Diamond in the Buff

Dare to stand out in rare yellow diamonds — a cut above the rest

Beth Yorn


Yellow diamonds were once thought to be inferior to the lucid white variety, but naturally occurring yellow diamonds are actually among the rarest, and therefore one of the most sought-after gems.

Diamond crystals form when carbon melts, and pressurizes over time in the earth’s crust. Colored diamonds result from trace elements of impurities, such as hydrogen or nitrogen, fusing with the diamond crystals, says Jeff Koby of Gail Jewelers on El Paseo in Palm Desert. The presence of nitrogen gives yellow diamonds, ranging from pale yellow to vivid canary to deep sunflower, their pigment. “The diamond appears yellow due to selective absorption as the light passes through the diamond,” Koby says.

Found mostly in South Africa, as well as in parts of South America, Australia, Africa, and Arkansas, yellow diamonds are primarily cut into emerald, oval, and pear shapes to accentuate their color, whereas white diamonds are cut to emphasize their brilliance.

The warmth of yellow diamonds compliments warm skin tones, Koby says, and pair perfectly with winter hues — blue, pink, and rose, as well as browns and beiges. “Often, women who prefer something apart from the norm are attracted to fancy-colored diamonds.”

Information: 760-776-7150; gailjewelers.com


Necklace: 18K white and yellow gold necklace featuring 155 (19.60 carats) princess-cut natural fancy yellow diamonds and 318 (18.60 carats) colorless round brilliant-cut diamonds, $117,000.

Bracelet: 18K white and yellow gold bracelet featuring 17 (8.68 carats) princess-cut natural fancy yellow diamonds and 102 (.75 carats) colorless round brilliant-cut diamonds, $42,250.

Earrings:  18K white and yellow gold post earrings featuring two radiant-cut natural fancy light yellow diamonds (approximately two carats each) surrounded by 48 colorless round brilliant-cut diamonds (.34 carats), $43,000.

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