With the rapid incline in recent years towards alternative engagement rings came the increase in demand for colored diamond engagement rings.
Naturally, since yellow diamonds - also due to all the advantages they possess - are the most commonly known and bought colored diamonds then so did the demand for yellow diamond engagement rings climbed through the roof.
The Meaning behind Yellow Diamond Engagement Rings
The concept of giving a diamond engagement ring goes back to the days of Rome and perhaps even sooner. However, for us non-royalty, the concept of giving a diamond engagement ring is a much newer that has "caught" only in the 1930s and 40s.
Putting the "blame" towards the De-Beers notorious advertisement aside, there is an obvious and strong meaning and subtext to giving a diamond as a present:
- Diamonds are forever - they do not wear off nor do they break.
- Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth - well… 2nd hardest.
- Diamonds are rare - just like she is one of a kind.
There are also many other interesting facts about diamonds that can be interpreted in a romantic way but these are the top three.
But… yellow diamond engagement rings mean all that and MORE:
According to color psychology, Yellow is the color of Knowledge Intellect and Wisdom. It is uplifting, illuminating, cheerful and fun - it is the best color to provide optimism and enthusiasm. All great features to go along with a newly established life together.
On a different aspect, even though a diamond is considered April's birthstone, a yellow diamond engagement ring can also be considered a good replacement (upgrade) for yellow birthstones like Citrine and Topaz associated with November, the yellow sapphire associated with September and some others.
Common Designs for Yellow Diamond Engagement Rings
You can say that there are two hypothesizes about how one should mount a yellow diamond. The first states to set it in white gold or platinum and surround it with white diamonds allowing the contrast between the two to emphasis the yellow diamond. The second states the exact opposite - mount it in yellow gold and even surround it with yellow diamonds, melee or big sidestones, in order to enhance the yellow color of the center diamond.
Who is correct?
As always - You!
It is mainly a matter of personal taste. If your future wife favors yellow gold then go for yellow, if she cares for white, go white (or platinum). However, in both cases, there are guidelines on how to do it correctly…
If you choose to mount the diamond in white gold for the sake of contrast, which is also the current trend for yellow diamond engagement rings, then make sure not to "harm" or diminish the diamond's color - after all, this is what you bought it for.
While jewelers that are used to deal with white colorless diamonds would want to leave the bottom open so that the light will go through, this actually makes the diamonds appear whiter (which is good for colorless diamonds). In yellow diamond engagement rings the suggestion is to mount the diamond inside a closed yellow gold basket - this is true even if you choose white gold / platinum setting. This will dramatically enhance the yellow color, as far as causing fancy light yellow to appear as fancy yellow. If the design allows it, a delicate yellow gold bezel also helps.
Yellow melee and sidestones are also often used. The "problem" with it is that it is extremely hard to match the exact yellow shade and a different shade may look bad.
Here are pictures of commonly used designs for yellow diamond engagement rings. Keep in mind that these are the general designs; there are plenty of "minor" adjustments you can do in order to personalize the ring for the taste of your loved one, for better usage of budget or even simply because the diamond's cut dictates it.
Generally speaking, as can be seen from the pictures above, Pave' shank or split shank and halo are played in various ways.
In fact, one of the most common ways to design a custom made ring is to mix and match. Dismantle in your mind (or with the help of CAD software) the parts that make the rings that you like and make one completely of your own. These changes that might be considered negligible on their own, but when combined, make a completely different ring - your ring.
The cost of Yellow Diamond Engagement Rings
Without entering into too much detail, here are the key parameters / elements / factors that define the cost of a yellow diamond engagement ring. Knowing them will enable you to easily calculate (or at least estimate) how much a certain ring should cost.
Alternatively, you would be able to play better with your budget in order to achieve a perfect ring.
Ring's Material -
The main materials that are used for the casting of diamond rings are Platinum, 18k gold and 14k gold. While it does not matter if it is yellow gold or white gold, the gold karat does matter as it indicates the percentage of gold in the alloy (18 out of 24 vs 14 out of 24). Platinum is even more expensive.
During the process of creation there is a certain amount of material that is used. The price of the material is calculated per gram. This means that heavy rings, for whatever reason - ring size, wide shank and decorations etc. do tend to cost more.
Modeling - Semi Mounted vs Custom-Made
A ring's design (model) can be created from scratch. This could be done either because you are going for a very unique design you had envisioned or simply because you want the design to be 100% fitted with the measurements of the diamond. Another way to go (assuming you are going for a "regular" design) is to use a semi-mounted ring. A semi mounted ring is a model that fits a range of diamond mm measurements and is adjusted for the diamond. This option is a lot cheaper because it saves the modeling and it has all of the advantages (price wise) of mass production.
Additional stones -
Most popular ring trends include side stones. It could be a 3 stone ring, a ring with Pave' shank, a halo or anything else that may come to mind. Not surprisingly, these additional diamonds cost money… As mentioned above, when it comes to yellow diamond engagement rings, the two most common options are white colorless diamonds to enhance the contrast of the yellow, or the opposite approach and choose yellow colored diamonds as sitestones. The same price methodology of yellow vs white which applies to large diamonds also applies to melee. This means that while weak yellow diamonds (fancy light yellow melee) will cost less than whites, strong yellow diamonds (intense / vivids) will cost much more.
Amount of additional stones -
While the stones themselves are priced per carat in compliance to their quality and size, the setter charges a fee per diamond. A complicated ring with hundreds of small melee diamonds would cost more for the mounting.
Complexity of the Ring -
At the end there is also the labor factor that is in compliance of the ring's complexity. If the ring is extremely complicated, the modeling phase will take longer, the setting might take longer per stone etc. In these cases, the craftsman may increase his charges through all phases of the design.
However, last but definitely not least, the factor that affects the most on the price of a yellow diamond engagement ring is… the yellow diamond!
Technically speaking, putting aside extreme cases like Tiffany's Bird on a Wire, mounting the 100 carat Graff Vivid Yellow and a half a carat fancy yellow should cost the same.
Most "normal" settings, even a setting for a ring you designed on your own and custom made from scratch, the range of prices goes from $500 solitaire to $2,000 in rare cases for a platinum designed ring with LOTS of melee diamonds – and that includes the melee diamonds themselves (big sidestones can cost bit more).
With that in mind, if we will examine an average priced engagement ring of $6,000 and use a common yellow diamond engagement ring design - custom made halo with pave' shank that costs approximately $1,500 - the actual ring is only 25% of the engagement ring ($1,500 / $6,000). As mentioned above, in a $10,000 engagement ring the mounting is still $1,500 and therefore takes only 15% of the ring's price.
Now that we have established that the yellow diamond itself is the most important part of the ring's value, let's see how we can use smart custom setting to our advantages.
Tips and Tricks for Mounting Yellow Diamond Engagement Rings
Smart setting can do wonders to the yellow diamond. Yes… not to the ring, to the diamond.
The easiest way to understand just how a diamond and its attributes can be affected by the actual mounting would be to go according to the GIA's Four Cs of diamond grading (Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color).
It is often said that Cut is the most important factor within the 4 C's. The reason being that poorly cut diamonds have no life - no brilliance and no sparkle. But in colored diamonds, diamonds are cut to maximize color and not brilliance. The result can sometimes be a crooked diamond, a thick girdle diamond etc. With custom made setting you can (and should) compensate these "flaws" and hide them or alternatively have the eye focus (subconsciously) on other parts of the diamond.
Carat refers to the weight that for most means the size of the diamond. If you cannot afford a large diamond (and wish for one), there are couple of setting tricks you can use for the same appearance (at least for a certain distance) - you can surround the yellow diamond with a yellow gold bezel or surround it with a halo of melee diamonds with similar yellow shade. Both will help creating a larger yellow sparkle.
Flawless and VVS yellow diamonds cost a lot more than SI1 diamonds. An si1 clarity diamond can have a fracture (gletz) or a black spot next to girdle (on its side). This diamond can cost a lot less and proper allocation of the prongs can easily hide the flaw.
It is a common belief that slightly yellow tinted colorless diamonds (H color and below) are good enough for settings with yellow gold. The reason for that is that the yellow gold affects the color of the diamond – why pay for a D color if the yellow gold would make it just as yellow as H color diamond?
The same goes with yellow diamonds only that here we can use it for our own good – to enhance the color of the diamond. Placing a yellow diamond in a yellow gold bezel setting or sunk in a yellow gold tub from the bottom will tremendously enhance the yellow color of the diamond. A fancy light can easily appear fancy and so on.