Describing Color in Gems • A Fool’s Guide • Lotus Gemology

Richard W. Hughes
Lotus Gemology

“Cobalt Blue” Spinel

What is the finest blue, or the finest red?

In truth, there is no finest color; that is a personal preference for each of us. But on social media, there is no shortage of pundits pontificating on the “proper” color description of a gem, even when they have only seen a photo of a photo of it. How’s that for paranormal?

I have occasionally had the opportunity to participate in such discussions. The following is a near-verbatim sample:

Facebook Expert: Look at this so-called “padparadscha” (posting a crooked photo of a pic of a pic from a lab report). That’s no pad. It’s not even close!
Me: It’s tough to say if you haven’t seen the stone. Describing color is difficult.
FB Expert: Fool! Why can’t you gemologists just use a Pantone color book.[1]

[1] Pantone will be discussed later in the article.

What follows is an essay on some of the complexities of color as they apply to faceted colored gemstones, a fool’s guide, if you will.

Tap here to read the full report!

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