Yellow diamonds, not clear or white diamonds, are in fact the most common of diamonds, with red and black among the rarest. People like white diamonds over the yellow gemstones, however, which explains how white or clear diamonds are so rife in the market to the point that people think all diamonds are white. The yellow precious stones do exist, produced by the intrusion of nitrogen into the otherwise colorless precious stones — which is the most common impurity in diamonds. A variety of the yellow gems can be quite expensive, however, even more expensive than white diamonds. The precious yellow stones command high prices when they are vividly yellow, otherwise known as the fancy canary diamonds. Diamond in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of April, both in the Western and Hindu calendar.
Sapphires come from the mineral corundum, which is second only to diamond in hardness, and when red is called ruby. Beside green, black and its best known color, blue, sapphire occurs as yellow gemstones. Though traditionally a birthstone for the month of April, sapphire in general has been made the birthstone for the month of September in the Western calendar, while the Hindu calendar designates the precious stone as the July birthstone. Sapphire remains the birthstone for the zodiac sign Taurus.
Yellow Rhodizite and Londonite
Beside white, rhodizite and londonite both occur as yellow stones. The yellow rocks are borate minerals, a group which includes salt. Unlike salt, the yellow gemstones are not soft and soluble, but are resistant to weathering. The yellow gems make rather expensive jewelry due to their rarity.
While known mostly for their red color, which makes them great substitutes for ruby, spinel also occurs as yellow stones, along with black, blue and green. The yellow gemstones are extremely rare, however, and are only mostly availed of as collector’s pieces.
Beside red and green, sphene, better known as titanite for its titanium content, also occurs as yellow stones. The yellow gemstones are a transparent to translucent precious stone. The yellow gems are prized for their brilliance that can exceed diamond, but the hardness of the yellow rocks is inferior to that of diamonds.
Beside black, red, green and almost all other colors, tourmaline is also available as yellow stones, though the yellow gems are very rare. The yellow gemstones come from the species of tourmaline called dravite, as well as the more valuable elbaite. The yellow rocks are mined in Brazil and Africa.
Ordinary chrysoberyl is yellowish green, which is transparent to translucent. When chrysoberyl occurs as yellow gemstones, the precious stone is called cymophane, more popularly known as cat’s eye. The precious yellow stones are the third hardest of precious stones, next to diamond and corundum (that is, ruby and sapphire). The yellow gems are highly valued for their chatoyancy or iridescent luster, which is also present in tiger’s eye. The yellow precious stones used to be the traditional birthstone for the month of June in the Western calendar, and remain the birthstone for November in the Hindu calendar.
While garnets are best known for their red color — the name garnet itself meaning “dark red” — the precious stones also occur as yellow gems. The yellow stones come from three species of garnet, namely, spessartine (also known as spessartite), andradite (the yellow gemstones specifically called topazolite) and grossular. Garnet in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of January in the Western calendar, as well as the zodiac sign Aquarius.
Zircons are excellent substitutes for diamonds and, like diamond, come in virtually all colors, including red, black, green and yellow. The yellow stones are abundant in the earth’s crust, which explains the relative inexpensiveness of the yellow gemstones.
In the Middle Ages the name topaz used to refer to any yellow gemstones, but now it is limited to silicate minerals that may also be green, blue and red. The yellow stones of these minerals may either be among the variety of topaz called the precious topaz, or the more valuable imperial topaz. Brazil is the most famous source of the yellow gems.
Sphalerite is the chief ore of zinc. Beside red, green and black, sphalerite of gem quality also occurs as yellow stones. Because of their relative softness, however, the yellow gemstones are best left unset as collector’s items, although there are people who wear the yellow gems as pendants. The yellow rocks are obtained from Spain and Mexico.
Though usually clear, danburite occurs as yellow stones. The yellow gemstones are a relatively new precious stone in the market. The yellow gems are loved for their brilliance, which may be transparent to translucent. The yellow rocks were first discovered in the city of Danbury in the US, hence the name danburite.
Opals are not limited to the precious opals of black or white body tone that exhibit a play of colors; opals also come in yellow and red. The yellow gemstones come from different kinds of opals, including wax opals from Europe, fire opals from Mexico, lemon opals from the US, as well as yellow common opals from Australia. Opal in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of October in the Western calendar.
Idocrase is also known as vesuvianite. Beside green and blue, idocrase occurs as yellow stones. The yellow gems are transparent to translucent. First discovered in Mount Vesuvius — hence the name vesuvianite — the yellow gemstones are found in USA, Canada and Italy.
Peridot are not technically yellow stones, but green gems from the mineral olivine. The precious stones range in color from green to yellow-green, however, and the latter end may be yellow enough to pass for yellow gemstones to the human eye. Peridot is the modern birthstone for the month of August in the Western calendar.
Yellow jade comes from the two varieties of jade: jadeite and nephrite, which also comes in white and green. The semi-precious yellow stones may be translucent or opaque. The yellow gemstones are highly valued in China and New Zealand.
Sunstone is feldspar like oligoclase, labradorite, andesine, orthoclase and moonstone, but is distinguished from the others for its clear glassy appearance around a bright color at the center. Sunstones occur as red, green, blue and yellow stones. The yellow gemstones are abundantly found in Norway and the US State of Oregon.
While popular for their green variety called hiddenite and the pink colored gems called kunzite, spodumene also occurs as yellow stones. The yellow gemstones may be transparent, translucent or opaque in clarity, with the transparent variety most popularly used in jewelry-making.
Beryl refers to the same group of minerals as the emeralds, otherwise known as the green beryl. Different species of beryl produce yellow gemstones, namely, the aquamarine (known as aquamarine chrysolite), golden beryl, heliodor (greenish yellow in color), and even morganite, better known as the pink beryl. Beryl, excluding emerald, is the birthstone for the zodiac sign Scorpio.
Yellow Labradorite and Andesine
Labradorites — which is feldspar like sunstone, oligoclase, moonstone and orthoclase — is a semi-precious stone that exhibits an iridescent play of colors called labradorescence. Beside blue and green, labradorite also occurs as yellow gemstones. The semi-precious yellow stones are a close cousin of andesine, which may also be yellow gems, as well as red, in which color andesine is reportedly enhanced labradorite.
Orthoclase is feldspar like labradorite, sunstone and oligoclase, and is a constituent part of moonstone. Orthoclase mostly occurs as yellow stones, with the brighter yellow gems being of greater value. The transparent yellow gemstones are rather rare.
Scapolite is a group of minerals characterized by long slender prisms. Gem quality scapolite is specifically called marialite, which frequently occurs as yellow stones. The yellow gemstones are rare though, and mostly only availed of as collector’s items.
Apatites are phosphate minerals. While traditionally used in making fertilizers, apatite produces stones of gem quality, which occur as blue, green and yellow stones that may be transparent in clarity. The yellow gemstones may also be chatoyant, like cat’s eye, and give off an iridescent luster.
Though very similar and almost impossible to tell from yellow topaz when cut, citrine comes from a family of minerals called quartz, along with chalcedony and tiger’s eye. Compared to topaz, however, the yellow stones are less hard, although quite rare in nature. Most pieces of the yellow gems circulating in the market are heat-treated smoky quartz or inexpensive amethyst. Along with topaz, the yellow gemstones are the modern birthstone for the month of November in the Western calendar. Much of the world’s supply of the yellow rocks comes from Brazil.
Agate is banded chalcedony. Besides white, black and red, agate is also available as yellow gemstones. Agate was traditionally the birthstone for the months of May and June, as well as the zodiac sign Gemini.
Fluorite, also called fluorspar, is a fluorescent (a word derived from its name) stone that comes in a range of colors, including red, green, blue, black and yellow. The yellow gemstones are common enough, but are rather soft, and hence not widely used in jewelry.
While most of us are inclined to think of gold as metal rather than stone, gold is an element readily found in nature. The precious metal exhibits bright yellow color and attractive luster, which explains how it is widely used in cultures around the world, and even made the basis of monetary exchange.
Though not truly stones, ambers are much valued yellow gemstones. The semi-precious yellow stones are in fact fossilized resin from evergreen trees preserved under high pressure. The yellow gems are, not cold like other stones, but naturally warm to the touch. The yellow jewels, however, soften in intense heat, but are valuable when they have fossil inclusions. Ambers also come in red, green, even blue.
Besides red, green and black, jasper also occurs as yellow gemstones. The semi-precious yellow stones come from the mineral group quartz, along with chalcedony and tiger’s eye. Like bloodstone, which is another chalcedony, jasper is traditional birthstone of the month of March.
Tiger’s eye is quartz stone that is naturally yellow or red-brown in color. The semi-precious yellow stones are much appreciated for their chatoyancy, or iridescent luster. Most of the yellow gemstones come from South Africa and East Asia. See also The Tiger Eye Stone.
Bowenite is a hard variety of antigorite, which is an otherwise not so hard stone. Though popularly known to be green, bowenite occurs as yellow stones, sometimes called retinalite. The yellow semi-precious stones are opaque to translucent with a waxy luster. The yellow gemstones are found in New Zealand, in the US, South Africa and China.
Chalcopyrite is a copper ore. This most important source of copper occurs as yellow stones, from a brassy hue to golden yellow. The yellow gemstones are not the most suitable for jewelry in terms of hardness, but are already harder than gold. The yellow rocks tarnish, however, though the tarnish is iridescent, giving the yellow gems the name peacock ore, and jewelers take advantage of this aesthetic quality.
Pyrite is a mineral that gives off a golden luster, earning it the nickname fool’s gold. The yellow stones were especially popular during the Victorian era, when the yellow gemstones were extensively used to make what were called marcasite jewelry.
Yellow Stones in Jewelry
Yellow stones, what with their bright and brilliant magnificence, are popular in jewelry. Do you like to wear yellow rocks among your ornaments? Yellow gemstones give your look the golden shine and glints such as only yellow gems can. If you are interested in other colors, do check out the other articles of the series.
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