business gathering into a light show. Now the diamond is no longer a pale white, but a golden yellow showing off the vibrant party going on inside the diamond.
While all yellow diamonds have the fun-loving nitrogen present at the diamond party, not all yellow diamonds have the same amount of color present. GIA grades the yellow diamonds into many categories like Fancy Light Yellow, Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow, and finally Fancy Vivid Yellow. There are many more categories relating to the depth of color and secondary hues. For the sake of simplicity, let's concentrate on the best of the best: Fancy Vivid Yellow, the modern equivalent of the historic Canary color designation.
Yellow Canary diamonds are said to have the soft golden color of the feather of the canary bird. While this historic term lacked a definitive color range, it clearly denoted the best of the best of yellow diamonds. Thanks to the methodical record-keeping of GIA, we now know that only 6% of all yellow diamonds sent to GIA are graded as Fancy Vivid Yellow.
Research at GIA even indicates that diamonds with such a robust yellow color might even be a class on their own. Recall nitrogen, the party crasher, it seems like that how the nitrogen is grouped in the diamond makes a huge impact on the final color. In diamonds where the nitrogen is clustered in groups, the color is often less saturated. They are referred to as Type Ia or Cape yellow diamonds. On the opposite spectrum, if the nitrogen were all isolated amongst the sea of carbon atoms, the color is much more intense. These diamonds are called Type Ib and resemble the fabled Canary yellow diamonds.
While the name Canary Yellow is still used in some circles, the diamond trade has started to refer to yellow diamonds of extraordinary color intensity as Zimmi yellow. Zimmi, a small town located in Sierra Leone, has produced some of the most vibrant Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds in recent years. The yellow of these diamonds is so intense and memorable that the term Zimmi Yellow has started to replace the term Canary Yellow in the trade. Whatever the name, both Canary and Zimmi are reserved for the yellow diamond with the best color even among Fancy Vivid Yellows.
While I can't predict exactly what your Canary Yellow diamond ring would look like, (I am a gemologist not a psychic) I can tell you what it probably will look like.
The most common shapes for yellow diamonds are radiant, cushion, and maybe some oval. Round brilliant, which is the most common for all diamonds, is the rarest shape to be seen in a yellow diamond. The Round brilliant cut was actually devised to reduce the face-up color of white diamonds and optimize brilliance. So it's not really suitable in a diamond where color is the main star.
The ring design most likely has yellow gold prongs to boost the color. The most common types have some yellow gold components. The whole ring might be made out of gold. This type of ring most likely showcases the center stone by itself. Or the ring can be made with yellow gold prongs and a platinum ring shank. This type of ring most likely has side stones such as tapered baguettes, shields, trapezoids, or triangles diamonds. Halo or a row of smaller round diamonds are sometimes seen but this style of setting is not common with yellow diamonds.
While we don't have any fancy colored diamonds listed on our site yet, you can certainly reach out to our team of gemologists for help sourcing one from our retailers. Until then, you can drool over this gorgeous yellow diamond ring with me!