What Is a Yellow Diamond? The Ultimate Guide to Fancy Canary Yellow Diamonds

The Fancy Yellow Color Scale

The color scale of a natural colorless diamond is graded from D - Z. However, close to where the colorless scale ends, the fancy color diamond scale begins. In fact, "Cape diamonds", which are stones that fall within the X- Y– Z range of the colorless scale, contain quite noticeable traces of yellow or brown color tones. This marks the beginning of what is a yellow diamond, represented by the Fancy Yellow and Fancy Brown diamond color scale, which highlights the transition from colorless to colored diamonds.

Fancy Yellow (otherwise known as Canary diamonds) and Fancy Brown diamonds (otherwise known as Cognac or Champagne colored Diamonds) are the only color diamonds that start from within the colorless grading scale.

Yellow Color scale

Yellow Colored Diamonds starting from Cape colors (4 stones on the left are from the U-V through X-Y-Z range) continuing to Fancy Light Yellow , Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow, Fancy Vivid Yellow and Fancy Deep Yellow

Read More About Color in Diamonds

What is a yellow diamond ? Fancy yellow diamonds are graded according to the hue of yellow color within the stones.

In general, diamonds at the top of the scale contain the weakest tone of yellow and are known as Light Yellow. These stones are dominantly yellow but with almost equal traces of white throughout the stones.

At the other end of the scale, stones that contain the strongest tones of yellow are known as Fancy Vivid Yellow. These stones have no white traces and, depending on the color saturation and distribution, contain an extremely yellow color throughout.

 Yellow Diamonds

Fancy Yellow Color Intensity

The fancy yellow colored diamond scale is not as simple as a straight line with different shades of color. Pure Yellow diamonds with no overtones are found with six different color grades: Light (X-Y-Z range), Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep - and all are 100% completely natural. Yellow diamonds with overtones, can also appear with a Fancy Dark intensity.

Sometimes, the cut of the diamond actually enables a better intensity of color to show from the finished product, hence the importance of purchasing a diamond from someone you trust.

LEIBISH fancy intense yellow diamond jewelry collection 'Chateau'
The Leibish & Co. Chateau collection, fancy vivid yellow diamonds

While they are still extremely rare, as a result of how abundant they are in comparison to other fancy colors, their prices are competitively affordable. In fact, there are many that feel that going with a fancy yellow stone is a perfect introduction to the fancy colored diamond world since the appearance is magnificent while the cost is not as extravagant.

The most popular shades are Fancy Yellow and Fancy Intense Yellow stones and for those who can afford them, also Fancy Vivid Yellow.

 Read More About Diamond Color Intensity

Secondary Hues

A pure or straight fancy color stone with only one color present is preferred by most, but the majority of color diamonds actually contain one, two, or even up to three overtone colors. The secondary shades most common in fancy yellow diamonds are green and orange. The pure dark tones often contain brownish or greenish hues.

Although most buyers prefer a pure color stone, certain color combinations, such as an Orangy Yellow, can really be quite mesmerizing.

The image below showcases all the various hues and intensities of what is a yellow diamond, serving as the primary color.

Yellow diamonds color scale by LEIBISH

1st row: Cape, Pure Yellow,

2nd row: Orange Yellow, Orangy Yellow, Brown Yellow, Brownish Yellow, Brownish Orangy Yellow.

3rd row: Brown Greenish Yellow, Brownish Greenish Yellow, Greenish Yellow.

4th row:Green Yellow, Grey Greenish Yellow and Greyish Greensih Yellow. 

Some Yellow diamonds are also Chameleon Diamonds, where the diamond temporarily changes its color when gently heated or when left in darkness for a period of time.

Why a Yellow Diamond for an Engagement Ring

Due to both rarity and beauty, fancy yellow stones have more recently been used as the center piece of some of the most breathtaking engagement rings. Every woman wants the ring of their dreams, and most would like to have the ring of everyone else’s dreams as well. Natural fancy yellow diamonds have the ability to be far more alluring than the everyday colorless diamond engagement ring, especially since they are so much more unique.

As a result of their abundance in nature, fancy yellows are quite reasonably priced, yet still astonishing to look at especially when set in a beautiful engagement ring.

LEIBISH’s in-house jewelry designers have mastered through both experience and creativity the ability to create some of the most unique and alluring fancy yellow diamond rings. When designing the ring, the diamond is placed into a cup (or bath) of yellow gold.

Setting a fancy colored diamond is not nearly as straightforward as setting a colorless stone since the ring itself is designed around the color of the diamond. LEIBISH initiates a 3-dimensional scan on every diamond in order to custom design the cup for each stone. The color reflects through the diamond, actually increasing the face-up color of the diamond by at least one intensity grade.

 LEIBISH yellow diamond engagement ring collection - Soleil

Leibish & Co. yellow diamond engagement ring collection 'Soleil'

Read the Full Guide to Engagement Rings


Natural yellow color diamonds are far more common than most of the other fancy color diamond colors. Since they are so striking and alluring, while still remaining competitively affordable, the demand for yellow stones has aggressively and steadily increased over the past three decades.

the LEIBISH Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond Canary collection

The Leibish & Co. Canary collection, with Canary yellow center diamonds

Yellow diamonds with a high clarity grade (IF or VS), high intensities, and usually above 2.00 carats - 3.00 carats (obviously, the bigger the better) make for superb investment opportunities and are sought after as excellent additions to many fancy color diamond investment portfolios. Some of the highest prices at auction have actually been paid for large yellow diamonds.

Famous Yellow Diamonds

Some of the most famous fancy yellows are The Incomparable, The Tiffany Yellow, The Allnatt, The Florentine.

Canary yellow diamonds, which is another name for natural yellow diamonds, are recognized because of their strong color and their unusual characteristics. Zimmi yellow diamonds, another name, are called this when they come from Sierra Leone and exhibit an especially beautiful yellow color.

Of course, similar to any other diamonds in the market, fancy yellows can be found in all cuts, such as Asscher, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Radiant, Heart, Cushion, Round and Princess.


Are yellow diamonds real, and how rare are they in the market?

Yes, yellow diamonds are real. They are rare but not as scarce as some other fancy colored diamonds. Their rarity varies depending on the intensity of the yellow color.

Are yellow diamonds more expensive?

Yellow diamonds can be more expensive than colorless diamonds, especially if they have intense and vibrant hues. However, the price also depends on factors such as carat weight, cut, clarity, and overall quality.

What is the meaning of a yellow diamond?

Yellow diamonds symbolize positivity, energy, and joy. They are often associated with warmth, happiness, and creativity, making them a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry.

What is a yellow diamond called?

Yellow diamonds are often referred to as "canary diamonds" due to their resemblance to the bright yellow plumage of a canary bird.

Why is my diamond turning yellow?

The yellow hue in diamonds can result from the presence of nitrogen impurities during the crystal formation process. Exposure to certain environmental factors or treatments can also cause color changes in diamonds.

How old is yellow diamond?

Yellow diamonds, like all diamonds, are formed deep within the Earth's mantle under extreme heat and pressure over millions to billions of years.

Where do yellow diamonds come from?

Yellow diamonds are found in diamond mines around the world, including South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and Canada. Each mine produces diamonds with unique characteristics, including different shades of yellow.
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