Gems & Gemology, Summer 2005, Vol. 41, No. 2
Characterization and Grading of Natural-Color Yellow Diamonds
John M. King, James E. Shigley, Thomas H. Gelb, Scott S. Guhin, and Matthew Hall, and Wuyi Wang
To better understand the yellow diamonds currently in the marketplace, as well as identify possible changes in their trends seen over a five-year period, researchers at the GIA Gem Laboratory analyzed gemological data collected on more than 24,000 natural-color yellow diamonds examined in the calendar years 1998 and 2003. These data included color grade, type of cut, clarity grade, weight, ultraviolet fluorescence, and UV-visible and infrared spectra. Among natural-color colored diamonds, those with a yellow hue are some of the most abundant; even so, they are much less common than the colorless to light yellow diamonds associated with GIA’s D-to-Z color grading scale. Since the yellow color is a continuation of the gradation of color associated with the D-to-Z scale, there can be misconceptions about the color grading, which involves different procedures from those used for D-to-Z grading. The grading and appearance aspects, as well as other characteristics of yellow diamonds, are discussed to clarify these differences. The authors have also identified five subgroups of type I yellow diamonds, which (with some overlap) are characterized by representative spectra and color appearances.