Yellow Diamond vs White Diamond – Which is Better?

choose a yellow or a white diamond

Interactive video listings of yellow and white diamonds from James Allen.

When most people think of shopping for an engagement ring, they usually picture a colorless, white diamond that is full of sparkle and brilliance. In recent years, yellow diamond rings have also made a splash among celebrities and are fast gainly popularity with consumers.

So, is one better than the other? When comparing a yellow diamond vs a white diamond, what are the similarities and differences between them? How do you know what is the right pick for you?

In this article, we take a deep dive into the world of white and yellow diamonds to provide answers to these questions. You will also find out the things to take note of when buying a white or yellow diamond ring and the best places to shop for them.

What Are the Differences Between Yellow And White Diamonds?

comparison of diamonds with different color grades face down

White diamonds are graded face down for their color.

First of all, white diamonds are not really “white” but rather, they are “colorless” and are graded based on their lack of color. Most white diamonds have some hint of body color due to the presence of chemical impurities during their formation process.

White diamonds are graded on a scale of D to Z where D depicts a colorless appearance while Z denotes a light yellow tinge. In the market, most of the white diamonds sold are typically in the D to K color range where they are often perceived and marketed to be of “higher quality”.

Natural yellow diamonds can be found in a range of hues and saturation which are dependent on the amount of nitrogen present in its chemical structure. In the gemological lab, yellow diamonds are graded based on their color saturation into the following categories:

Very Light
Fancy Light
Fancy Intense
Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep or Fancy Dark

yellow diamond gia color chart

Fancy color diamonds are graded face up and assessed for their color distribution.

Unlike white diamonds, higher saturation and more intense color are desired traits for fancy yellow diamonds. Besides the obvious color differences between white and yellow diamonds, the other difference I want to point out is that most fancy yellow diamonds are cut to fancy shapes instead of the popular round shape.

The reason behind this is that the color saturation of a diamond can be easier to manipulate in fancy shapes such as cushion cuts or radiant cuts. In contrast, white diamonds are cut into all types of shapes with the round brilliant cut being the most popular because of the fire and brilliance it displays.

Are Fancy Yellow Diamonds More Expensive Than White Diamonds?

The short answer is, it depends.

When it comes to prices, there are many factors that come into play to determine the value of a diamond. In general, the price of a diamond is largely determined by the 4Cs: cut, carat, clarity and color.

Within the white color range of D-Z, a D color diamond is obviously going to be more expensive than a K color diamond. Likewise, for fancy yellow diamonds, a fancy vivid intensity is rarer than a fancy light intensity and this creates a significant price difference between them.

Check out the price comparison chart of yellow diamonds vs white diamonds across different color ranges compiled below to get an idea of their price differences. For a fair comparison, I’ve kept the variables of the 4Cs like carat weight (1ct) and clarity (VS1) identical.

price comparison of yellow diamonds vs white diamonds which is more expensive

Price of yellow diamonds compared to white diamonds in the 1 carat size range.

Factors like hue and saturation will impact a yellow diamond’s value significantly. Basically, the price of a diamond boils down to one thing – rarity. In nature, fancy vivid yellow diamonds are rarer than white diamonds and the market values them at a higher price. This price difference will accentuate exponentially with higher carat sizes.

On the other hand, a fancy light yellow diamond will cost much less than a D colorless diamond or even a G near colorless diamond. So, it is a misconception to think that fancy color diamonds will always cost more than white colorless diamonds.

Insider tip: If a fancy vivid diamond is too expensive for your budget, you can save money with a fancy intense color diamond and still recreate a similar looking saturation with a complementary setting. For example, choosing a ring design that has yellow prongs can help accentuate the yellow hue of the diamond after it is mounted.

Which is Better For an Engagement Ring? A White or Yellow Diamond?

Over the years, I have bought numerous diamond rings for both my wife and for my own collection purposes.

If you are interested, you can read about the entire buying process and review of the cushion cut yellow diamond ring I bought.  For white, colorless diamond rings, I’ve also documented the different purchases I made recently in these links here and here.



The choice between a white or yellow diamond engagement ring is entirely subjective. However, I would say that white diamonds are more traditional and popular choices for engagement rings. Yellow diamond rings are more trendy and allow people with bold fashion sense to stand out from the crowd.

When it comes to appearances, white diamonds have better sparkle and brilliance because of the way they are cut. On the other hand, yellow diamonds are often cut to retain color saturation at the expense of brilliance.

If you aren’t sure which to buy, I would recommend buying a white color diamond ring as it is the safest bet to make. The best advice I can give you is to find out what the recipient wants and their personality before you start shopping. That will save you a lot of time and headaches during the buying process.

Can You Have The Best of Both Worlds?

For people who are trying to make a choice between a white or yellow diamond ring, what if I told you that you don’t have to? You don’t necessarily have to choose between one or the other because there are ring designs that incorporate both types of diamonds.

Check out some of my favorite white and yellow diamond engagement rings designs that enable you to enjoy the best of both worlds. If you are interested to view more details, simply click on the corresponding images below…double halo white gold yellow diamond rim with colorless center stone

A carefully crafted white and yellow double halo diamond ring that delivers a blinding sparkle to the viewer’s eyes. The color contrast created by the yellow gold metal and white gold metal gives the ring a distinct and alluring appearance.

perimeter out yellow halo diamond engagement ring with white center diamond

This halo ring showcases an open pave halo that is made of 18k yellow gold and mounted with fancy intense yellow diamonds. The outline of the white center diamond is accentuated with a beautiful bright yellow rim.

3 stone diamond ring design multi color yellow white pink

This multi-colored 3 stone diamond engagement ring features a fancy intense yellow cushion cut diamond that is flanked with colorless diamonds. The halos for each of the main diamonds are made of yellow gold and rose gold while being adorned by white and pink diamonds. This symbolic piece of jewelry is a masterpiece of art and creativity.

floral yellow oval diamond ring encased in white and yellow diamond halo

This impressive double halo floral ring design has a stunning oval center stone and 2 intricate halo rims that resemble the petals of a flower. This highly intricate ring design offers massive finger coverage and will definitely turn heads!

These striking designs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s available. Check out Leibish and James Allen to browse through hundreds of breathtaking ring designs that range from simplistic to ultra-intricate styles.

Where to Buy a Yellow Diamond or White Diamond Ring?

gold prong encrusted halo with melees

I bought this cushion cut yellow diamond ring from Leibish recently for my wife.

Whether you are buying a white diamond or a yellow diamond, the bottom line is that you buy from a reliable vendor that offers transparent data and high quality videos like James Allen or Leibish. When dealing with fancy yellow diamonds, every diamond would be unique and there can be variance even with a specific GIA color grade.

In my opinion, the best place to buy a yellow diamond ring is Leibish and Co. where they specialize in fancy color diamonds. Their expertise in making complementary settings that bring out the best in a fancy color diamond is impeccable.

On top of that, their loose diamond selection is massive and this allows you to cherry pick the best diamond for your needs and budget. This is in sharp contrast to local jewelers or non-specialized sellers with limited options in stock and may not even have the correct shape, color or size that you are looking for.

If you are looking for a white diamond ring, James Allen is an ideal place to browse for the perfect diamond ring of your choice. Their intuitive video listings allow you to see exactly what you are buying and their transparent business practice gives you complete peace of mind.

Which Would You Choose – A Yellow or White Diamond Ring?

loose gia certified si2 yellow diamond

See exactly what you are buying and shop risk-free with full confidence at James Allen.

Hopefully, this article has offered useful insights and provided you with a better idea of what white and yellow diamonds are. Both types of diamonds can be beautiful choices for an engagement ring and it really boils down to what you like best.

Pricewise, a fancy yellow diamond is pretty much on par with a white, colorless diamond and won’t break the bank. It is an affordable alternative compared to pink or red diamonds and can help you stand out from the crowd.

Remember, when you are shopping for a diamond, make sure that it is properly certified by GIA as it is an assurance that the stone is untreated and that the diamond’s quality has been accurately assessed.

Now, I want to hear from you. If you are given a choice between a yellow diamond vs a white diamond engagement ring, which would you choose and why? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

If you are shopping for a diamond ring, make sure you check out Leibish for their fancy yellow diamond selections and James Allen for thousands of GIA certified loose diamonds. Both are superb vendors that offer competitive pricing and high quality workmanship.

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