Diamonds are renowned for their timeless beauty, and while colourless diamonds are the most well-known and popular, coloured diamonds are also highly sought after. 

Among the various colours of diamonds, yellow diamonds are a particularly fascinating and unique category. But have you ever wondered what yellow diamonds are called and why they are so special? 

In this article, we'll explore the naming conventions for yellow diamonds and delve into their desirable characteristics. 

Naming Conventions For Yellow Diamonds

Eureka Yellow diamond

Yellow diamonds have been prized for their unique beauty for centuries. However, the naming conventions for yellow diamonds have evolved and are now based on a standardised grading system.

The first recorded discovery of a yellow diamond was in South Africa in 1866. The 287-carat diamond was named the Eureka diamond, and its yellow colour caused a sensation in the diamond world. Subsequently, more yellow diamonds were discovered and given various names based on their appearance.

Some of the different names for yellow diamonds include:

  • canary yellow
  • lemon yellow
  • golden yellow
  • fancy yellow

The canary yellow diamond is perhaps the most well-known name for yellow diamonds, and it refers to diamonds with a bright, vibrant yellow colour. 

Lemon diamonds have a fancy light yellow, more pastel hue, while golden yellow diamonds have a richer, deeper yellow colour. Fancy yellow diamonds are graded as having a strong or intense yellow hue.

In modern times, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has developed a standardised system for grading coloured diamonds, including yellow diamonds. This system is based on hue, saturation, and brightness characteristics. 

Hue refers to the diamond's primary colour, saturation refers to the intensity of the colour, and brightness refers to the amount of light that reflects off the diamond. Based on these characteristics, yellow diamonds can be graded from "faint yellow" to "vivid yellow."

Characteristics Of Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds are distinct from colourless diamonds due to their unique yellow hue. While colourless diamonds are graded on their lack of colour, yellow diamonds are graded on their level of colour. This means that the more vivid and intense the yellow colour of a diamond, the more valuable and rare it is considered.

The yellow colour in diamonds can be caused by various factors, such as nitrogen impurities or structural defects in the diamond's crystal lattice. 

Nitrogen impurities, in particular, are responsible for most yellow diamond colours, with higher concentrations of nitrogen resulting in more intense yellow hues. The presence of hydrogen in a diamond's lattice can also contribute to a yellow colour.

The causes of the yellow colour in diamonds are important because they can affect the rarity and value of the diamond. 

For example, diamonds with a pure yellow colour caused by nitrogen impurities are considered more valuable than diamonds with a yellowish tint caused by other factors. In addition, the intensity of the yellow colour can also affect the value and rarity of the diamond, with more intense yellow hues being rarer and more valuable.

Aside from their unique colour, yellow diamonds share many characteristics with colourless diamonds. 

For example, they are still graded on the 4Cs of diamond quality, which include cut, clarity, carat weight, and colour. 

The cut of a yellow diamond can greatly affect its overall appearance, as it impacts how it reflects and refracts light. Clarity refers to any flaws or inclusions in the diamond that can impact its value and appearance. Carat weight, or the size of the diamond, is another important factor in determining a diamond's value.

Uses For Yellow Diamonds

Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years, with their unique colour and rarity making them a sought-after gemstone. 

Here is an overview of the various uses for yellow diamonds and why they are popular for certain purposes:

Engagement Rings

Yellow diamonds are becoming an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings. Their unique colour and rarity make them a unique and special choice for couples looking for something different from traditional colourless diamonds. 

Yellow diamonds also come in various hues and saturations, allowing couples to choose a diamond that matches their preferences.


Yellow diamonds are a popular investment option due to their rarity and increasing value. With demand for coloured diamonds rising, particularly in emerging markets such as China and India, yellow diamonds are becoming popular for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.


Yellow diamonds are often used in high-end fashion, particularly designer jewellery collections. Their unique colour and rarity make them luxury items, and their popularity in fashion often helps to drive up their value and demand.

Statement Pieces

Yellow diamonds are often used in statement jewellery, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Their unique colour makes them a standout choice for those looking to make a bold fashion statement.

Conclusion: What Are Yellow Diamonds Called?

In conclusion, yellow diamonds are a unique and captivating gemstone, often called a "canary yellow diamond." Their vibrant yellow colour results from nitrogen impurities, which can cause variations in hue, saturation, and brightness. 

Canary diamond is popular for engagement rings, statement jewellery, and high-end fashion collections. They are rare and valuable, with more intense and pure hues being rarer and more valuable than softer, pale yellows. 

The name "canary" has become synonymous with yellow diamonds, and their unique beauty and rarity continue to make them a sought-after gemstone for various uses.


What are yellow diamonds called?

While several names are associated with yellow diamonds, like lemon, yellow, and golden, The name commonly used for yellow diamonds is "canary diamonds."

What is a yellow diamond worth?

The value of a yellow diamond can vary depending on several factors, such as the intensity and quality of its colour, carat weight, cut, and clarity. Typically, a yellow diamond with acceptable clarity and colour can cost between $3,000 to $5,000 per carat. However, the diamond price can escalate significantly for a fancy vivid yellow diamond, ranging from $8,000 to $16,000 per carat.

What are the most famous yellow diamonds in the world?

There are several famous yellow diamonds in the world, some of which are:

  • The Tiffany Yellow Diamond was a 128.54-carat fancy yellow diamond discovered in South Africa and acquired by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1878. It is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered.
  • The Incomparable diamond - a 407.48-carat brownish-yellow diamond found in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1980s. It is considered one of the largest diamonds ever discovered and is valued at over $50 million.
  • The Oppenheimer Diamond - a 253.70-carat yellow diamond discovered in South Africa in 1964. It was named after its former owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, and is currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • The Allnatt Diamond - a 101.29-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond found in the De Beers Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa in 1953. It was named after its former owner, Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, and is known for its intense yellow colour.
  • The Golden Eye Diamond is a 43.51-carat fancy intense yellow diamond found in South Africa. It was named after the 1995 James Bond movie "GoldenEye" and is owned by an anonymous collector.