Yellow diamonds are currently in vogue. The singer, Usher is known to be a fan, and owns a watch with his face made out of 1000 tiny yellow diamonds. Yellow diamonds occur naturally but can also be manufactured. Because naturally occurring yellow diamonds are rare, they are expensive. Manufactured diamonds are much more accessible to everybody.
Looking at the historical timeline of diamonds, thought to have been discovered in India in 800BC, yellow diamonds haven't been around that long, at least in the public eye. Yellow diamonds were originally thought to be of inferior quality to the clear diamond we all know so well and it has taken some time for them to become popular.
A yellow diamond is formed in the same way as any other diamond but, if there is nitrogen in the air when they are being formed, they can take on a variety of yellow tones. These can range from a very pale hint of yellow to bright canary or sunshine yellows. It is the more vibrantly colored diamonds that have become popular. If you want to know how a diamond is formed, this is a good resource. Should you want to know how diamonds are manufactured, this site will give you an insight.
In 1877, the Tiffany Yellow diamond was discovered in South Africa and is probably still the most famous yellow diamond known today. The diamond was cut into a cushion style and weighs an amazing 128 carats. Set in what is known as the 'Bird on a Rock' setting, the diamond was made famous by the film 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. Today, the piece, still in the 'Bird' setting, is on permanent display on the ground floor of Tiffany's, New York. More about the Tiffany Yellow can be read here.
There have been other famous yellow diamonds, and the largest is believed to be the Kimberley Octahedron. This huge stone weighs in at an incredible 616 carats. It is the 14th largest, gem quality, rough diamond in the world, and was discovered in the Dutoitspan mine, South Africa, in 1972. More about this stone can be seen here.
The Sancy diamond is another famous example and it has a rather romantic history. Weighing in at 55 carats, this is a yellow diamond which fluoresces yellow and pink. The romantic part of the tale lies in the legend of its origins. Thought to be an Indian diamond, Charles, Duke of Burgundy is said to have lost in on a battlefield in 1477.
The name of the diamond comes from its first verified owner, Nicholas Harlai of Sancy. He was a French ambassador who purchased the diamond in Constantinople in the late 1500's. It passed back and forth, being sold between France and England, ending up with the Astor family, who sold it, in 1978, back to France and it now resides in the Louvre. More about the history of the Sancy yellow diamond can be found here.
Colored diamonds are rare and yellow diamonds are amongst the rarest. Their history makes for fascinating reading and yellow diamonds seem to have finally taken a well deserved place in the history of our love of diamonds.