Yellow and Golden Gemstones: A Guide to Colored Stones
When it comes to colored gemstones, color is king. Today, many customers prioritize color and are less concerned with the actual gemstone variety as long as the stone is durable enough for their purpose.
Using our guide below, you can learn about some of the most popular yellow and golden gemstones choices available today:
- Cat's Eye Apatite
- Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye
- Citrine Geode
- Demantoid Garnet
- Fire Opal
- Golden Beryl
- Imperial Topaz
- Mali Garnet
- Lemon Quartz
- Rutile Quartz
Yellow AgateBack to Top
Agate is the name for banded chalcedony quartz that occurs in various different colors, including yellow. Many agate gemstones are sold using trade names, such as Dryhead agate, Plume agate and Laguna agate. Agate gemstones are often cut en cabochon to showcase their colors and waxy luster. Agate can also be found as beads, faceted gems, agate geodes, carvings, slices or tumbled stones. Agate geodes are fashioned into gemstones and slices, which have an interesting "raw" look. Some agate cabochons with uniform colors may be dyed. This is a stable and permanent enhancement that is always disclosed by good gem traders.
Yellow Andesine-LabradoriteBack to Top
Andesine-labradorite emerged in 2003, making it a relatively new gemstone type. It is also traded as "andesine", "Congo sunstone", "red feldspar" and "red labradorite". It is not strictly andesine, but is a color-enhanced variety of labradorite that is a mix of labradorite and andesine (albite and anorthite). Andesine-labradorite gems range in color from light-yellow to deep red and are usually included. Yellow andesine-labradorite gemstones may be champagne colored, pink-yellow or golden yellow, and can have an attractive metallic schiller.
Yellow ApatiteBack to Top
Apatite is a fluoro- and chloro-calcium gemstone that is found in many different colors, including blue-green 'Paraiba-like' apatite, green apatite, which is known as 'asparagus stone' and golden yellow. Due to its various colors and forms, apatite is easily mistaken for several other gem types and thus earned its name from the Greek word meaning "to cheat". Apatite is the most important source for industrial grade phosphates and although it is the defining mineral for 5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it remains a lesser-known gemstone that is rarely found in jewelry designs. But recent finds in Myanmar (Burma), Brazil, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Madagascar are increasing the popularity of apatite.
Yellow Cat's Eye ApatiteBack to Top
Cat's eye apatite is a rare form of apatite in which parallel aligned inclusions result in light being reflected in the form of a cat's eye. This optical phenomenon is known as "chatoyancy" and occurs in few gemstone types. There are several colors of cat's eye apatite, including pink, green, violet, blue, brown and yellow. Some cat's eye apatite stones exhibit the "milk and honey" effect where one side is honey-colored and the other is a creamy hue. The value of cat's eye apatite gemstones is judged by the sharpness of the eye.
Yellow ChrysoberylBack to Top
Chrysoberyl is a group of rare gemstones that is comprised of color-change alexandrite, chrysoberyl cat's eye and transparent to translucent chrysoberyl, which is the faceted yellow to light-green chrysoberyl gemstone that is colored by traces of iron. Chrysoberyl has excellent hardness; 8.5 on the Mohs scale, takes a good polish, and has a superb vitreous luster. Gemstone-quality chrysoberyl is found in Brazil, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and a few other locations around the world.
Yellow Chrysoberyl Cat's EyeBack to Top
Chrysoberyl cat's eye is known as the "original" cat's eye gemstone, and is treasured for its remarkably sharp eyes. It is a chatoyant variety of chrysoberyl which occurs in golden yellow, green-yellow, green and brownish hues. By composition, chrysoberyl cat's eye is beryllium aluminum oxide and may also be traded as "cymophane", a term that refers to opalescent chrysoberyl cat's eye. Some of the largest and finest chrysoberyl cat's eye gems known have been mined from Sri Lanka.
Yellow CitrineBack to Top
Citrine is one of the most popular gemstones today. It is defined as yellow to golden orange macrocrystalline quartz. The name, "citrine" is from "citron", the French word for lemon, but the color of citrine tends toward honey yellow rather than lemon yellow. Citrine gemstones have a Mohs hardness of 7 and a vitreous luster, making them perfect for jewelry. Most commercially mined citrine comes from Brazil, though gemstone-quality citrine is also found in other areas of the world. Golden orange citrine is sometimes referred to as "Madeira citrine" because of its rich color that is comparable to Madeira wine. Reddish citrine gemstones may be heat treated, which is a stable and permanent enhancement that is openly disclosed by all good gemstone traders.
Yellow Citrine GeodeBack to Top
Citrine geodes are vugs or rock cavities that contain yellow to golden orange citrine quartz crystals. The citrine crystals grow inside the cavities, creating interesting golden formations. Citrine geode gemstones are produced from pieces of citrine geodes. These gemstones may be slices of geodes or crystal clusters, and are admired for their natural, unfinished look. Whole citrine geodes can reach incredible sizes, especially those from Brazil. These are traded as "citrine geode cathedrals" and are often cut in half and displayed as ornaments by collectors.
Yellow Demantoid GarnetBack to Top
Demantoid garnet is a rare andradite garnet variety that is best-known for its green color, but demantoid can also occur in yellow and green-yellow. The properties of demantoid garnet that make it extremely valuable include its superlative dispersion (the ability to split visible light into its spectral colors) and an extremely high refractive index. These give demantoid garnet incredible fire and brilliance. Demantoid garnet gemstones are typically faceted and stones weighing over 2 carats are extremely rare. Demantoid garnet from Russia is the most sought-after, especially material with distinctive horsetail inclusions.
Yellow DiamondBack to Top
Diamond is a crystalline form of carbon and the hardest material on Earth with a Mohs hardness of 10. Yellow diamonds are a fancy diamond color that are graded and valued according to their intensity of color. Intense yellow diamond gemstones reach high prices and are often traded as "canary diamond". The outstanding brilliance of diamond is best showcased by facet cuts, particularly brilliant cuts. The hardness, brilliance and adamantine luster of diamonds make them one of the most popular gemstone types, especially for engagement rings.
Yellow Fire OpalBack to Top
Fire opal is a golden yellow to red variety of opal that is treasured for its intense and fiery body color rather than play of color. The most popular colors of fire opal are vivid orange to orange-red, but some prefer golden yellow colors. Fire opal gemstones are translucent to transparent, and may be faceted or cut en cabochon. The hardness of fire opal is the same as that of precious opal; 5.5-6.5 on the Mohs scale. Mexico is the main source for fire opal gemstones; therefore, fire opal gems are also referred to as "Mexican opal".
Yellow FluoriteBack to Top
Fluorite is a colorful form of calcium fluoride that occurs in many different colors, including yellow. The optical phenomenon of fluorescence was named after fluorite, which is one of the best-known fluorescent minerals and one of the first studied. The first name for fluorite was "fluorspar", which now describes the industrial and chemical form of the mineral. The relatively low hardness of fluorite (4 on the Mohs scale) makes fluorite gemstones more popular with collectors than jewelers.
Yellow Golden BerylBack to Top
Golden beryl is probably the least well-known of the beryl group of gemstones, which includes emerald, morganite and aquamarine. The light-yellow to golden honey-colored gemstone, golden beryl is also known as "precious beryl" and shares some of the properties of other beryl gemstones, including a Mohs hardness of 7.5-8. Golden beryl is the most affordable beryl gemstone and is more easily available than its more famous cousins. Light-colored golden beryl gemstones are sometimes called "heliodor", which comes from the Greek meaning "gift of the sun".
Yellow Imperial TopazBack to Top
Natural golden topaz is one of the most valuable and rarest topaz colors available. This stunning gemstone goes by the name, "imperial topaz" because it used to be reserved exclusively for Russian tsars. "Imperial topaz" used to refer to orange topaz with red dichroism, but is now more generally attributed to rare, golden, red, lavender and peach topaz gemstones. Another name for imperial topaz gemstones is "precious topaz". While imperial topaz gemstones are found in Russia, most stones are commercially mined from Ouro Preto in Brazil.
Yellow JasperBack to Top
Jasper is opaque chalcedony that gets its name from the Greek for "spotted stone" and is often given its own gem group because of its grainy structure. Jasper gemstones may be spotted, striped or various other patterns and many different colors, including yellow. The reason for such variation in jasper gemstones is that it contains up to twenty percent foreign materials, making each jasper stone unique. There are many trade names for jasper, including strongly yellow and red Egyptian jasper and "bumble bee jasper", which is yellow to orange material from Indonesia that is actually composed of volcanic lava and sediment.
Yellow Mali GarnetBack to Top
Mali garnet is a fiery and brilliant "hybrid" garnet variety that was discovered in 1994 in Mali, West Africa; the sole source for this new addition to the garnet gemstone group. Green is the most highly-valued color for Mali garnet gems, which also occur in greenish-yellow, golden yellow, orange and brown. Its high dispersion and refractive index give Mali garnet incredible brilliance and fire, which is brought out by facet cuts. Mali garnet gems are transparent to opaque with a good Mohs hardness level of 7.
Yellow OrthoclaseBack to Top
Orthoclase is a feldspar gemstone that is also referred to as "K-spar". Non-gemmy orthoclase is used as a scouring agent in the making of some glasses and ceramics. Most orthoclase gems are champagne yellow, golden yellow or greenish, and opaque to transparent with a vitreous luster. The best orthoclase gemstones are eye-clean and transparent with a Mohs hardness of 6 to 6.5. Mining sources for orthoclase gems include Madagascar, Myanmar and Kenya.
Golden PearlBack to Top
Pearls belong to the small group of organic gemstones and are formed by shelled mollusks. Pearls are composed of nacre and are a very rare occurrence in nature; thus, pearls are often cultured. This is done by introducing an irritant to the mollusk shell to bring about the production of a pearl. Pearls occur in various colors, including white, cream, silver, green, pink and gold. Golden pearls may be cream-colored or yellowish and the most valued golden pearls exhibit iridescence, which is known as "orient" in the trade.
Yellow Lemon QuartzBack to Top
Lemon quartz gemstones are yellow quartz gemstones that are not quite golden enough to fit the description of citrine. Yellow lemon quartz gemstones are transparent and may be irradiated to obtain their intense color. This is a stable and permanent color enhancement that is disclosed by all good gemstone dealers. Lemon quartz stones may be light-yellow or vivid yellow and can occur with asterism (the star effect) or more rarely, chatoyancy (the cat's eye effect) and have a Mohs hardness of 7.
Golden Rutile QuartzBack to Top
Rutile quartz, (also known as "rutilated quartz") is transparent quartz that contains inclusions made from rutile (titanium dioxide), which may be sparse or dense and black, green, red or golden yellow. These rutile inclusions create unique internal landscapes inside rutile quartz gems, which may appear like needles, silk ribbons or "angel's hair", as some rutile quartz gems are described. When the rutile inclusions are very dense, the body color of the gemstone can look like the color of the rutile, so rutile quartz stones with an abundance of golden rutile will look golden. Like most other quartz gems, rutile quartz is extremely versatile.
Yellow SapphireBack to Top
Yellow is not the best-known sapphire color, but has become popular since the trend for "canary diamond". Sapphire can be found in a wide range of fancy colors, such as green, pink, purple, peach and yellow. The definition of sapphire is gem-quality corundum that is all colors except for red (red corundum is ruby) and has excellent hardness and durability, which is surpassed only by that of diamond. Yellow sapphire gemstones are light-yellow to intense yellow and some stones may be heat-treated or beryllium-treated to enhance their color. While these enhancements are permanent and stable, they should always be openly disclosed, since enhancements can cause prices to vary considerably, with untreated sapphires fetching high prices. The most important current sources for yellow sapphire include Tanzania and Madagascar.
Yellow ScapoliteBack to Top
By composition scapolite is sodium calcium aluminum silicate. It is not a very well known gemstone; nevertheless, scapolite gemstones are attractive and occur in vivid yellow, orange, pink, brown, colorless and violet. Scapolite gemstones are mostly seen in gemstone collections, though some varieties of scapolite are becoming popular for jewelry, such as rainbow scapolite, which is colorless scapolite with multicolored inclusions; and cat's eye scapolite, which has parallel-aligned inclusions that cause light to be reflected in the shape of the slit eye of a cat. Cat's eye scapolite has nice, sharp cat's eyes and is often a rich golden brown color.
Yellow SillimaniteBack to Top
Sillimanite is an aluminum silicate gemstone that shares the same composition as both andalusite and kyanite, but a different crystal structure, making the three gemstones polymorphs. Transparent sillimanite is rarely found, but is typically yellow or greenish. Rarer colors for sillimanite stones are light-blue and violet-brown. Cat's eye sillimanite tends to be brown, but may also be violet. Sillimanite was first found in Connecticut, but is the official state mineral of Delaware
Yellow SphaleriteBack to Top
Sphalerite is composed of zinc sulphide and occurs as yellow, orange, red, green and colorless gemstones. The incredible "fire" of sphalerite caused by its very high dispersion and its resinous to adamantine luster makes it a very attractive and brilliant gemstone. Sphalerite's relatively low hardness level (3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale) makes it more popular with collectors than jewelers. Due to its composition, sphalerite is sometimes traded as "zinc blende". While sphalerite is found in several areas of the world, such as Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, the Congo, Namibia, the USA and Zaire, gemstone-quality sphalerite is rare.
Yellow SpheneBack to Top
Sphene is a calcium titanium silicate gemstone which is also known as "titanite" due to its titanium content. The incredibly high dispersion of sphene surpasses that of diamond, giving it remarkable fire and scintillation. The colors of sphene include yellow, brown, green and reddish and the strong pleochroism of sphene allows several of these colors to be seen in a single gemstone depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The hardness level of sphene gemstones (5 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale) make them most suitable for pendants, earrings or brooches, rather than rings.
Yellow SpodumeneBack to Top
Spodumene is a pyroxene mineral that can occur in several colors and gets its name from a Greek word meaning "ash-colored" due to the ash-like colors of industrial-grade spodumene. Gemstone-quality spodumene is another matter and can occur in various colors, including attractive light- to golden yellow, pink to violet and green, with a Mohs hardness of 6.5 to 7. Pink to violet spodumene is known as "kunzite" and green spodumene is traded as "hiddenite". Yellow spodumene gemstones have not been lucky enough to acquire a more attractive name and are traded as "spodumene".
Yellow Star Lemon QuartzBack to Top
Lemon quartz is transparent yellow quartz that is not quite golden enough to fit the description of citrine. Yellow lemon quartz gemstones may occur with asterism (the star effect), when parallel-aligned chatoyant inclusions intersect to produce a six-rayed star that can be seen under focused light. Star lemon quartz stones may be light-yellow or vivid yellow and are cut en cabochon to effectively show the star. Lemon quartz stones may be irradiated to obtain their intense color. This is a stable and permanent color enhancement that is disclosed by all good gemstone dealers. Most star lemon quartz gemstones are mined from Africa or Brazil, where extremely large quartz crystals can be found.
Golden Tiger's EyeBack to Top
Tiger's eye is an opaque fibrous quartz gemstone that is prized for its chatoyancy (the cat's eye effect) and can be golden or brown. The cat's eye effect of tiger's eye gemstones is due to the presence of parallel inclusions that reflect rays of light. To showcase this attractive optical phenomenon, tiger's eye gemstones are often given a cabochon cut. Tiger's eye is related to both pietersite and hawk's eye. Tiger's eye is commercially mined in various parts of the world, though today, the most significant tiger's eye deposits are in South Africa and Thailand.
Yellow TourmalineBack to Top
Tourmaline is gemstone-quality boron silicate and currently one of the most popular and affordable gemstones available. It occurs in almost every color imaginable, is reasonably priced and often available in large sizes. Due to their hardness and durability, tourmaline gemstones are suitable for any type of jewelry design. Yellow to golden tourmaline is sometimes referred to as "uvite" or 'dravite'. One of the incredible properties of tourmaline is its pleochroism, which causes several colors to be seen in a single gemstone, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. This means that yellow tourmaline gems may also appear orange, brown and green.
Golden ZirconBack to Top
Zircon is composed of zirconium silicate; one of the oldest minerals on earth and a remarkably brilliant gemstone material that is often used as a diamond substitute. Zircon gemstones are often confused with the synthetic material; cubic zirconia. However, zircon is a natural material that is mined from the earth and occurs in several colors, including blue, colorless, red, pink, brown, orange, green, violet and yellow. Zircon gemstones are transparent to translucent with remarkable fire and a high level of birefringence, which can result in facet doubling or a somewhat fuzzy appearance.
- First Published: August-09-2017
- Last Updated: October-12-2018
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