Of all the fancy coloured diamonds, yellow diamonds are by far the most popular choice for a coloured diamond engagement ring. Bright, glowing and eye catching, it is no wonder that the yellow diamond is so sought after. Yellow diamonds are natural, their vibrant colour is caused by nitrogen within the structure of the stone. Yellow diamonds range from faint yellow to the bright vivid yellow of the canary diamonds. Other fancy coloured diamonds include blue diamonds, pink diamonds and champagne diamonds. Read our guide to this golden diamond colour, and browse our gorgeous yellow diamond rings, earrings, pendants and other jewellery.
The yellow colour in diamonds is caused by the presence of the trace element nitrogen in the diamond crystal whilst it is forming. Nitrogen is the most common impurity found in diamonds, and so occurs in the majority of diamonds that are on the market. Diamonds can either contain small groups of nitrogen atoms within the crystal structure (known as Type 1a) or single nitrogen atoms (Type 1b). When light passes through the crystal lattice of a yellow diamond, the nitrogen impurities absorb blue light waves, causing this wonderful colour.
The GIA colour grading scale from D-Z assesses diamonds for a relative lack of colour. The grades on the lower end of the spectrum (X-Z) are known as the ‘Cape diamonds’ and have noticeable yellow or brown tones. This point is the start of the fancy yellow diamond colour scale. Fancy coloured yellow diamonds range from fancy light to fancy dark yellow. The term ‘Canary diamonds’ is used only for fancy intense or fancy vivid yellow diamonds. Yellow diamonds can also have secondary tones of orange, brown and green. These are described as orangish yellow, brownish yellow and greenish yellow.
Yellow diamonds are the most popular of the fancy coloured diamonds. This is partly due to the influence of celebrities such as Adele, Olivia Palermo and Kelly Clarkson who have all flaunted impressive yellow diamond engagement rings. Yellow diamonds are conventionally set in yellow gold, as the colour of the metal is reflected through the stone and enhances and deepens the diamond’s body colour.
Any natural fancy coloured diamond is a rare occurrence. However, yellow diamonds are more widely available than many of the other fancy colours due to the presence of nitrogen in diamonds. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 98% of diamonds contain nitrogen. It is the number and grouping of the nitrogen atoms that dictates the intensity of the colour that is seen. The British Diamond Company is proud to stock an enviable selection of natural yellow diamonds in varying sizes, colour grades and clarities, ensuring you can find the perfect stone for your jewellery.