What You Need to Know When Buying a Yellow Diamond-Set Jewelry Piece

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Diamonds have a noticeable yellow bodycolor when looked at from the top. The color is typically caused by nitrogen’s presence in the crystal structure of a yellow diamond.

Loose diamonds with a rich and pure yellow color are considered the most valuable ones. Several people regard these as the most beautiful gemstone because of the brightness, fire, as well as exceptional luster.

In diamonds, brown is the most common fancy color, followed by yellow. The yellow ones are found at several diamond deposits in the world.

Diamond Color Grading

Just about all diamonds of “gem-quality” are color-graded on a scale, which most highly values color’s absence. GIA’s “D-to-Z” color scale is the most commonly used one for grading diamonds. In this standard color range, the stones are “colorless” to the end of “light yellow”. Gem-quality diamonds in the range generally decrease in value just as the color turns more apparent. In contrast, the value of “Fancy color” stones usually increases with the purity and strength of the color.

These yellow stones are being graded on a specific scale as per the quality and strength of their color. The color in these diamonds is said to be “Fancy yellow”. On a scale that is developed by the Gemological Institute of America, these are assigned different “Fancy” grades, as per the saturation and tone of the yellow color.

The fancy diamonds are brown and yellow ones which display the color outside of its “Z” grade, or are the ones which show any other color when viewed “face-up”. These rare diamond specimens come in each and every color of the rainbow spectrum, comprising, most importantly, green, blue, red, and pink.

On the GIA color scale, the “D” or “colorless” grade is the highest one. Hints of yellow, gray, brown, or any other secondary color in the gemstone will result in it getting a lower grade on the color scale.

Pure and Modified Yellow

Pure yellow is the most sought-after color for the diamond. However, most loose yellow diamonds have slight hints of a secondary color. Orangy and greenish yellow are two common modifications of the color in the stones.

Even though pure yellow is highly desirable, several customers fancy the ones with modified color and are happy to buy them at a relatively lower price than a pure yellow diamond having a similar size. The secondary color that is more common is greenish yellow; however, the orangy one is the more costly and desirable.

“Canary” and “Cape” Diamonds            

The common terms used to refer to a yellow diamond are “canary” and “cape”. The term “Cape” originated during the late 1800’s when several diamonds with an apparent yellow color were made from mines in South Africa’s Cape Province. Diamond professionals quickly noticed these rocks in the market and they started calling them “Capes”, due to their provenance.

If graded nowadays, many of these rocks would have light enough color that they would get a color grade in the GIA’s D-to-Z scale; however, some diamonds would be classified as “fancy-color ” ones. The term “Cape” is used even today by several professionals for diamonds with a light yellow color, irrespective of their origin.

“Canary” is a term used in the jewelry or gemstone trade for a diamond with an apparent and typically “Fancy” yellow color. It is an imprecise term as it is used for the yellow stones that might be within the above-mentioned color scale as well. The name does not suggest any specific provenance either.

The Ring Design and the Color of Settings

People purchase loose yellow diamonds for use in a piece of jewelry. In this case, it is important to consider some factors. The first one to think about is the harmony or contrast of colors which will be there when the stone is viewed in its setting. The metal’s color can contrast with that of the diamond and can make the gem stand out. The color of both the stone and the metal can also be in harmony with each other. You have choices of platinum, gold as well as other metals, each one with a distinctive appearance. A jeweler can give valuable tips and perhaps show examples to help you with decision making.

The second one to consider is the way reflections of your metal of choice for an engagement ring and its claws; both will influence the center stone’s appearance. The light that reflects from its metal band can enter the centerpiece gem set in a ring and reflect from one facet to the other, throughout the stone. The setting’s color can have an impact on the stone’s apparent color, particularly when its saturation and tone are light. You can also seek your jeweler’s advice about the metal’s color and the setting’s design. Only informed decisions will help you make a “value for money” purchase.

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