GEMSTONE FACT FILE: COLOUR
For well over two thousand years, mankind has been enthralled and enchanted by the tones and hues of these remarkable stones, and even today we judge the quality of a gemstone based on its colour. But what do we really mean when we talk about the properties of gemstones’ colours? Let’s take a look a little deeper.
HUE, TONE AND SATURATION OF GEMSTONE COLOUR
Generally speaking, the colour properties of any given gemstone are discussed in three key ways. These are the ‘hue’, ‘tone’ and ‘saturation’ of the colour, with gemologists and jewelers seeking out certain levels and features in these criteria by which to judge, cut and price a particular example.
The gemstones of the highest value are those which express and exhibit a particularly ‘pure’ hue - that is, they will have only the slightest suggestion of other colours in their palette. All our gemstones exhibit an especially high standard in this regard, with our rubies, sapphires and other such gemstones only expressing the slightest variation from their pure and dazzling hues.
Just as important are the ‘tone’ and ‘saturation’ of a gemstone. The former term refers to the depth of colour, which ranges from totally colourless, to opaque black, and is discussed in terms of lightness - the grades of tone range from ‘light’ to ‘medium’ to ‘dark’, with various points in between.
The latter term, ‘saturation’, refers quite specifically to how free the gemstone is from dull hues in grey or brown, with the finest examples being listed as having strong or vivid levels of saturation.
The most prized and sought-after gemstones are all those which have a medium-light to medium-dark tone, allowing enough penetration of light in order to allow the colour to shine and pop to the eye, and clear and vivid levels of saturation. We are proud to say that all of our gemstones sit comfortably in these ranges.