Where do yellow diamonds come from?

Oct 21, 2022

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Coloured diamonds, including yellow, are the world’s most valuable gems, even more so than colourless diamonds.

Although the yellow diamond is more common than blue, pink, and red diamonds, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), this doesn’t make the yellow stone a cheaper alternative. Far from it, in fact.

First discovered in 1867 in Hopetown – 816kms north-east of Cape Town, the yellow diamond was the first diamond to be found in South Africa. Although not exclusive to the country, South Africa has produced some of the world’s largest and most spectacular yellow diamonds, including the Tiffany Yellow – purchased by Tiffany founder, Charles Tiffany, in 1886. The uncut stone weighed an impressive 287 carats and when designed and cut still weighed more than 128 carats with an estimated worth of USD 30 million in today’s value.

But the Tiffany Yellow isn’t the largest or most expensive yellow diamond to be found. In 1980 the Incomparable diamond was discovered in rubble by a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known then as Zaire. Weighing in at 890 carats in its natural state, the stone was cut and polished and weighed more than 407 carats. The brownish yellow diamond is now set in a diamond necklace and worth a Guinness Record breaking USD 55 million.

Why are yellow diamonds so valuable?

It’s believed that out of 10,000 carats of mined diamonds, only one carat will be a yellow diamond, making the gem rare and precious.

In terms of valuing a yellow diamond, this comes down to the intensity of colour. For a diamond to be yellow it needs the presence of nitrogen during its creation and the level of nitrogen present determines the strength of yellow. The higher the nitrogen level, the more intense the yellow and the higher the price tag due to the rarity of these stones.

Similarly to white diamonds, yellow diamonds are graded using the GIA Colored Diamond Grading System, giving the gems one of six colour grades: Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid. The cut and clarity are also important when valuing a yellow diamond. As with traditional colourless diamonds, how flawless the stone is will affect the price – the fewer inclusions, the more valuable the stone. Ensuring the cut showcases the refracting light and enhances the gem’s natural vivid colour and sparkle will also play a part in the cost. The two best cuts to accentuate and maximise colour saturation are the radiant and cushion cuts which vary from square to rectangular shapes.

Australian yellow diamonds

Although many of the best yellow diamonds come from South Africa, they are found across the globe, including Australia.

In the west Kimberly region, Western Australia, Ellendale mine produces an incredible 50% of the world’s fancy yellow diamonds, and since the 1980s this region in WA has been a huge source of diamonds.

What should you look for when purchasing a yellow diamond?

Aside from cut, clarity and the colour which matches your budget, the way in which a yellow diamond is set can affect the overall look of the colour of the stone. This is important if you intend to purchase loose yellow diamonds as they may appear different once set in metal.

A yellow gold setting could make the diamond’s colour appear darker, whereas a white gold or platinum setting may make the stone look paler. Whether there are other gemstones within the jewellery could also enhance or detract from the beauty of the yellow diamond.

We would recommend visiting a luxury jewellery boutique where you can take the time to view yellow diamonds in different settings. At The Perth Mint, we want you to be safe in the knowledge that the diamond jewellery you’re purchasing is of high quality and will last you a lifetime.

In our landmark heritage-listed building in East Perth, our stylish jewellery boutique is home to some of the globe’s most exclusive yellow diamond and gemstone jewellery. Many pieces are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, as well as the peace of mind that comes with choosing to make a purchase from a Government of Western Australia-owned enterprise with a long-standing reputation for quality and integrity.

As Perth’s premier jewellery destination, our elegantly appointed boutique offers an unsurpassed range of stunning yellow diamond jewellery.

Book your appointment today and one of our highly trained consultants will take the time to assist you in making the perfect choice.