Sunshine. Lemonade. Gold. The warm hue of yellow diamonds shines like a summer day. These sparkling sunny gems are rare and undeniably beautiful. Choosing a fancy yellow diamond engagement ring is a sure way to stand out from the crowd.
Fancy colored diamonds are the rarest of the rare. Only 1 in every 10,000 diamonds is a fancy color. That’s why these rare colorful diamonds are the world’s most valuable gem, breaking records at auction.
But not all fancy colors are out of reach: fancy yellow diamonds are the most available and affordable of the fancy colors. You can choose a fancy yellow diamond for a price that’s similar to a colorless diamond, even though it’s more rare. That’s why fancy yellow diamond engagement rings are becoming popular with diamond connoisseurs.
Judging the Quality of Yellow Diamonds
The most important quality factor for yellow diamonds is the color. Colorless diamonds are graded by the absence of color from D, which is completely colorless, all the way to Z, which has a noticeable tint. Yellow diamonds begin beyond Z.
Fancy yellow diamonds have more nitrogen in their composition than colorless diamonds. The nitrogen absorbs blue light, making the stone appear yellow.
Pure natural yellow diamonds of an intense shade are sometimes referred to as Canary Diamonds or Canary Yellow Diamonds although GIA does not use this term on its grading reports.
The GIA color grading scale for yellow diamonds calls diamonds that are more yellow than a Z diamond Fancy Light Yellow Diamonds. More saturated yellow is called Fancy Yellow, even more saturated yellow is called Fancy Intense Yellow and the most saturated is called Fancy Vivid. A yellow that is deeper in tone will be described as Fancy Deep Yellow Diamond.
Yellow diamonds can also have a secondary hue, most commonly green yellow, orange yellow, or brown yellow. The last color mentioned on a GIA report is the dominant color. So an orangy yellow diamond is primarily yellow with a secondary tone of orange. Small differences in color can result in large price differences. Yellow diamonds with orange and green secondary colors are worth more than yellow diamonds with no secondary colors. Yellow diamonds with brown and gray secondary colors are worthless.
That’s why it’s so important to have a Colored Diamond Grading Report from GIA. GIA has graded virtually every significant fancy colored diamond on the market: only GIA’s description of a fancy diamond’s color is trusted by the market when it comes to pricing fancy colored diamonds.
Having a report from GIA also confirms that a yellow diamond’s color is natural, that the diamond hasn’t been treated and that that the diamond is not laboratory grown. Many yellow diamonds have a relatively high clarity. That means it should be possible to find an eye clean yellow diamond with a color you like.
Unlike colorless diamonds, which are most often cut into round brilliant cuts, yellow diamonds are most often found in fancy shapes like oval cuts, cushion cuts, radiant cuts, pear shapes, and emerald cuts. That’s because the round brilliant cut tends to dilute the color of yellow diamonds.
Fluorescence can reduce the value of yellow diamonds. Strong fluorescence can reduce the price as much as 25%. These diamonds can represent a value if your only concern is a beautiful engagement ring and not an investment.
And here’s the surprising thing: fancy light yellow diamonds are priced similarly to an H-I color grade colorless diamond. A fancy yellow diamond is similar to an F color grade colorless diamond. You can have something rare and unusual for about the same as a standard colorless diamond engagement ring.
Fancy Intense yellow diamond engagement rings command a premium over colorless diamonds, perhaps as much as 50 percent. Fancy vivid yellow diamond engagement rings are even rarer and are much more valuable.
Yellow Diamond Quality Checklist
Color Grade: Fancy Yellow to Fancy Intense Yellow
Clarity Grade: VS2
Symmetry: Very Good to Excellent
Polish: Very Good to Excellent
Fluorescence: None to Faint
Best Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring Styles
The style of your engagement ring setting can make your yellow diamond look more or less yellow. Even if your diamond is fancy light yellow, you can make the color look more saturated by doing two things. First, surround the diamond with yellow gold prongs or a yellow gold bezel. The entire basket that holds the diamond should be yellow gold if possible. Then accent the ring with bright white diamonds in while gold or platinum. The reflection from the yellow gold, combined with the contrast with the white diamond in platinum or white gold, makes a paler yellow diamond look more intense.
The contrast effect means that halo yellow diamond halo engagement rings are a popular choice. Three-stone engagement rings with a yellow diamond center stone and white diamond side stones are another way to add contrast and make the color of your yellow diamond look richer. Once you've decided on an engagement ring setting, make sure to browse our gorgeous collection of yellow diamonds.