You might think diamonds are colorless. But no, diamonds can occur in various colors like blue, yellow, and even orange. Interstitial impurities or structural defects cause coloration in diamonds.
For instance, sometimes nitrogen atoms are dispersed all over the crystal during the formation of the diamond. This gives the appearance of intense yellow or yellow with a brown tint in a diamond.
Intense yellow diamonds are also known as canary diamonds. They are rarely found in nature, and they represent only 10 percent of known natural diamonds. However, such diamonds can be grown in a lab.
Canary diamonds are known for their beautiful shine and color. Recently, Lady Gaga wore a canary diamond necklace at the 2019 Academy awards.
Of course, not all yellow diamonds are canary diamonds. Only pure, intense yellow diamonds with no secondary hues are canary diamonds. Canary diamonds are rare and more expensive than plain yellow-colored diamonds. They are also in huge demand for engagement rings.
Let us talk more in-depth about fancy yellow canary diamonds.
What Are Fancy Yellow Colored Diamonds?
The Gemological Institute of America grades the color of white diamonds on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light color). The diamonds graded from D to Z are called white, even if they have various degrees of color. Generally, the presence of yellow tints in a white diamond will reduce the cost of the diamond.
On the other hand, fancy colored diamonds like yellow, blue, and pink are graded on a different color scale.
How Are Yellow Diamonds Formed?
Diamonds are formed in nature when carbon deposits deep into the earth’s surface are treated with high temperatures and pressure. These carbon molecules try to bond with other molecules such as nitrogen during this process.
Such molecules get trapped in the diamond and impact the final appearance of the stone. Nitrogen molecules are what gives the yellow color tint to a diamond.
Fancy yellow diamonds have more nitrogen in their structure than colorless white diamonds with a yellow tint. The nitrogen in the crystal structure absorbs blue light from visible light, which is why the stone appears yellow.
There are various fancy colored diamonds available, out of which yellow is the most common. Yellow diamonds cost slightly less compared to other colored diamonds. However, the cost also depends on the intensity of the yellow color. For instance, if a diamond has more nitrogen atoms, it will have a strong yellow color, which will make it more expensive.
What Are Canary Diamonds?
Fancy yellow diamonds can have shades of numerous colors like orange or green. But the most valuable diamonds are those that have a pure, intense yellow color in them. These are known as canary diamonds because their shade is similar to that of canary birds.
These diamonds are rare and more expensive compared to other yellow-colored diamonds. For instance, if you purchase a 0.72-carat canary diamond with a pear shape and VS1 clarity, it may cost as much as $9,675.
Colorless white diamonds are often cut into a brilliant round cut. In fact, a brilliant round cut will actually reduce the intensity of the yellow color on your finger. Canary diamonds and other yellow diamonds usually have fancy cuts like cushion cuts and pear cuts.
Color Grading in Yellow Diamonds
The Gemological Institute of America assigns color grades for yellow diamonds. I am listing them below.
- Fancy Light (light yellow color)
- Fancy Yellow (bright yellow color)
- Fancy Intense (bright yellow color)
- Fancy Vivid (vibrant yellow color)
- Fancy Deep (dark yellow with brownish tints)
On this scale, Canary diamonds are Fancy Vivid or Fancy Intense yellow diamonds, which are beautiful and extremely valuable.
Almost 67 percent of yellow diamonds produced in the world are either Fancy Light or Light Yellow diamonds, whereas only 24 percent are Fancy Intense, and 6 percent comprise a Fancy Vivid color.
Price of Yellow Diamonds
The price of a colorless diamond is based on four Cs: clarity, carat weight, cut quality, and color. The price of the diamond goes up if you choose higher grades.
But in yellow diamonds, you have to pay special attention to the color. Prices go up as the intensity of the yellow color increases. A small, pure, yellow color diamond will cost you more than a large, light-yellow-colored diamond.
Yellow diamonds are often found with high clarity grades. A 1-carat weight yellow diamond starts at $3,000 and can go up to $15,000. The fancy light yellow diamonds are cheaper than colorless diamonds of similar characteristics.
Fancy Deep yellow diamonds with brown tints are less valuable than Fancy Vivid or Intense yellow diamonds. Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds or canary diamonds can cost $12,000 to $18,000 for 1 carat, which is quite costly compared to white or colorless diamonds.
The table below shows color intensity and the estimated price per carat.
|Intensity Of Color||1 carat|
|Fancy Light Yellow||$3,000 to $4,000|
|Fancy Yellow||$4,000 to $5,000|
|Fancy Intense Yellow||$6,500 to $8,000|
|Fancy Vivid Yellow||$12,000 to $18,000|
|Fancy Deep Yellow||$5,000 to $15,000|
|White Diamonds||$5,000 to $6,000|
Check the price of the yellow diamond online before purchasing. Many online retailers provide fancy yellow canary diamonds at a 40 percent cheaper rate than brick-and-mortar jewelry stores.
Related article: James Allen Yellow Diamonds
Cut of Yellow Diamonds
In colorless diamonds, the rough stone is cut to reflect the maximum light possible. The proportion and the symmetry of the diamond are given more importance. For example, round-cut diamonds are the most brilliant compared to other diamond cuts.
However, proportion, symmetry, and diamond-cut are not important in fancy colored diamonds like a yellow diamond. The yellow diamonds are not given a particular grade by cut by the Gemological Institute of America. These diamonds produce less intense color when cut in a round shape. That’s why only 6-7 percent of yellow diamonds are cut in a round shape.
They produce high-intensity color when cut in shapes other than rounds, such as pear, cushion, and heart cuts.
Clarity of Yellow Diamonds
Clarity means inclusions or impurities. In colorless diamonds, you need to pay special attention to clarity. Higher impurities can obstruct a white diamond’s shine, brilliance, and sparkle.
But in yellow diamonds, you don’t have to give much importance to the clarity because the intensity of the yellow color typically hides flaws or impurities.
A Fancy Vivid yellow diamond with less clarity grade will cost you more than the Fancy Light yellow diamond of the same carat but with a higher clarity grade.
Fluorescence in Yellow Diamonds
Cut quality, color, clarity, and carat weight determine the overall value of the diamond. But there are other characteristics like fluorescence that play a vital role in defining the value of a diamond.
During the formation of diamond, boron, aluminum, and other elements are also absorbed by carbon atoms. These absorbed elements give a unique glow to the diamonds that you cannot see through the naked eye.
Fluorescence is the glow that an object emits in the absence of visible light. Fancy-colored diamonds can have a fluorescence of different shades like blue, orange, green, pink, and others, depending on the stone composition. Colorless diamonds have a fluorescence of either yellow or blue tints.
Yellow diamonds can have a fluorescence of either a brownish tint or may appear milky. You can ask the jeweler about fluorescence and its impact on the yellow diamond you’re considering.
Lab-Grown Yellow Diamonds
Canary diamonds and other yellow diamonds are rarely found in nature and can be rather expensive for many people.
Lab-grown diamonds are the alternative option for those looking for a more affordable option. It can cost you 50 percent less than the original yellow diamonds. For instance, a 1-carat oval yellow diamond grown in the lab can cost you $1,770, but a natural mined oval shape yellow diamond of 1 carat can cost you $12,370.
Diamonds grown in the lab have the same atomic structure arrangement as natural diamonds. You cannot distinguish between an original yellow diamond and a lab-grown diamond with a naked eye. Moreover, lab diamonds are environmentally friendly.
What Should I Look For When Purchasing a Yellow Diamond?
1. Buy Less Than One Carat Weight
The price of a yellow diamond rises substantially with increasing carat weight. To save money, you can purchase a yellow diamond of either 1-carat or less than 1-carat.
2. Give Importance to Dimensions
If you purchase a larger carat weight yellow diamond, then that does not mean it will look bigger on your finger. A flat diamond may have a large face-up area compared to the deeper diamond of the same carat. So, you should give importance to dimensions, especially their height and width.
3. You Should Not Worry About Clarity
As I have mentioned above, you should not give importance to clarity while purchasing a yellow diamond. The color should hide any visible inclusions and impurities.
4. Ignore Cut Quality
You can ignore the quality of the cut when purchasing yellow diamonds, and instead just focus on finding the type of cut you like the most.
5. You Can Choose a Lab Grown Diamond
Lab diamonds have identical physical properties to yellow diamonds found in nature. Lab-grown diamonds can save you a lot of money on a budget and they are environmentally friendly.
Related article: Does James Allen Use Real Diamonds
Settings of Yellow Diamonds
The setting plays an essential role when purchasing yellow diamonds.
1. Yellow Gold
If you choose white metals like white gold or platinum with a yellow diamond ring, it may create contrast, but the yellow color of your diamond may look dull. You may prefer to invest in a yellow gold band.
A yellow gold band can increase the brightness of your yellow diamond. For instance, you can purchase a light yellow diamond that mounts on a yellow gold ring. This way, you can save a lot of money.
2. Halo Setting
The yellow color diamonds will look good in halo settings. The color of the yellow diamond will pop when surrounded by a ring of colorless diamonds.
3. Pavé Setting
Side stones on your ring can complement the fancy yellow color of your canary diamond. These can either be colorless or of the same color as your yellow diamond.
History of Yellow Diamonds
Traditionally, fancy yellow diamonds symbolize joy and prosperity. They are found almost everywhere in the world but are mainly found in South Africa.
The journey of these yellow diamonds started when a young boy named Erasmus James found a beautiful pebble near the Orange river in 1867, and fortunately, that was a 21-carat yellow diamond. The yellow diamond was cut into a 10.73 carat Eureka diamond that is now found in the Mine museum of Kimberley, South Africa.
Cecil Rhodes established the DeBeers Consolidated mines in 1888. Almost 90 percent of the world’s diamonds were produced in DeBeers mines by 1900.
Tiffany’s yellow diamond is one of the most famous yellow diamonds in the world. These diamonds were discovered in the Kimberley diamond mine in 1877.
Charles Lewis Tiffany (a New York jeweler) purchased a 287.42-carat diamond for $18,000. He had a Gemologist named Georg Kunz who studied the Tiffany diamond for almost one year before cutting. Later, it was cut and polished into a cushion shape of 128.54 carats with 82 facets, i.e., 24 times more than a round brilliant diamond cut.
The Tiffany diamond became so famous that it traveled all over the world. It won applause at the World’s Fair New York in 1939. The diamonds went to South Africa to celebrate the 100th-anniversary celebration of DeBeer Mines in Kimberley, South Africa (1971).
The precious Tiffany diamond was first worn by Mary Whitehouse and then was worn by the most famous British actress Audrey Hepburn. She wore the Tiffany diamond while doing publicity for her film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Another world-famous yellow diamond is called the Incomparable diamond. A young girl found a deep yellow diamond with brown tints in the MIBA diamond mine Democratic Republic of Congo.
The rough diamond weighed 890 carats which was the fourth largest round diamond ever discovered. Additionally, it was the largest brown diamond found in the world.
The big diamond was cut into one main diamond with high clarity and 14 smaller diamonds. The weight of the main diamond was 407.78 carats and is referred to as an incomparable diamond.
The Gemological Institute of America graded the Incomparable diamond as a shield step cut, internally flawless, and fancy deep brownish yellow diamond.
The fancy vivid yellow Sun drop diamond is another famous yellow diamond of 110.3 carats. The precious Sun drop diamond was sold at Sotheby’s for $12.4 million.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fancy Yellow Canary Diamonds
Where Are Yellow Diamonds Mined From?
Yellow diamonds are found in most mines over the globe. However, they are most commonly found in Australia, Central Africa, Borneo, and Congo.
The yellow diamonds are cut in various sizes and shapes like white diamonds. So if you intend to purchase yellow diamonds, you have a wide number of choices in shape and size like heart shape, pear shape, round, oval, or princess cut. Additionally, the intensities of yellow color even vary in a diamond.
Are Yellow Diamonds Valuable?
Natural colored diamonds are rarely found in nature. You will find only one natural colored diamond out of every 10,000 carats of colorless diamonds.
However, yellow diamonds are the most common colored diamonds found in the world. Gemologists estimate that these yellow-colored diamonds comprise nearly 60 percent of all the colored diamonds found all over the globe.
Still, these yellow diamonds are rare compared to white diamonds. The best thing is that you can purchase a fancy yellow canary diamond at the same price as a white diamond.
Celebrities always look for distinguished and valuable jewelry. Some of them wear these fancy yellow canary diamonds and walk on the red carpet. Some people prefer these yellow diamonds to wear on their engagement ring or on their wedding ring.
Related article: Best Diamond Cut for an Engagement Ring
Are All Yellow Diamonds Called Canary Diamonds?
No, not all yellow diamonds are called canary diamonds. But if the stone is extremely yellow or pure yellow, it is called a canary diamond. The yellow diamonds are available in various color combinations like brownish yellow diamonds, orange-yellow diamonds, greenish-yellow diamonds, and many more.
In Sierra Leone (a country in West Africa), a Zimmy diamond mine produces intense yellow diamonds. These diamonds are known as Zimmy diamonds.
Final Thoughts On Fancy Yellow Canary Diamonds
Canary yellow diamonds are rarely found in nature. The beauty of this diamond is out of this world and can steal anyone’s heart. But its limited availability and cost may prevent many diamond lovers from purchasing it.
Alternatively, you can opt to buy a lab-grown yellow diamond; these will save you a lot of money and are better for the environment as well.
Related article: James Allen Yellow Diamonds
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