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We've spoken before about the pros and cons of non-diamond engagement rings. While any gemstone can look fantastic in the right setting, only diamonds are 100% suited for engagement ring purposes. Luckily, there is a happy middle ground between the uniqueness of alternative engagement rings and the durable timelessness of traditional diamond rings: Yellow diamonds.
Diamonds come in a variety of different colors: Vibrant pinks, deep blues, alluring greens, and just about any other color you can think of. One of the most popular options on the market is the yellow diamond, also known as the fancy yellow or canary diamond. Unlike other gemstones, which are often manipulated in labs to add different colors, colored diamonds are a rare, naturally occurring phenomenon.
Diamonds are formed deep beneath the earth's surface when high heat and immense pressure are applied to carbon. This process can take billions of years, but the result is the nearly indestructible stone that has become, for many, the perfect symbol of a lasting marriage.
Every so often, an anomaly will occur that slightly alters the diamond formation process. Sometimes a foreign element, such as nitrogen or boron, interacts with the carbon. Other times, unusually high pressure will be applied to the carbon deposits. As a result, rare and dazzling colored diamonds are sometimes unearthed during the mining process. These stones are highly coveted by gem enthusiasts and are a welcome surprise when set in the right engagement ring.
While some men would love to give an incredibly rare red diamond to his bride-to-be, for most people, this is not a viable option. Red diamonds are exceedingly rare, and comprise less than 1% of gem quality diamonds mined today. Likewise, a suitable pink or blue diamond can cost up to $100,000 per carat due to the scarcity of these stones.
Fancy yellow diamonds, however, are considered a great place to start if you are just starting to explore the world of colored diamonds. The beauty of a canary diamond is that it is common enough to make it affordable for more people, but rare enough that you won't see them on the finger of every young woman walking down the aisle. Yellow diamond engagement rings also come in a variety of shades to fit any taste. From fancy, light yellow diamonds to deep, vividly yellow stones.
Of course, yellow diamonds are more than just an attractive, flavor of the month alternative to traditional engagement rings. The popularity of these stones dates back hundreds of years. Louis van Berquem's 137 carat Florentine Diamond, which was designed in 1467, is one of the most famous yellow diamond jewels.
But most important, perhaps, is the symbolism of the yellow diamond engagement ring. Diamonds in general carry the coded meaning of relationship strength, clarity and abundance. But a diamond of yellow hue adds another important layer of symbolism for this next step in the life of two people whose lives are to be joined as one: Hope.