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Why Are Yellow Diamonds More Expensive?

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Why are yellow diamonds more expensive?

The simple answer to this question is that yellow diamonds are more expensive because the stone is more rare, compared to the clear diamond, however with most things in life, there is never a simple answer to a good question.

 To demand a higher price tag, the diamond needs to be graded a fancy colour and not a colour grade on the low side of S-Z. So what is the difference between colour grade and a fancy grade? I am going to tell you next in this article. Then we will look at what roles, clarity, cut and carat weight plays in pricing a fancy yellow diamond by answering three questions, is clarity just as important with fancy yellow diamonds? What is the best cut? And what carat weight should I buy? Hopefully by the time I have answered these four questions, you will have a better understanding of why yellow diamonds are more expensive and you will have more confidence when discussing yellow diamonds with your jeweller.

 To end this article I am going to give you my best advice when it comes to buying a diamond.

What are the Difference Between Colour Grade and a Fancy Grade?

 The clear diamond is given a colour grade between D and Z when the stone comes with a certification (I would recommend always buying a diamond with a diamond certificate may also called a report by GIA. GIA will always be your best choice even know a GIA may come with a slight premium in price). Colour D-F are classed as colourless and will demand the highest price for a clear (white) diamond, next G-J which is near colourless, then K-M, Faint yellow, N-R, very light yellow and S-Z can be referred to as yellow. So are you thinking, is diamonds with a S-Z yellow colour grade more expensive then a colourless diamond, if you’re thinking that, then you’re wrong. You will pay the most for a D colour and the least for a Z colour when all else is equal. So now you maybe thinking, if N-R is very light yellow and S-Z is yellow, and yellow is more expensive then clear, why are the S-Z yellow colour stones price less then that of the D-F colourless stones? Well the answer to this question is that they’re not graded as a fancy yellow by GIA or other diamond reports. Diamonds with a low colour grade is not a desirable strong yellow colour, more of a weak brown, yellow colour and will not show the colour in the face-up position. However once a diamond becomes a fancy yellow diamond and receive one of these grades, fancy light, fancy, fancy intense or fancy vivid, then the price of that diamond becomes higher then that of a clear diamond. For a yellow diamond to get a fancy grade the stone will have to show a desirable yellow colour in the face up position and have a good depth of colour.

Out of the four yellow grades by GIA, fancy light yellow, fancy yellow, fancy intense yellow or fancy vivid yellow. Fancy vivid yellow will be the most expensive and the fancy light yellow the least. You may find a fancy light yellow around the same price as a D-F colour when all else is equal. Once you start looking at stones with a fancy yellow grade or higher, then the price will double, quadruple, depending on the market.

Is Clarity just as Important with Fancy Yellow Diamonds?

Clarity is very important but when it comes to fancy colour diamonds, colour is the dominant factor in the value of the stone. Even fancy colours with several inclusions with a low clarity grade are still very desirable if they show an attractive face-up colour. However if the inclusion, threatens the diamonds durability, it may lower the value of the fancy yellow diamond. Fancy yellow diamonds can also show colour graining, and this will be marked as an inclusion.

What is the Best Cut for Fancy Yellow Diamonds?

The shape and size of the diamond cut can influence the yellow colour. The larger the diamond is, the deeper it’s pavilion will be, so the light has to travel farther, in most cases this gives the diamond a stronger, more intense yellow colour. The shape of the cut may also influence the yellow. Over the years, diamond cutters have discovered different cuts can show more of a yellow colour. Usually the fancy cuts like the radiant show the yellow colour at it’s finest. A diamond toward the lower end of the diamond colour grade towards Z can be moved into the fancy grading if cut into the radiant style, that’s why the round brilliant cut diamond with a fancy colour, will have a higher price tags, this is because it’s even rarer then the fancy cuts when you’re start looking for a yellow diamond. If the cut of the stone improves the yellow colour of the stone, the price will increase.

The radiant is a great choice when looking for a fancy yellow diamond, not only will it show finer yellow colour the radiant cut also provides a higher yield from the rough then a round brilliant cut diamond.

What Carat Weight Should I Buy

As with all diamonds both clear and fancy colours, the larger the stone the more rare the diamond becomes, rare means a higher price in the world of diamonds. Carat weight just comes down to your style and the look you’re going for. In the diamond world, larger is better when all else is equal. When it comes to using diamonds in a jewellery design, style comes first. There is no right or wrong with which carat weight you choose.

My Final Word

By now I hope you have a better understanding of a fancy yellow diamond and how different factors can make the price higher or lower, but now I would like to share with you my best advice I give all my customers. When buying a diamond or diamond set into a piece of jewellery, first buy with you heart and then with your head. If you see a diamond that you fall in love with, then that is the stone for you, go for it. The diamond certified is just there to guarantee you are buying the stone the seller is offering to you and also for you to make comparisons with other similar stones on the market. Do not let the cert make the decision for you.

You wear the diamond not the paperwork, buy with your heart, and just make sure your head knows you’re buying it at the right price.

About Bobby White

This article was written by award winning jewellery designer and master craftsman, Bobby White. Bobby White started making jewellery at the age of 16 in 1999 and by the age of 24, set up his own brand selling fine diamond jewellery handmade in London. You can discover Bobby White’s collections online at Bobby White


More References

If you would like to learn more about yellow diamonds or diamonds in general, your first step will be GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, coloured stones, and pearls. A public benefit, non-profit institute, GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewellery. Visit the GIA website

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