Roskin Gem News Report

Laboratory Color Nomenclature: Gemological Science or Marketing?

It has been a while since I have written a personal note. But now here goes.

The troubling conversation revolving around the professional gem labs regarding color nomenclature for colored gemstones has been brewing for several years, becoming steamy when “pigeon blood” ruby became a desired consumer product, and many of the professional gem labs jumped on board. We could grab at a moment when this all started by pointing a finger at the professional gem labs using “Paraiba” as a color designation when it is in fact a locality.

And now that many of the professional gem labs relaxed what were historical gemological standards, we now have color nomenclature that has no specific designation in color science. Many of the professional gem labs are now using common names to describe color on gemological identification reports.

Common color descriptions have been used in auction house catalogues for decades. But it is only recently that professional gem labs have done so.

Names like Pigeon Blood, Crimson, Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Kashmir Blue, Muzo Green, etc, ….

If you want to jump in feet first, a great reference for common color nomenclature for fancy color diamonds is Stephen Hofer’s Collecting and Classifying Fancy Coloured Diamonds. If you really want to muddy the gemstone communication waters, use that, as it has hundreds of perfectly good common color names, like marigold. follow for more Roskingemnewsreport

But is that really the direction we want to be heading?

Richard Hughes, director of Lotus Gem Lab in Bangkok, has written a feature story for the GemGuide, subscription only, titled “Describing Color: A Fool’s Guide,” that argues these same inconsistencies, questioning the non-gemological name calling by many of the professional gemological laboratories. We give Richard our tip-of-the-gemological-hat for bringing this discussion to an important community.

Here is the link to Gemworld International and the GemGuide. Buy a subscription. Read Richard’s feature story.

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