Return To GemBlog

IGI celebrates Pantone Color Of The Year in Gemstones

Pantone, the international color authority, previously announced its Colors of the Year for 2021.

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow

The combination of these two colors conveys a message of strength and hope, of warmth and optimism.

Photo credit: Pantone


Celebrating Yellow

While gray stones are rare in the gemstone world, yellow stones are not. In fact, many jewelry brands feature yellow gemstones in their creations.

The gemologists from IGI Shanghai provided the images and information below, in celebration of Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow, in gemstones.

1. Yellow Diamonds

Yellow diamonds have a pure, vibrant yellow or golden yellow color. Diamonds with enough saturation to reach the fancy yellow designation are are considered collectible.

The intensity of the color of a yellow diamond depends on the amount of nitrogen in the lattice. When nitrogen atoms replace certain carbon atoms in the diamond crystal, the diamond begins to absorb blue and purple light so the diamond takes on a yellow appearance to viewers.

There are many famous yellow diamonds.

Below, we present the Cora Sun Drop Diamond, a 110 carat pear-shaped golden yellow diamond which sold for $10.9 million – a world record price for a yellow diamond at auction – and the Golden Rooster Diamond, the largest diamond ever unearthed in China, and the largest yellow diamond in the world at 281.25 carats.

Photo credit: YouTube / IGI Shanghai

2. Yellow Sapphires

The main cause of color in yellow sapphires is the trace element iron.

In general, the higher the concentration of iron, the higher the saturation of the color and the wider the color range.

Photo credit: Gross & Currens, David Gross Group


Yellow sapphires range in color from light yellow to canary yellow, golden yellow, honey yellow and light brownish yellow. The most popular shade is canary yellow.

Because they present more choices in terms of color variety and cutting potential, yellow sapphires may be considered great alternatives to yellow diamonds.

While the main source of yellow sapphires is Sri Lanka, they also originate in Tanzania, Madagascar, Thailand and Australia.

3. Golden Beryl

Emerald, Aquamarine and Golden Beryl are all members of the beryl family. Mineralogists and gemologists call Golden Beryl “Heliodor,” which is derived from two Greek words – helios and doron – which combine to mean “gift from the sun.”

Photo credit: John Dyer

The color of golden beryl varies from yellow-green, orange, brown, tawny, lemon yellow, and other descriptors, depending on the iron content.

Photo credit:

Beryl is most commonly found in granitic pegmatites. The main mining areas are Austria, Germany, Madagascar, and Northwest China.

4. Yellow Citrine

Citrine is a variety of quartz with a Mohs hardness of 7. It’s color ranges from a pale yellow to brown, depending on its iron content. That color can be generally divided into light yellow, yellow, yellow orange, orange, etc.

Photo credit: AGTA

The main source of citrine is Brazil.

Natural citrine is rare and most citrine on the market is heat-treated.

Photo credit: AGTA

5. Yellow Topaz

The name topaz comes from tapas, the Sanskrit word for flame. As a natural gemstone, its most common color is yellow (most blue topaz on the market is color-treated with irradiation). The “sherry” color, with orange tones, is considered by many to be the highest grade of topaz.

Photo credit: AGTA

Topaz typically crystallizes in granitic pegmatites.

It’s commonly found in Brazil, Mexico, Saxony, Scotland, Japan and numerous other countries.

6. Yellow Tourmaline

Color in tourmaline is complex and variable. Yellow in tourmaline can be light yellow, yellow, brownish yellow, yellowish brown, orange, greenish yellow, as well as a number of other yellow tinted descriptors.

Tourmaline has a trigonal crystal system. Mineralogically, it is divided into lithium tourmaline and magnesium tourmaline. Yellow tourmaline is a type of lithium tourmaline.

Photo credit:


Mainly found in granitic pegmatites, primary sources of tourmaline are Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Mozambique and China.

Dancing into 2021

Crafted from a “superb fabric of gold and diamonds,” the sun colored dress of Van Cleef & Arpels Robe Couleur du Soleil clip features yellow diamonds, yellow tourmalines, yellow sapphires, spessartine garnets and white diamonds.

From the Maison’s high jewelry collection “Peau d’Âne raconté par Van Cleef & Arpels,” she serves as our final dancing, scintillating celebration of Illuminating Yellow – Pantone’s Color Of The Year for 2021.

Photo credit: Van Cleef & Arpels


Subscribe to our GemBlog

Receive a weekly roundup of intelligence and insight from our expert team of gemologists and jewelry enthusiasts.

"*" indicates required fields