There is so much information available for those who want to learn about diamonds, but not a lot about colored diamonds and colored gemstones. Did you know that a round brilliant cut white (clear) diamond is graded differently than a round brilliant cut colored diamond? When looking at diamonds for the purpose of buying, the Four C’s (Clarity, Cut, Color, and Carat) come into play. The most important ‘C’ depends upon the person looking at the diamond, what they like to see in a diamond. When it comes to a colored diamond, the most important ‘C’ is color, color is everything!
When a cutter is given a rough white diamond, it is carefully looked at to determine what shape it should be cut into, to save as much weight of the material as possible. When a colored diamond is cut, bringing out the color is the ultimate goal, even if it comes to forfeiting some weight to achieve that goal. Cutting colored gemstones is the same as cutting colored diamonds, sacrifices will be made to achieve the best color possible.
When scientists and gemologists look at color, they view it with three things in mind; hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the first impression of an objects basic color. Tone is the degree of lightness or darkness of a color, and Saturation is the intensity or strength of the color. In the fine jewelry industry, color quality and gem value are inseparable. Each gemstone is given a color range that is acceptable. For example the green color range for an emerald and the green color range for a peridot will be completely different due to the chemical makeup of the gemstone. Without going into all the detailed science behind colored gemstones, color in a gemstone is determined by what chemical(s) was introduced to the crystal when it was growing. Nitrogen will cause a diamond to be yellow, but not a sapphire to be yellow, that would be iron.
This is just a highlight on the intense subject of color. I didn’t even get into the complicated subject of color treatments. What matters to you, the consumer, is what YOU are looking for in a colored gemstone ~ buy what you like. Even though I am aware that the highest color value in a tanzanite is a deep purplish-blue, I purchased a pair of pale violet-blue tanzanite’s to accent an aquamarine I have. The more vivid color would have been to harsh next to the sea blue of the aquamarine.
Hopefully this will help you begin to understand why prices on colored gemstones are all over the place. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or you can check out http://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is world-renown for it’s education and research in the field of gemology.