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What’s in a name? The use of historical terminology to describe colour

2015-02-0226
This sapphire is described as ‘cornflower blue’ on its gem-identification report; however, some appraisers feel the use of historical terminology such as this one may lead to a proliferation of blue sapphires exhibiting a range of colour in an effort to better market them.

I have the utmost respect for these gentlemen and the labs under their direction, almost bordering on awe. I am grateful they took the time to explain their positions. I can understand both, especially from the point of view as a valuer. However, my position is the argument on using these terms tips the scales a bit more heavily on the side of not using them.
The common thread among appraisers is this isn’t
a good thing. A wise colleague puts it this way:

“As gemmologists, we’d probably prefer terminology that’s repeatable and precisely defined, but the reality has always been that describing and ‘grading’ the colour of coloured gemstones is as much based on experience, colour memory, and ‘art’ as it is which colour description system we use to try to be ‘scientific’ in our descriptions. The major labs get to see and experience more of the finest of the fine than most anyone else, and they can create comparator sets to enhance their consistency more readily than most of the rest of us. I’m far less worried about GIA, AGL, and the other ‘biggies’ creating reports using those types of descriptions than I am the ‘trickle down’ to less reputable labs and small, independent gemmologist/appraisers, and retailers feeling the pressure to follow suit.”

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