What is a Fancy Yellow Diamond?

Yellow diamonds are naturally occurring diamonds from the Earth that were exposed to nitrogen during their formation in kimberlite deposits before volcanic eruptions brought them to the Earth’s surface.

Diamond Colors

Diamonds can occur in any of 12 colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Violet, Pink, Black, Gray and Brown. Different colors occur with different frequency, depending on how rare the conditions are that bring about the color in the diamond. The rarest diamond colors are red, pink, and blue, and the least rare are yellow and brown.

Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds can form with secondary (and even tertiary) colors, such as green, orange, and brown, and are most rarely found with a pure yellow color. Some yellow diamonds are even chameleon diamonds, that is, they have the ability to change colors under a temperature change! When that is the case, the yellow chameleon diamond has the ability to turn green or brown. A yellow diamond can usually be spotted even in its rough state because the yellow is often extremely noticeable.


190.72 carat Graff Vivid Yellow rough diamond

190.72 carat Graff Vivid Yellow rough diamond      Image credit: Graff Diamonds


Not all yellow diamonds are created equal. In fact, not only can yellow diamonds be differentiated based on their color, they are also differentiated based on their color’s intensity. The color scale on which yellow diamonds are graded actually begins on the end of the color scale for colorless diamonds. Colorless diamonds are graded based on their absence or presence of color. When color is present in a diamond that would ideally look colorless, it receives a low grade on the colorless diamond scale. The more of that color that is present, the better the improvement to the diamond and the more ‘fancy colored’ it is considered. The color scale on which colorless diamonds are graded is:


gia color grading scale

The Colorless Diamond Grading Scale according to the GIA     Image credit: GIA


The color scale on which yellow diamonds are graded is:

Light (X-Y-Z range), Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Dark

Yellow Diamonds tone and saturation grades

The different variations of intensity in yellow diamonds

Yellow Secondary Color

Yellow can also occur as a modifying color on other diamond colors, such as Green diamonds, Orange diamonds, and Brown diamonds. Often, the presence of the yellow brightens the diamond and adds to its aesthetic, making it even more beautiful than without.

Fake Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds occur naturally, but some laboratories have devised a way to ‘improve’ on low quality diamonds by adding color to them in order to make them more yellow. Beware of this in your search for your yellow diamond. If you find yellow diamonds that are priced better than the rest of yellow diamonds on the market, it is most likely because some sort of artificial enhancement has been done to them, which ruins the resale value of your diamond.

What is a Fancy Yellow diamond? It is a yellow diamond that was graded Fancy Yellow on the yellow diamond color scale. What is a yellow diamond? It is a diamond that was exposed to nitrogen when it was being formed.

Got any further questions? Please ask in the comments!

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