Buying a Yellow Diamond – What To Look For

I recently spoke by phone with my contact at Leibish & Co., specialists in fancy color diamonds.

I wanted to know if they could help me explain more about fancy color diamonds, or more specifically about yellow diamonds. Yellow and pink diamonds are the most sought after colors, so I thought I would include a little more information about those colors so I can help my readers make good decisions when shopping for fancy color diamonds.

Following the phone call Leibish sent me some beautiful photos of yellow diamonds and a few interesting things about yellow diamonds.

While plenty of people know about color diamonds, there are still plenty of people who are completely unaware that diamonds come in any other color than clear, or what they think of as white.

Yep, colored diamonds certainly exist, although they are not nearly as common as colorless diamonds. As a matter of fact what the diamond industry call fancy colored diamonds come in every color of the rainbow.

Among all these colors there are two that are most frequently sought: yellow and pink.

Yellow diamonds are undeniably the most vibrant among fancy color diamonds. Yellow catches the eye, which is the exact definition of attractiveness.

Between yellow and pink, yellow is a lot easier to find in a decent size. Pink is extremely hard to find, and will rarely be very big. This is of course reflected in the price.

But yellow, being somewhat less rare, gives us a little room to shop around and try to find something that suits us perfectly, in regards to size, hue, vibrancy, shade, quality of cut.

The Best Cuts for Yellow Diamonds

There is an important difference between a yellow diamond and a colorless stone. Colored stones have to be cut in a different manner to colorless diamonds.

When there is a lack of color in a diamond, which is the case for colorless stones, it is desired to increase the stone’s brilliance as much as possible. This is achieved by cutting the stone in such a way that the light exits the stone as quickly as possible.

Yellow diamonds are all about exposing the color from within. That is why the diamond is cut in a way that enables the stone to preserve the light as long as possible in order to strengthen the color before it is reflected out.

As the shape of a diamond affects how well the light reflects, you will generally see certain shapes more with yellow diamonds than you would with a colorless stone. For example, the most common shape for a colorless diamond is the round brilliant, because it displays its brilliance in the most ideal way. When it comes to a yellow diamond, it is easier for the diamond polisher to enable the color to show more from a cushion, radiant, or pear shaped stone.

buying a yellow diamond: image shows modified cushion cut yellow diamond in micro pave halo setting.

Yellow Diamond Color Intensity Levels and Color Combinations

Colorless diamonds and yellow diamonds are both assessed according to the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat), but while these four characteristics are generally considered of equal importance in regards to colorless stones, color becomes the number one priority when it comes to fancy color diamond. So much so that the color itself is split into two categories: main color and color intensity. The latter refers to how intensely the color can be seen.

Colored diamonds are graded according to nine different intensity levels. Every color has each one of the nine grades.

For example, the color intensity grades for yellow diamonds include:

  • Light (X)
  • Light (Y)
  • Light (Z)
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Deep
  • Fancy Dark

The first levels are the very end of the D-Z color grades used by the Gemological Institute of America to grade color. These stones are also referred to as cape diamonds. They have too much color to be considered good colorless diamonds and too little color to be acknowledged as a fancy.
A yellow diamond can contain a pure yellow hue, but more often than not, it consists of secondary colors. These can be: orange yellow, orangy yellow, brown yellow, brownish yellow, brownish orangy yellow, brown greenish yellow, brownish greenish yellow, greenish yellow, green yellow, gray greenish yellow, and grayish greenish yellow. A straight yellow is considered more valuable than a stone that has more than one color, but the beauty of a colored diamond can only be determined by you.

Typical Settings for Yellow Diamonds

Settings are a bit trickier for yellow diamonds than they are for colorless diamonds because of the difference in cut. Settings made for colorless diamonds can be mass-produced and used without modification to set the stone. Yellow diamonds require more customization. The setting will be built around the stone so that it is mounted properly. Since color diamonds, yellow diamonds included of course, are becoming more and more popular, manufacturers are discovering more price effective methods to display the stone efficiently without blowing out the budget. Yellow diamonds look great when set as a solitaire stone or when paired with diamonds of contrasting colors. Jewelers and ring setters will also also recommend various metals depending on the tone and shape of the stone.

So hopefully some of this information is new to you. I certainly am grateful to my contact at Leibish for sharing these points. It was exactly the type of high quality information I was after.

It’s been pretty awesome being able to promote such a fine company (I’ve been working with them for a couple years now), and continues to be my privilege to be able to direct people to such a magnificent selection of fancy colored stones and fine jewelry.

Want to see what I mean? Go to Leibish.com

As always, feel free to send over any questions you might have about your search for the best stone your money can buy.

Ideas for how to set a yellow diamond ring

As yellow diamonds are best displayed in certain settings you can avoid having to worry about choosing the right type of setting by looking at preset yellow diamonds.

For example this fancy light yellow diamond is set in a ring with colorless side stones. The center GIA certified cushion shape diamond, 3.07cts, is emphasized and allowed to glow by being set  with a prong setting. Flanked  6 F+ Brilliant cut diamonds provides wonderful contrast to the yellow glow of the center stone. The colorless stones are styled in a triangle side stones design and also set in a prong setting benefiting from maximum light. The ring is made of platinum and 18K Yellow gold. For more information about this item please see

https://www.leibish.com/rings-jewelry/fancy-light-yellow-cushion-side-stone-diamond-ring-28325 is the link to the above ring.

Another option, if the diamond is more orangish or brownish yellow is to set it in rose gold. A pave halo of small diamonds enhances the appearance of the center stone and of course multiplies the sparkle as a result of that many more diamonds being included in the ring. Essentially it is a classic diamond halo ring setting, this particular one features a 1.10 carat, Fancy Brown Yellow pear diamond as its center stone. Mounted in all rose gold, the side diamonds are white round brilliants, around the halo and half-way along the shank. see


https://www.leibish.com/rings-jewelry/fancy-brown-yellow-pear-diamond-ring-27705 is the link to this ring.