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A preference for yellow gemstones in jewelry signals a warm, open, and optimistic personality. If this is you, maybe you’d like to display your own sunny disposition on your finger! Yet, a cursory look will show that yellow gemstones can be uncommon, hard-to-find, and sometimes quite expensive.
This guide gives you ten of the best yellow gemstones for everyday jewelry, as well as places to kickstart your search. Our selection spans a range of styles, hardnesses, and shades – the better to find the gem suited to the wearer’s unique personality.
What you should consider in your yellow gemstone
1 – Toughness
Not all that glitters…is tough enough to wear on a ring every day! Jewelry that you will wear constantly such as a wedding ring or an engagement ring will be subject to a certain level of trauma – like scraping or knocking against unkind surfaces as you go about your day.
Gemstone durability is quantified via the Mohs hardness scale, a tool geologists use to describe a gem’s hardness by measuring the ability of a harder substance to scratch a softer substance. Aim for a gem with a hardness of at least 6.5 to ensure they are scratch-resistant and not prone to breaking or chipping. For added protection, choose a ring with a secure setting to prevent chipping or losing your yellow gemstone.
2 – Clarity
Yellow tends to be a much lighter color than others, which means that imperfections in yellow gems are that much more visible compared to say, a darker blue or green gemstone. Inclusions (substances trapped inside a gem during its formation) will be more likely to show here. With a few exceptions, the darker or more noticeable the inclusion, the less attractive your yellow gemstone will be. Inclusions typically bring down the value of a gemstone as well.
For best results, strive to obtain a pure yellow stone with a high clarity grade. This means high transparency and as few inclusions or blemishes as possible.
3 – Availability
Given that perfect yellow gemstones are difficult to achieve, they will also be hard to find. Not to mention, there’s less demand for yellow gemstones than there are for other colors. As such, most physical jewelry stores will not carry yellow gemstones.
You might find more success in obtaining jewelry with yellow gemstones in online stores or from custom jewelers than through traditional jewelry retailers. Wherever you choose to buy, remember to check your jeweler’s after-sales policies and general reputation to protect your investment.
Your guide to the best yellow gemstones
We’ve rounded up ten of the most popular and durable yellow gemstones for you to use in your engagement or wedding ring!
1 – Citrine Ring
Citrine is the most popular yellow semi-precious stone. Fittingly, it gets its name from the French word for “lemon”, citron.
Citrine is a kind of quartz, commonly found in shades ranging from brown, orange, yellow-orange, to lemon yellow. Oddly enough, it is the reddish-orange citrines (called Madeira citrines) that are more valuable than the sunshine yellow citrine that we typically picture! Citrine is a highly transparent gem and is usually faceted to make it even more lustrous. A citrine ring stands out with it’s bright yellow hue.
Technical features: Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. It’s a durable stone that resists scratching. Quartz is also quite abundant, so citrine is inexpensive and easy to replace if damaged. These qualities make it a a good choice for jewelry that will be worn every day, like an engagement or wedding ring.
Meaning: Citrine’s sunny yellow color symbolizes positivity, prosperity, and even healing. It’s the birthstone for the month of November, along with topaz.
Check out: Consider this palladium engagement ring with an oval citrine nestled between two Celtic lover’s knots, symbolizing eternal love!
And also: If you want to go all out with shades of yellow, try this yellow 10-karat gold split-shank ring. The centerpiece is a citrine cut in the shape of a heart, accented by two smaller diamonds.
2 – Yellow Diamond
Diamonds are forever, but if classic colorless diamonds don’t quite capture your personality, you might have a go at yellow diamonds instead!
Traces of nitrogen present in carbon during the formation of the diamonds gives them their yellow color. Yellow diamonds are the most commonly available and thus the most inexpensive of all colored diamonds.
The purest, most intense shade of yellow diamonds are called fancy yellow or canary yellow diamonds. However, most yellow diamonds have hints of other colors. Yellow diamonds with green tints are more expensive, but brown tints in your yellow diamond will decrease its value. If you prefer purely yellow diamonds, consider a lab-irradiated yellow diamond, which will cost much less than a natural canary yellow diamond.
Technical features: Diamonds have a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale. Colored or not, diamonds are extremely durable and scratch-proof. They may be an expensive choice, but they will hold up exceedingly well as an engagement or wedding ring that will be worn constantly.
Meaning: Diamonds are the traditional wedding and engagement gem. As one of the hardest substances in the world, they symbolize a commitment that cannot be broken and lasts forever. Diamonds are the birthstone for the month of April.
Check out: if you’ve got an expensive taste, you’ll love this platinum band set halfway with colorless diamonds, holding up a round intense yellow diamond framed by a ring of smaller round colorless diamonds. The centerpiece is set in a frame made of 18-karat white and yellow gold.
And also: You might also love this sterling silver band featuring a center row of princess-cut yellow diamonds, bordered top, and bottom by smaller round-cut white diamonds.
And lastly: If you prefer something much less ostentatious, consider this single square yellow diamond set at the center of a plain platinum band. Classy doesn’t have to be flashy!
3 – Yellow Topaz
Some say topaz gets its name from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means “fire”, most likely a reference to topaz’ fiery hues. Others say it’s named after the Greek island of Tapazios (now St. John’s Island). Whatever its origins, topaz has persisted through the years in being one of the most popular yellow gemstones today!
Topazes come in a range of bright, warm colors from orange to dark yellow to bright yellow. A darker variety of topaz called the Imperial Topaz is rare and valuable, but the usual merry yellow shades of topaz are common and inexpensive. Topazes are high in clarity, and their brilliance increases when faceted.
Technical features: Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, so it is a durable, scratch-resistant stone. This makes it suitable for everyday wear in wedding and engagement jewelry.
Meaning: Topaz and citrine are birthstones for the month of November. Just like citrine, topaz is a stone that traditionally means happiness and prosperity.
Check out: Consider this emerald-cut yellow topaz framed by white diamond side stones and set in a solid 14-karat white gold ring!
And also: If you’re after something simpler, you might like this Imperial Topaz in a marquise cut. No other gems are present to take away the focus from the topaz. The ring is made of sterling silver.
4 – Yellow Tourmaline
We’ll tell you as early as now: tourmalines in themselves are not uncommon (they’re nicknamed the “rainbow gemstone”, as tourmalines can be found in almost every color) but you’ll have heaps of trouble finding jewelry that uses yellow tourmaline specifically as they are extremely rare! Thus, they can also be quite expensive.
Bright yellow tourmalines get their color from manganese and iron during crystal formation. Still, purely yellow tourmalines are difficult to create naturally, so expect inclusions. When faceted, yellow tourmalines can be quite brilliant.
Technical features: Tourmaline ranks at 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. If used in jewelry worn daily, a tourmaline will last with proper maintenance.
Meaning: Many cultures believe tourmaline has healing and strengthening properties that vary depending on the color of gem you choose. Yellow tourmaline specifically is used for healing the solar plexus chakra, which is related to ego and self-esteem.
Check out: Due to their rare nature, yellow tourmalines are not usually carried by physical jewelry stores. You’ll have more luck searching online. Start your hunt with this oval canary yellow tourmaline ringed by small white diamonds, set in a ring of platinum supported by an 18-karat yellow gold frame.
5 – Yellow Sapphire
Sapphires are stereotypically blue, but the truth is, sapphires can come in any color (except red because a red sapphire is rightly called a ruby).
All sapphires are made of corundum. They turn yellow because of iron impurities during crystal formation. Yellow sapphires come in a range of yellow shades, from pale to quite vivid. The higher the iron content, the brighter the yellow hue, and the more valuable the gem. Nevertheless, yellow sapphires are typically still less expensive than blue sapphires and rubies. Heat treatment and irradiation can also be done to sapphires to improve their yellow coloring.
Technical features: Sapphires have a Mohs hardness ranking of 9 – almost as hard as diamonds! A yellow sapphire will be incredibly resilient and resistant to scratches and breakage. It will require regular maintenance to prevent the gem from clouding.
Meaning: Yellow sapphires are said to bring about luck in financial ventures.
Check out: Consider this round cut yellow sapphire nestled in a diamond-shaped frame of small diamonds. The band of the ring is made of platinum and is also set with diamonds.
And also: If you’re searching for a little extra flair, have a look at this swirly palladium and 18-karat yellow gold ring set with a yellow sapphire center stone and accented with small diamonds.
6 – Yellow Zircon
Zircon gets its name from zargun, a Persian word meaning “gold-colored”. It’s a fitting explanation if you’re on the hunt for yellow zircon, but quite ironic because the common image of zircon is blue!
Despite this, yellow zircon is available in a range of shades from golden brown to vivid yellow. Brighter yellow hues can often be produced through heat treatment. Zircon produces a brilliance comparable to a diamond with proper faceting.
When buying yellow zircon jewelry, you might also hear it referred to as melichrysos and jargon.
Technical features: As comparable as zircon looks to diamond, its drawback is actually that it’s brittle and soft. Zircon has a hardness of only 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale; care must be taken to avoid knocks and prevent chipping or scratching of the stone.
Meaning: Zircon is the birthstone for December. Zircon is believed to improve mental capacity and to stimulate the mind to study and do research.
Check out: You might enjoy this sterling silver double band ring set with a yellow zircon from Cambodia, accented by cubic zirconias.
And also: For a deeper hue, consider this cocktail ring made from 14-karat yellow gold set with a large, round yellow-orange zircon. White diamonds encircle the center stone and extend onto the ring band.
7 – Amber
Amber is basically tree resin that has fossilized, sometimes with interesting results! Unlike other gemstones, where inclusions are undesirable, inclusions increase the value of amber. Unique patterns, fossilized plants, and even insects make an amber gemstone more distinct, driving up its price.
Amber comes in a range of yellow hues; the darker the yellow, the more valuable the gemstone. Amber gemstones sometimes undergo heat treatment to deepen the color. Amber rarely naturally occurs in large sizes; big amber stones are likely reconstituted from many smaller pieces.
The largest deposit of amber in the world can be found in the Baltic region in Northern Europe. Baltic amber has the largest amounts of succinic acid compared to amber mined from other locations; it is said that succinic acid is responsible for Baltic amber’s healing qualities.
Technical features: The major drawback for amber is that it is very soft. It ranks only a 2 on the Mohs hardness scale, and is sensitive to certain chemicals like alcohol and cologne. It will also fracture when exposed to large changes in temperature.
Meaning: Healers say amber has purifying and cleansing abilities. Wearing amber can reduce stress and negative mental energies.
Check out: Show off your taste for honeyed hues with this amber cocktail ring made with gold-plated sterling silver. The center stone is a round, honey-colored amber framed with cubic zirconias.
And also: If you want something flashier, consider this Baltic amber ring set in wrought sterling silver.
And lastly: Hailing from Russia where genuine Baltic amber is mined, this ring features an oval center stone of Baltic amber set in a ring of sterling silver. The flower-shaped cut-outs all along the band gives the ring a distinct appearance.
8 – Yellow Jade
Jade turns yellow due to the mineral tantalum entering the crystal during its formation. Jade can be made of two minerals, nephrite or jadeite, and both types can come in yellow.
Nephrite is opaque and solid-colored and has a more resinous luster. Nephrite often comes in large pieces suitable for carving and sculpting and is more commonly found than jadeite. Jadeite is translucent, giving the stone a “colored oil” appearance, and has a vitreous luster. Jadeite occurs in smaller pieces and is generally valued higher than nephrite (although yellow jadeite is still less expensive than green jadeite).
Shades of yellow jade range from deep gold to pale lemon yellow.
Technical features: Jade has a Mohs hardness ranking of 6. It’s not stupendous in toughness, but it will do the job! True jade is strong enough to be used in percussion musical instruments; however, much of the jade that is on the market is of lesser quality, having undergone chemical treatments. Treated jade is more fragile than true jade.
Meaning: Yellow Jade is traditionally a symbol of friendship, loyalty, and wealth.
Check out: Wear this round jade stone set in sterling silver for good luck!
And also: If you’re looking for something with a little more punch, try this vintage lemon yellow jade stone ringed with citrine. The citrines are arranged like spokes around the oval jade stone, making the whole ring look like a little sun perched on your finger!
9 – Yellow Chrysoberyl
Chrysoberyl gets its name from the Greek word for “golden”, chrysos, and beryllos, for its beryllium composition. Chrysoberyl has two popular varieties, alexandrite, and cymophane (also known as cat’s eye). However, if you’re in the market for a yellow gemstone, ordinary chrysoberyl is what you’re looking for.
Ordinary chrysoberyl is translucent to a transparent gem that comes in shades of yellow-green to yellow. It is not as expensive as either alexandrite or cymophane.
When cut and faceted artfully, ordinary chrysoberyl has a vitreous, glass-like luster and can be rather brilliant. However, this gem lacks fire, which means it is unable to successfully disperse light into the colors of the spectrum.
Technical features: Chrysoberyl is actually quite hardy, with a ranking of 8.5 on the Mohs scale. Only sapphires and diamonds are harder than this gem! Chrysoberyl makes for another durable choice for engagement and wedding rings that will see daily wear.
Meaning: If you’ve been holding on to grudges, chrysoberyl might be the gem for you. Chrysoberyl is used by healers to promote feelings of forgiveness, understanding, and compassion.
Check out: Try this lime chrysoberyl ring set in 14-karat yellow gold. The gem is securely fitted with eight prongs in a basket-style ring. Scrollwork details the basket, and you can opt to have diamonds added to the shank.
And also: You might also love this oval chrysoberyl ring! The center stone is framed by small round cut diamonds, and the ring is made of 14-karat solid white gold. Small diamonds are also embedded in the shank.
10 – Heliodor
Heliodor is made from beryl, the same mineral that creates emeralds and aquamarines. Its name means “gift from the Sun”; from Helios, the Greek god of the sun, and doron, the Greek word for gift.
Heliodor is cheaper than its beryl siblings. Also called yellow beryl or golden beryl, heliodor comes in vivid, highly saturated shades of yellow. Generally, this gemstone has high transparency and is not given to inclusions. Heliodor may go through radiation to bring out color and is often cut in unusual shapes to maximize its superb clarity.
Technical features: Heliodor ranks between 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. It’s another durable choice for wedding and engagement rings and is sometimes used as a more affordable substitute for yellow sapphires.
Meaning: Given its ties to the ancient god of the Sun, heliodor is believed to have illuminating qualities. Heliodor is said to promote truthfulness, confidence, charisma, and warmth – traits that promote bringing your authentic self out into the sun.
Check out: You might enjoy this handcrafted heliodor ring framed with soldered pieces of fine, textured silver surrounding the gemstone. The ring itself is made of sterling silver.
And also: Consider this oval, multi-faceted heliodor set into a split-shank full halo ring. The gem is surrounded by small diamonds; the ring itself can be made in your choice of 14- or 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold.
Shine bright like a [yellow] diamond!
Yellow gemstones are traditionally symbolic of optimism, luck in business, self-esteem, and other positive energies. Though they are an unconventional choice, they are a reflection of the same confidence and warmth in you. We hope this guide to yellow gemstones has helped get you started on your search for the perfect engagement or wedding ring for your sunny personality!