Understanding Fancy Yellow Diamonds

Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2018 at 4:55 pm by Shelley's

In our estate jewelry collection, we have recently added a pleasing 1.51 ct fancy yellow diamond engagement ring.  It is my philosophy that folks should buy based on beauty, and this ring is definitely beautiful. It is also wise to know some of the gemological and marketplace information about a piece of jewelry, especially diamond jewelry.

A few diamonds are colorless.  The majority of diamonds have some degree of yellow and the rest of the diamonds, which is just a few, display other colors.  The presence of nitrogen produces the yellow color.

Most diamonds have some degree of very, very light yellow.  In the diamond grading system the letters D, E and F represent colorless grades.  G through Z are grades for increasing amounts of yellow.  G through J grades are so faint that it generally is not detectable unless the diamond is placed beside a colorless diamond.  Grades like L, M all the way to Z show enough yellow to be seen to the naked eye.  As color tends toward grade Z, prices go down.  This is not because these lower grades are not pretty.  It is because they are more common in nature.

Then something happens…

Beyond grade Z there gets to be so much yellow in the diamond that, 1) it is less common in nature, and 2) more people like the pastel yellow that is showing up.  If you get a gem lab report for the color of a diamond it will have a letter D to Z or….it will have a grade like “FANCY,” followed by a color, usually “YELLOW.”  As grades tend from D toward Z, prices decline, but when the grade hits the fancy grades the price zooms back up.  

Fancy yellow diamonds come in nine grades.  Here they are from lightest to most yellow: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Vivid.  The diamond we have just added to our estate collection is “FANCY” so it is in the middle of the fancy yellow diamond world and distinctly yellow but not neon yellow.


The grading report will state the ORIGIN of the diamond.  Everything I have said above applies to diamonds whose ORIGIN is NATURAL.  In other words, they came out of the ground like that.  If the ORIGIN says TREATED that means the yellow in the diamond comes from irradiation or some other manmade treatment.  Treated diamonds are less pricey.  If you do not care about natural versus treated, you can get a sharper yellow for less money in a treated diamond.

If you are in the Hendersonville, North Carolina area, please come in and see this diamond before it is sold, or check out our website and see if we have any other fancy yellow or color diamonds in now.