What causes a diamond to turn yellow? Nitrogen. During formation, if nitrogen sneaks into a diamond’s crystal structure and replaces a carbon atom, that substitution can cause the crystal to selectively absorb blue wavelengths of light and selectively transmit yellow. The intensity of the yellow light transmitted is dependent upon the varying amounts of nitrogen.
Yellow is the second most common diamond color after brown. However, when a diamond’s yellow color falls outside of the Gemological Institute of America’s D(colorless) to Z(yellow) scale, it becomes rarer and is considered a fancy-color diamond. The GIA grades yellow diamonds in order of increasing color strength. Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid yellow generally command higher prices.
Most cutters choose to fashion yellow diamonds into a fancy shape because of the impact it has on the apparent color when viewed from above. Like the fancy yellow pear shape that I so proudly display on my diamond page, and the beautiful cushion cut my clients chose. I just get enough of those happy yellow wavelengths!
Diamonds can be treated to enhance or change their color using various processes including, HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature), irradiation, annealing, and coating. (Read more on this process) That is one of the many reasons it is vital to buy your diamond from a trusted source that will fully disclose any such treatments and will source diamonds that are accompanied by GIA Certification.
As more and more clients seek non-traditional alternatives to engagement ring center stones, colored diamonds have recently been increasing in demand. And, they come in just about every color of the rainbow!
Which finally brings me to this gorgeous fancy yellow diamond engagement ring, recently created at K. Alan Smith for clients. The couple had viewed many yellow diamonds on their visits to jewelers while traveling throughout the country and had grown to appreciate a strong saturation of yellow.
In my salon, we previewed numerous diamonds over several sittings to capture the feel of each stone in the carat size range sought. I was not bashful with our exhaustive search to provide a selection of diamonds with a dramatic range of color saturation within the Fancy Intense grade. My clients’ eyes preferred a strong, strong saturation of yellow.
Upon contacting a preferred dealer with important European and Asian connections, I discovered two Fancy Intense stones that had been put away in his vault for future GIA re-certification in hopes of obtaining a Vivid grade. These Fancy Intense Yellow stones truly felt more like VIVID stones. The price escalates dramatically when moving from Intense to Vivid on the GIA scale.
Viewing the stones in my salon, the extreme color saturation of both stones allowed my client to make a perfect decision. A true winner was found!
The client was very involved in the ring design process as we developed renderings via our cad design studio. To fabricate the setting according to the client’s vision, it was critical to have sharp visual edges of the platinum ring shank with a soft contour to the upper platform. The 18K yellow gold head with a simple under-carriage presents the intense yellow color well without detracting from the gem. Happy clients make a happy jeweler!
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