The color yellow is associated with the sun. It exudes cheer, happiness, and warmth and brightens every space.
Yellow gemstones are no different. No wonder they are gaining popularity as jewelry lovers purchase more colored gemstone jewelry.
From bright yellow diamonds to yellow-brown-hued citrine, yellow gems are a beauty to behold. If you’re curious about the different types of yellow gemstones, this guide is for you.
What makes gemstones yellow?
Yellow gemstones sometimes get their color from impurities like nitrogen, iron, chromium, or manganese in the gems’ crystals.
Heat and pressure can also make gemstones yellow.
Beautiful Yellow Gemstones to Know
All yellow gemstones are gorgeous and dazzling, but each is unique. Here are 13 different types you should know.
This sparkly gem makes a bold statement.
Yellow diamonds get their color from the nitrogen in their lattice system.
An exceptionally yellow gemstone contains a high amount of nitrogen—the more intense the yellow, the more expensive the gem.
Yellow diamonds are found in mines worldwide, most commonly in Sierra Leone, Congo, Angola, Central Africa, Brazil, Borneo, and Australia.
They are the hardest yellow gems, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale.
Also known as andradite, yellow garnet gets its color from traces of iron in the gemstone.
The yellow garnet is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a deep golden-yellow gem with a flash of high brilliance.
Found only in Mali, Africa, it’s also known as Mali garnet.
It ranks 7 on the Mohs scale, meaning it’s not brittle. Garnet can remain in its original state for an extended period.
When you hear zircon, do you quickly think of cubic zirconia? Unfortunately, they are not the same. While zircon is a semi-precious stone, cubic zirconia is a synthetic diamond alternative.
Zircon gets its name from the Persian word “zargun”, which means golden-hued. Ranked 7.5 on the Mohs scale, zircon is a semi-precious gemstone.
Zircon is another bright golden-yellow gemstone you may want to explore. Without inclusions, zircon costs $100-$200 per carat.
It mainly exists in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Cambodia, and Tanzania.
Sphene is a crystal-shaped yellow gemstone that gets its color from didymium. Its name comes from the Greek word “sphenos,” which means “wedge.”
It ranks 5.0 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Sphene is mostly finely crushed but sometimes forms large crystals.
Today, gemologists generally know sphene as titanite due to its titanium content.
Yellow beryl ranges in color from pure yellow to golden yellow and results from small iron deposits within the crystal.
It ranks 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Yellow beryl costs $20 per carat, making it a great alternative to its expensive counterparts. However, due to its brittleness, yellow beryl requires careful handling.
Discovered in Namibia in 1913, its current primary sources are Brazil and Madagascar.
💡 Note: The cost of gemstones varies depending on size and luminosity; the larger the stone and the more profound the tint, the more expensive it is, and vice versa.
Yellow tourmaline is a brilliant yellow gemstone that gets its color from traces of vanadium.
A yellow tourmaline is an excellent option if you are looking for an all-African yellow gem. The finest specimens exist in Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia, and Malawi.
It ranks 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. The deeper the color and the bigger the gem, the higher the cost. Yellow tourmaline costs between $200 and $1000 per carat.
Spessartine is a species of garnet also known as mandarin garnet. Traces of manganese give this gemstone its brownish-yellow color.
Its high refractive index (1.789-1.820) causes its high brilliance. It’s a durable gem ranking 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Spessartine is an excellent choice if you like darker shades of yellow.
Spessartine first occurred in Kombat, Namibia. However, it also exists in Nigeria, Sweden, Brazil, and other parts.
This traditional November birthstone is a popular gem.
Although people generally associate topaz with yellow, it comes in other colors like pink, blue, and brown.
In its normal state, topaz is colorless but gets its golden-brown yellow color from impurities. It’s an accessible, inexpensive stone.
Topaz is ranked 8 on the Mohs scale and is believed to represent serenity and empathy.
Citrine, also known as yellow quartz, is a natural but rare gem. It derives its name from the Latin word “citrina” which means “yellow.” The primary source of citrine is Brazil.
Its brownish-yellow color comes from traces of iron. It’s a moderately hard stone as it ranks 7 on the Mohs scale.
Citrine is associated with self-healing, abundance, and positivity.
Sapphire exists in various colors, including blue, pink, green, and yellow. Yellow sapphire gets its color from the iron concentration within its crystals.
If you like sparkly gemstones, yellow sapphire is a great choice. It ranks 9 on the Mohs scale and is scratch resistant.
Sri Lanka takes pride in owning the best yellow sapphire in the world. Yellow sapphire costs anywhere from $185-$310 per carat.
To find out if your yellow sapphire is pure, ask for a certificate issued by national gem societies like the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America. Alternatively, you could visually examine the stone. If it contains visible bubbles or scratches, it’s fake.
💡 Take note: Real yellow sapphires have a smooth surface.
Another name for yellow opal is fire opal or Mexican opal.
Yellow opal forms when the silica-rich lava in ancient volcanoes traps water within itself. Its bright color (ranging from yellow to red) comes from the heat and pressure during its formation.
This flame-colored gem mainly exists in Mexico. It ranks 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.
Triphane is a colorless to a light yellow transparent variant of spodumene.
Its name comes from a Greek word meaning “appearing threefold” or “three aspects.” This name points to triphane’s trichroic properties, meaning it displays three different colors when viewed from three different angles.
Triphane ranks 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, but it’s a brittle gemstone.
Amber occurs in several colors, with orange-yellow being the most common.
This gemstone forms from fossilized tree resin through a process called polymerization. Because the resin is sticky tree sap before hardening, it’s not unusual to find inclusions of plants and insects in amber.
However, amber is known to scratch easily as it ranks between 2 and 2.5 on the Mohs scale.
How to Tell Yellow Gemstones Apart
Many yellow gemstones look similar, but if you look close enough, you’ll observe slight differences. Knowing how to tell them apart will guide your buying decision.
Diamonds are highly refractive, while citrines have a lower refractive index, meaning diamonds have a higher sparkle than citrine and other gemstones.
Meanwhile, citrine is similar to topaz which makes it difficult to differentiate. Sapphire has properties similar to diamonds, such as a high refractive index. Amber is easy to detect as it’s a honey-colored mineraloid – it doesn’t occur in crystal form.
The best way to identify gemstones and tell them apart is by visiting a licensed gemologist. They’ll use their experience, skills, and gadgets to tell you what stones you have.
FAQs About Yellow Gemstones
We’ve answered other questions you might have about yellow gemstones.
What is the most common yellow gemstone?
Citrine is the most common yellow gemstone. It’s a variety of quartz which is an abundant and accessible stone.
What is the rarest yellow gemstone?
Yellow tourmaline is the rarest yellow gemstone.
What stone looks like a yellow diamond?
Ranked 9 on the Mohs scale, yellow sapphire is the closest alternative to yellow diamond, ranked 10 on the Mohs scale.
Go Forth and Shine
With all these yellow gemstone options, you have several options.
The yellow diamond is your best bet if you’d like an expensive, sparkly piece. For a toned-down yellow gem, citrine is a great choice. And if you’re on a budget, you probably screamed, “yellow topaz”!
The abundance of yellow gemstones doesn’t leave anyone out. Whichever gemstone you choose, you’re sure to bring warmth wherever you go.
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