Are Yellow Diamonds Rare

Though they are not the rarest among fancy colored diamonds, such as red, pink, and blue, yellow diamonds are still far rarer than colorless stones. Similar to other high-end items, rare yellow diamonds, especially larger ones with a high color intensity, are a lot harder to come by. However, although they are rare, prices are not nearly as high as many think and in some cases surprisingly affordable!

The Fancy Yellow stones that are about 1.00-2.00 carats in size are attracting a very high market demand and are actually less expensive than their colorless counterparts. However, here is a look at some of the rarer stones and what to look for when buying one.

Color Intensity

Color is one of the 4Cs of diamonds, along with clarity, cut, and carat weight, but when it comes to colored diamonds, it is not about how little color the diamond contains, but rather, how much. Since the color that colorless diamonds may or may not contain is yellow, the color grading scale for colored diamonds begins where the colorless color grading scale ends (in fact, yellow diamonds actually begin form within the white diamond color grading scale). While colorless diamonds are graded from the letter D to the letter Z, colored diamonds, including yellow, are graded in word phrases that define their color and any secondary hues. Furthermore, the intensity of the colors found are also graded - such as Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep/Dark.

Yellow diamonds with the least amount of color intensity are the same diamonds on the colorless diamond scale that contain traces of yellow and are less desirable as colorless stones (diamonds Y-Z.). The rarer, and most often more desired yellow diamonds are those with very high color intensity such as Fancy Intense Yellow and Fancy Vivid Yellow.

 Yellow diamonds color scale

Stones Displaying the Various Intensity Levels for Fancy Yellow Diamonds

Carat Weight and Size

Another important factor for yellow diamonds which weighs in heavily on how rare the stone might be is the size of the diamond. Diamonds are weighed by carats and prices will increase drastically each time it passes another even weight. For instance, a 2-carat diamond will cost a significant amount more than a 1.9-carat diamond, assuming the other attributes are similar. But diamond size is not just about the weight, because a diamond can be cut shallow or deep. The shallower the stone, the wider and flatter it will be. This essentially means you can get a larger looking diamond for less but it has more potential to have a window right in the middle of the table of the stone.

With colorless diamonds, it is all about showing off the shine. This is done best with the Brilliant Cut, which works most effectively with round, and roundish shapes. The depth in such diamonds plays an essential role since it contributes greatly to the diamond’s Brilliance by how quickly it allows the light to exit the stone. In regards to colored diamonds, it is not about how it allows the light to exit the stone, but rather how long it absorbs it and keep it within. This is specifically why fancy color diamonds are most often cut into fancy shapes and can sometimes have a disproportional faceted arrangement. Though a certain amount of depth is required for a quality yellow diamond, if one is looking for a larger and not just heavier diamond, one should look at the diamond’s overall size and not just the carat weight. Larger yellow diamonds with high color intensity are much rarer and therefore more valuable.

 Comparison of Yellow Diamond Intensities

Different Sized Yellow Diamonds 

Cut and Shape

The most common cut for colored diamonds is the modified cut, which combines the Brilliant Cut and the Step Cut. The most popular shapes for colored diamonds, which go well with this cut, are the Radiant shape and the Cushion shape. Other shapes are less common, more expensive, and don't always show the color intensity well. Nevertheless, there are individuals who insist on certain shapes, including round, which is very popular with colorless diamonds and much less popular with colored diamonds because the shape does not do much for the color. Therefore, when shapes like these are found with an intense color they tend to be sold at a higher cost.

 diamond shapes

Colored Diamonds in a Variety of Shapes


The clarity of colorless diamonds is extremely important. If the diamond has inclusions it will not sparkle well. However, as mentioned before, the concentration of colored diamonds is more about the color than their shine. At the same time, removing certain blemishes can contribute to the color of the stone. Therefore, when cutting the diamond, it is important to bear in mind that though the carat weight and size of the diamond may be compromised it may naturally enhance the diamond’s color.

Yellow diamonds are beautiful alternatives to the traditional colorless diamond and they are constantly growing in popularity. Ranging greatly in price, yellow diamonds come in many color intensities and sizes. Some stones are rarer than others, and these are highly sought after. These rare yellow diamonds are terrific and wise investments and make phenomenal jewelry pieces.

Learn more about yellow diamonds.

Contributor: Benji Margolese

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