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  • Writer's pictureRayah Levy, FCD Invest President

The World's Most Famous Yellow Diamonds

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Did you know?

Yellow is the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring.

The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system.

Yellow gemstones are believed to aid in clarity for decision-making, boost concentration, increase energy, and offer relief from burnout, panic, nervousness, or exhaustion.

The unique color of yellow diamonds comes from the presence of nitrogen in their composition. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light, making the stone a yellow shade. Depending on the amount of nitrogen, a yellow diamond could range from light to dark.

While nitrogen is responsible for yellow color in diamonds, it is how the nitrogen is bound in the diamond that causes the color. When nitrogen is incorporated into a diamond, a single nitrogen atom takes the place of a single carbon atom. Diamonds containing nitrogen in this form are classified as Type Ib. They exhibit yellow color because the single nitrogen atoms absorb light in the violet and blue portion of the spectrum, resulting in our perceiving the color yellow.

The Intensities go from light yellow to fancy light yellow diamonds, and to the fancy yellow diamonds, and all the way to the beautiful, rare, and expensive intense yellow diamond, and vivid yellow diamond.

Famous Yellows

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond

With an original weight of 287.4ct, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. After being found in the South African Kimberley mine in 1878, it was polished into a cushion-shaped stellar brilliant cut of 128.54 carats. This antique cut has 82 facets – 24 more than a traditional round brilliant to maximize its brilliance. The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is on display at Tiffany & Co.'s New York City store.

The Kimberley Octahedral

The Kimberley Octahedral diamond, also referred to as the 616 Diamond (a reference to its carat weight), is the largest naturally formed octahedral diamond crystal discovered in the world. As its name suggests, the stone was found in the Kimberley region of South Africa, one of the most renowned diamond-producing areas in the world. The diamond was discovered in the Dutoitspan Mine in 1972 – just over a century after the first diamonds were discovered in Kimberley. The spellbinding Kimberley Octahedral is on display at the Diamond Vault at the Big Hole in Kimberley.

The Sun Of Africa Yellow Diamond

The Sun of Africa Yellow Diamond is one of the most breath-taking gemstones in the world. The 127-carat yellow diamond was discovered at South Africa’s Kimberley mines in 2007. Shortly after its discovery, the diamond was taken to the Netherlands where it was later cut and polished to a 70-carat pear shape spectacle that displays dancing flashes of light from every angle. The color of a yellow diamond ranges from light yellow to a vivid canary yellow, the brightest and most dazzling of all. The GIA classifies the Sun Of Africa Yellow Diamond as Fancy Vivid Yellow, the most precious and rarest variety of yellow diamonds.

The Incomparable Diamond

The Incomparable Diamond is one of the heaviest gemstones ever found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, weighing 890 carats in its rough state. The mammoth stone was found by a young girl playing in wreckage outside her home. The family sold the diamond to a jeweler and it later reached the hands of Donald Zale of Zale Corporation. It took four years to analyze and cut the stone, after which it emerged as a 407.78-carat trilliant cut. It currently holds the record for the largest internally flawless diamond and third largest diamond in the world.

The Cora Sun Drop

Due to their rarity, intense yellow diamonds are more expensive than white diamonds – most of the time, considerably so. In November 2011, the 110.3-carat Cora Sun Drop was sold for $10.9 million at Sotheby's auction in Geneva. The anonymous telephone bidder set a world record price for a yellow diamond. As the largest known pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond in the world, the Cora Sun Drop was found in South Africa in 2010. The decision to cut the stone into a pear shape, a meticulous process that took six months, was based on the diamond’s intense yellow color. The pear cut is a popular choice for Fancy Yellow diamonds with a very intense color. Whereas yellow diamonds with a slightly lighter tone are often cut into a square shape to enhance their color intensity.

The Cross Of Asia Diamond

The Cross Of Asia Diamond was discovered at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa in 1902 as a 280-carat crystal. The first cut was to 142 carats. The diamond was then cut three more times: First to 112 carats, then to a cushion-cut of 109.28 carats and finally, in 1993, into a radiant-cut of 79.12 carats with table facets that resemble a Maltese cross. The current cut has eliminated all flaws. The Cross Of Asia is certified as a Fancy Yellow diamond that is internally flawless.

The 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Diamond

Named in honor of the 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, this stone is the largest diamond ever found in Russia or the former USSR. The 342.57-carat Fancy lemon yellow raw diamond was mined at the Mir kimberlitic pipe in Yakutia, Russia in 1980. Since 2016, the diamond has been kept in the Russian Diamond Fund in the Moscow Kremlin.

Yellow diamonds may also have a secondary hue like orange or brown. Pure natural yellow diamonds of an intense shade are sometimes referred to as Canary Diamonds or Canary Yellow Diamonds. They are the most common form of colored diamonds.

If you are interested in purchasing or selling fancy color diamonds as an investment, please email Rayah Levy at to discuss your personalized long-term luxury investment asset strategy.

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