All About Fancy Yellow Diamonds

Origin of a Yellow Diamond

Yellow diamonds are naturally made through the presence of nitrogen atoms in the diamond's crystal structure, which give the diamond its yellow color. The amount of nitrogen will impact the intensity of a yellow diamond.

Yellow Diamonds Today

Natural yellow diamonds, also known  as "canary" diamonds" have been increasing in popularity for decades.  They have recently been worn by many celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Blake Lively, and many more. Yellow diamonds are the most commonly purchased fancy colored diamond of them all and are the top-selling diamond color at Rare Colors. They are vibrant in color, classic, and the most affordable in large sizes compared to other fancy colored diamonds which are extremely rare and valuable over 5 carats.

Yellow Diamond Colors

Yellow diamonds range in color from a pale yellow hue known by the GIA as light yellow (Y to Z range) which are still graded on a "D to Z" diamond scale, ascending to fancy light yellow, fancy yellow, fancy intense yellow fancy vivid yellow. The more intense and pure the color, the more valuable the diamond.

Yellow diamond intensities in ascending order:

Light Yellow

Fancy Light Yellow

Fancy Yellow

Fancy Intense Yellow

Fancy Vivid Yellow

In addition to a yellow diamond's intensity, it is equally important that the color should have a pure hue and tone, without traces of brown, orange or green. According to the GIA, the highest authority on grading yellow diamonds, yellow diamonds can have different color appearances based on their tones and saturations. 

Yellow diamonds can have a "warmer" tone with hints of orange and brown, as well as a "cooler" tone with hints of green and yellowish green, while having a straight yellow certificate. ( See 2 diagrams below). For these reasons we highly recommend buying only from a trusted jeweler who is experienced with yellow diamonds. The ideal yellow diamond is a well-balanced yellow color without any secondary hues. 

 Yellow diamond color chart. Courtesy of GIA                 Credit -   Yellow diamond color chart cooler GIA        Credit -   


Value of a Yellow Diamond

To determine the basic value and rarity and value of a yellow diamonds, the same "4 C's" are applied, see below. However, more expertise is required to differentiate yellow diamonds of similar grading.

Color is the most critical factor for fancy color diamonds, and they are graded based on the intensity and hue of their color. The more vibrant and saturated the color, the higher the value. 

Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions in the diamond. The highest clarity is Internally Flawless. Typically any diamond graded SI1 and better is clean to the eye and its inclusions can only be seen with a loupe or microscope.

Cut refers to the diamond's proportions, symmetry, and polish. The better the cut, the more light is reflected, creating more brilliance and fire in the diamond. Also, it determines how big the diamond will look in relation to its carat weight.

Carat weight is the measure of a diamond's size and weight. All diamonds are evaluated based on their carat weights. In fancy color diamonds, carat weight affects the rarity less than its color intensity and hue.

Yellow Diamond Ring Settings

Almost every yellow diamond gains color and saturation once set in a yellow gold setting. Even if the setting is made in platinum or white gold, the basket holding the yellow diamond can be made in yellow gold (our design tip to increase the saturation of any yellow diamond). Our two most popular styles for yellow diamond rings:

Three stone rings - Most commonly set with white diamonds on the sides. Popular shapes are half moons, trapezoids and pear shapes.  The shape and size of the side diamonds can be customized to give a ring your personal touch. 

Halo rings - Most commonly surrounded by white diamond brilliant cuts. This setting style often results in a higher saturation of the center yellow diamond, due to more gold surrounding all sides of the diamond. The size of the halo can be customized, and can be made with yellow brilliant cut diamonds as well. We recommend this setting style for lighter shades of yellow diamonds. 

Photos of both below. Ultimately the design you choose will be a matter of personal taste and preference.

3-stone canary diamond engagement rings

yellow diamond halo rings



Exceptional Yellow Diamonds

For years, yellow diamonds have been amongst the most valuable gems sold by large auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's. 

303 carat fancy deep brownish yellow, internally flawless, sold by Sotheby's for $12,389,000 in December 2022.

The golden canary diamond - Sotheby's



Credit - Sotheby's 
All About Fancy Yellow Diamonds
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