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Canary Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

Canary Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

You’ve all probably heard that someone somewhere mentioned a canary diamond. It’s not every day that you hear a diamond having a special and distinct name like that, so what are canary diamonds?

Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about canary diamonds, from the basic information needed to understand what these diamonds are, to some interesting facts about canary diamonds and their history.

These diamonds are quite rare, and very popular in the world of diamonds, so if you’re interested in diving deeper into the knowledge about diamonds, you’ll need to know what canary diamonds are! Now, without further ado, let’s jump straight in and see what we have in store for you related to canary yellow diamonds.

What Are Canary Diamonds?

Simply put, canary diamonds are yellow diamonds that are deeper in color (have a higher color grading). Although it may look simple, it’s not – but the most important fact is that these canary diamonds belong to the yellow diamond category.

And not just any yellow diamond category – the fancy yellow diamond category. These fancy yellow diamonds are some of the most sought-after diamonds out there. Tremendous popularity is one of the key traits of yellow diamonds.

Canary diamonds got their name because their shine and color closely resemble a canary bird. These birds are known for their vivid yellow color and give a perfect name for the diamonds we’re going to talk about today.

If we look at what canary diamonds are from the chemical perspective, they’re not that different from any other regular, or fancy colored diamond. The only thing that differentiates a yellow, or a canary, diamond from a regular diamond is the presence of nitrogen in its composition.

Said nitrogen slightly alters the forming process, and instead of canary diamonds looking like regular diamonds, they have that distinctive yellow color. Taking that into consideration, there isn’t any other difference between regular diamonds and canary diamonds other than the nitrogen presence and the color that is the result.

Can Canary Diamonds Be Lab-Grown?

Lab-grown diamonds have been becoming popular for the last couple of decades, and for a good reason. For just a fraction of the price (that we’re going to discuss later), you get the same exact diamond that you would otherwise.

But, can diamonds that are as special looking as canary diamonds be formed in a lab?

The answer is yes, they can. And it’s awesome! The popularity of canary diamonds really made it hard to get your hands on one of them, so the lab production of these yellow gems helped out tremendously the situation on the market.

What makes lab-grown canary diamonds so amazing is the fact that they’re easily created, often have good clarity grades, and vivid colors that won’t make you suspect that they’re grown in a lab for a second!

But after all, should you consider buying a canary diamond that was grown in a lab?

Of course, you should! It’s an amazing opportunity to save some extra cash that can be reinvested in a slightly better cut, or a nicer setting that will help your canary diamond stand out even more.

Where Do Canary Diamonds Come From?

Now that we know that canary diamonds can come from labs, let’s focus more on where do these amazing diamonds come in the wild!

Putting aside the fact that these diamonds look amazing, they are one of the most common colored diamonds out there, so we should take a look at where they come from and how rare (or not rare) they really are!

South Africa

South Africa is the largest exporter of canary diamonds, although there are some other places around the world that do have an envious amount of yellow and canary diamonds coming from them.

When it comes to South Africa, in the year 2020. they produced over 8.5 million carats. Taking into consideration that one in 10,000 carats of diamonds is a yellow diamond, around 850 carats of yellow diamonds came from South Africa in the year we mentioned.

Africa, as a continent, is well-known for the number of diamonds they export, and some of the rarest vivid colored diamonds such as red diamonds and green diamonds come from this continent.

Other countries that also have a big amount of yellow carats exported every year are Central Africa and Australia.


Australia is a country that is well-known all around the world because of its diamond exports, so it’s not a surprise that they also export a big amount of yellow diamonds each year.

An interesting fact related to Australia and yellow diamonds is the fact that the Ellendale diamond operation that is located in Western Australia once produced half the world’s fancy yellow diamonds for a number of years.

Today, that’s not the fact, but Australia remains one of the leading countries when it comes to the export of fellow and canary diamonds.

Central Africa

The Central African Republic is another African country that is also widely known as one of the small countries that produce a lot of the world’s diamonds. Yellow diamonds are not an exception to this, so there is a good amount of canary diamonds coming from there.

This country exported 378,000 carats of diamond in 2012, and it’s quite impressive. One thing to keep in mind is that the Central African Republic is known for its blood diamonds so there is still a large black market for diamonds such as canary diamonds out there.

Related Read: Why Does Africa Have So Many Diamonds?

Most Popular & Well-Known Canary Diamonds

Since these diamonds are so popular, there were many of them that were more popular than the rest of the yellow and canary diamonds. In the honor of those yellow diamonds that have an iconic name and the story behind them, we decided to tell you all about the 5 most famous yellow and canary diamonds that have ever existed.

The list of the most popular diamonds:

  1. The Kimberley Octahedral
  2. The Sun Of Africa Yellow Diamond
  3. The Florentine Diamond
  4. The Incomparable Diamond
  5. The Allnatt Diamond

Now that you’ve seen the list, let’s take a look at what hides behind these iconic diamonds!

The Kimberley Octahedral

The Kimberley Octahedral Diamond, popularly known as the 616 Diamond because of its carat weight, is the world’s largest naturally formed octahedral diamond crystal. The stone was discovered in the Kimberley region of South Africa, one of the world’s most known diamond-producing regions.

In 1972, the Dutoitspan Mine unearthed the diamond, just over a century after the first diamonds were discovered in Kimberley. The enthralling Kimberley Octahedral can be seen at the Diamond Vault at Kimberley’s Big Hole.

The Sun Of Africa Yellow Diamond

The Sun of Africa Yellow Diamond is one of the world’s most breathtaking diamonds. The 127-carat yellow diamond was discovered in the Kimberley mines of South Africa in 2007. The diamond was sent to the Netherlands shortly after its discovery, where it was cut and polished into a 70-carat pear shape extravaganza with dancing flashes of light from every aspect.

A yellow diamond’s color ranges from pale yellow to a brilliant canary yellow, which is the brightest and most dazzling of all. The Sun Of Africa Yellow Diamond is classified by the GIA as Fancy Vivid Yellow, the most valuable and uncommon kind of yellow diamond

The Florentine Diamond

The Florentine Diamond must be one of the world’s most enigmatic diamonds, given its location is unknown. This 137.27-carat light yellow double rose-cut diamond with nine sides and 126 facets has a fascinating backstory that sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie.

The stone has been referred to as the Tuscany Diamond, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the Austrian Yellow Diamond throughout history, all of which refer to its previous owners. Throughout the years, the Florentine Diamond has passed through numerous hands, both legitimately and unlawfully.

According to legend, the diamond was lost while being worn by the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, in combat. A foot soldier discovered it and sold it for a solitary cent. Many renowned jewelers around the world assume that the Florentine Diamond has been re-cut to a smaller 80-carat stone decades later after many wars and battles have passed. Nobody has any idea where it is.

The Incomparable Diamond

The Incomparable Diamond, measuring 890 carats in rough form, is one of the heaviest gemstones ever discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A young kid was playing among the wreckage outside her home when she discovered the massive stone. The diamond was sold by the family to a jeweler, and it eventually ended up in the hands of Donald Zale of the Zale Corporation.

After four years of analysis and cutting, the stone was revealed as a 407.78-carat trilliant cut. It is now the largest internally perfect diamond and the third-largest diamond on the planet.

The Allnatt Diamond

The Allnatt Diamond is a 101.29-carat antique cushion-shaped brilliant Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond with a clarity grade of VS2. It was certified by the Gemological Institute of America.

The stone is thought to have been discovered in the Premier Mine in the South African Republic. Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, a soldier, sportsman, art lover, and benefactor who purchased the diamond in the 1950s, was named after one of its owners.

Cartier was commissioned by Allnatt to design a brooch setting for the diamond. A platinum flower with five white baguette-shaped diamond-lined petals, a stem, and two leaves composed of brilliant-cut diamonds was the final design. In May 1996, the Allnatt Diamond was resold at Christie’s auction in Geneva for just over $3 million.

The original 102.07-carat diamond was re-cut to its current weight by its current owner, the SIBA Corporation. The diamond’s color intensity was upgraded from Fancy Intense to Fancy Vivid during the cutting procedure.

Difference Between Yellow Diamonds And Canary Diamonds

Now that we understand yellow diamonds and their place of origin and their history, let’s take a look at canary diamonds and see what they have that other regular yellow diamonds don’t have.

Before we get into the explanation, the best way to approach this is to ask yourself a question. A question of “what differentiates canary diamonds from the rest of the yellow diamonds?” and we’re going to approach the explanation as an answer to this question.

All diamonds, including yellow diamonds, have a color grade. The deeper the color of a diamond, the better the color grade. First, let’s take a look at GIA’s color scale for regular diamonds:

  • Colorless (D,E,F)
  • Near Colorless (G, H, I, J)
  • Faint (K, L, M)
  • Very Light (N, O, P, Q, R)
  • Light (S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z)

Every diamond should fall under one of these categories, but when a diamond has a color to it, it doesn’t fit any of these and can’t be ranked on GIA’s color grade for diamonds.

In that case, there is a special scale that determines and marks the vividness or the deepness of the color of a colored diamond. Let’s take a look at that scale:

  1. Faint
  2. Very Light
  3. Light
  4. Fancy Light
  5. Fancy
  6. Fancy Intense
  7. Fancy Vivid
  8. Fancy Dark
  9. Fancy Deep

These nine categories are assigned to a diamond depending on the deepness of its color. So fancy deep yellow diamonds would be the rarest, and the faint yellow diamonds would be some of the most common yellow diamonds found.

How deep the color is determined by the amount of nitrogen found in them. The more nitrogen, the more vivid the color is. Because it’s hard for nitrogen to get into the middle of a diamond-making process, diamonds with more nitrogen are rarer.

The name “canary diamonds” is, as we’ve said, derived from the name of the bird canary that is quite vivid in color, and it’s mostly yellow. So, that means that the most beautifully-colored yellow diamonds deserve the name “canary diamonds”.

This means that the majority of yellow diamonds aren’t actually canary diamonds, regardless of some people actually misusing the term, but the fact is that only the yellow diamonds that have a distinct and vivid color can be named that.

If you didn’t know what separates the canary diamonds from the rest of the yellow diamonds – now you know!

Canary Diamonds – Best Cut

When diamonds are as special as canary diamonds, it’s important not to make a mistake that would downgrade the looks of your vivid yellow diamonds.

The cut is the most important decision that you have to make when choosing a canary diamond since there are some cuts that significantly boost the looks of your gemstone and allow it to shine to its full potential.

We’re about to take a look at the top three cuts that we recommend for canary diamonds since they have shown they work the best with this color of diamonds.

The three best cuts we recommend for canary diamonds are:

  • The Radiant Cut
  • The Marquise Cut
  • The Pear Cut

Now that you’ve taken a look at our list, let’s jump in and see why every one of these cuts is an awesome choice for a yellow diamond!

The Radiant Cut

A Radiant Cut diamond has 70 facets on average, with 25 on the crown, 8 on the girdle, and 37 on the pavilion. It’s commonly called diamond as a “cut-cornered, rectangular, or square, modified brilliant” on GIA grading reports.

A widespread misunderstanding is that a Radiant Cut is just a Princess Cut with the corners removed. The two, however, are vastly different.

The Princess Cut’s contrasting linear reflections complement its straight edges and sharp corners, whereas the Radiant Cut’s reflections are circular in character and were created by superimposing a round brilliant cut over a rectangular shape. This allows light to enter the diamond from a variety of angles, resulting in multi-layered reflections.

A Radiant Cut diamond is more tolerant of flaws and weaknesses than our other rectangle shape, the Emerald Cut, due to its high number of facets, allowing you to forego a cut or clarity grade in favor of superior color or carat weight.

The Marquise Cut

Marquise diamonds have one of the biggest surface areas of any diamond shape due to their unusual eye-like form.

There are 58 facets in total on this diamond form, with 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion. These facets have a French tip that replaces the big bezel facets at the diamond’s tips with star and upper girdle facets in some cases.

The marquise-cut diamond, with its long and narrow pointed shape, is essentially a modified brilliant diamond that appears larger than it is. A marquise diamond, like the emerald cut, makes the wearer’s hands and fingers appear longer and slimmer.

The Pear Cut

The ratio is normally between 1.50 and 1.70, and the stone has 58 facets, while the number of pavilion facets can vary between 4 and 8. Pear shapes are also sometimes cut with a “French tip,” which substitutes star and upper girdle facets for the massive bezel facet at the point.

The Heart and Marquise forms also use French tips. Pear-shaped diamonds can have a variety of appearances, with some having “high shoulders” that make the stone appear more angular.

When light flowing through the diamond casts a shadow over the central facets of the stone, this is known as the “bow-tie effect“. This is important to take into consideration, but with yellow diamonds, and especially canary diamonds, you have nothing to worry about.

Learn More: Diamond Facets: What Are Facets on a Diamond?

Canary Diamonds – Best Setting

Besides the cut, the setting is also quite important when it comes to a diamond, especially a diamond that’s as good-looking as a canary diamond can be. Some settings are made for diamonds that don’t have a specific color, so those settings aren’t made for vivid diamonds that need a lot of light to “breathe” and show their full potential.

Today, we’re going to tell you about our favorite settings for canary diamonds, and we’re going to tell you why these settings are our favorites. So, let’s take a look at our top picks for settings that work well with canary diamonds:

  • The Six Prong Setting
  • The Bezel Setting
  • The Antique Setting (The Vintage Setting)

Now that you know what to expect, let’s see why these three are the best for canary diamonds!

The Six Prong Setting

The six-prong setting is one of the most elegant, minimalist-looking, but chic settings that you can go for. The prongs that hold the diamond in place allow for a lot of light to enter and penetrate the diamond from all sides allowing it to shine as bright as it can.

This is the sole goal of the setting when it comes to canary diamonds since these colored diamonds can be darker in color because of their color grade, so more light means more beauty!

A setting such as this can seem a bit too classy and probably like it’s reserved for engagement rings. It is true that a big number of engagement rings use the six-prong setting, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusively used for them.

If you like this setting and wish to wear it, you can do so without being engaged!

The Bezel Setting

The bezel setting is another classic that looks amazing with square-shaped cuts such as the radiant cut. We recommended the radiant cut for canary diamonds, so this may be the perfect match.

The bezel setting is also quite elegant and sophisticated but gives a luxurious feeling. Lack of unnecessary detail really lets the diamond shine as bright as it can not allowing anything to draw any attention to it.

A setting such as this is safe, reliable, easy to fix (if misplaced), affordable, and looks amazing. A real treat for your eyes!

The Antique Setting

When you see an old ring that has that charm of the past, it most likely has the antique setting on it. The antique, or as some call it – the vintage setting has a charm that’s out of this world and can give your ring a feeling that only vintage pieces of jewelry have.

If you like how rings and earrings looked a long time ago, this is a setting for you! The fact that it’s called the antique setting doesn’t mean it’s not popular and fashionable right now, so don’t worry about that!

This setting is also very safe and complements a canary diamond like no other setting can.

Learn More: Types Of Diamond Settings: A Guide To Setting Styles

Price Of The Canary Diamonds

We all know that the key question whenever we’re talking about diamonds is the price. Price is something that constitutes the exclusivity and the glamour of diamonds, so let’s take a look at how high and how low can a price tag for canary diamonds go.

First of all, you have to know that the price of your diamonds heavily depends on the cut, the setting, the clarity, and the color levels of the diamond you’re considering, so these prices that you will have an opportunity to see are just some basic prices that you can then go off of.

Canary diamonds, on average, cost anything between $2,000 and $20,000 for one carat. This is a huge span of $18,000 but we told you what is the reason for that.

Canary diamonds that aren’t that vivid in color go for closer to $2,000 and canary diamonds that have a high clarity level, FL for example, and are more vivid in color go for about $15,000 and $20,000 on average.

It also depends on the cut since cuts play a huge role in setting the price. Pear cut diamonds tend to cost more, but the difference in price tags isn’t that big.

Also, if you decide to go for a ring that has a lot of smaller diamonds in the setting that you went with, take into consideration that your piece of jewelry will cost more, regardless of your canary diamond being the biggest rock in there.


Now that we have come to the end of our journey related to canary diamonds, it’s time to summarize and see what we learned about these popular colored diamonds!

Keep in mind that, although rare, these diamonds are the most commonly seen rare diamonds on earth. This means that you will find them more easily and have a bigger chance of seeing one in person.

Also, these diamonds have been popular for centuries now for their rarity and specific color. Especially the canary diamonds that are considered the best of the best when it comes to yellow diamonds.

Lastly, be careful and pay close attention to what cut and what setting you’re going for if you’re in the market for a yellow, or even better – a canary diamond. This can play a huge role and be a leading factor in how your diamond will look.

Well, now you know everything we do about canary diamonds. We hope you liked it and that we were able to help you find out something you didn’t already know!