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Grading color in rubies versus diamonds


Grading color in rubies would be much easier if a scale of 23 letter grades could adequately describe their color differences. Diamond color is graded with a scale like this extending from D to Z. The jewelry trade, however, has not yet adopted a standardized system for grading colored stones. The following comparisons of diamond/ruby color grades and characteristics would help you understand why.

Diamond color grades only need to indicate how light the stone is. Ruby color grades must also describe the hue and color purity to adequately explain price differences.
-  Diamond color grades represent a smaller range of tones than is needed for rubies. The highest price diamond tone, D, is colorless. Their lowest price tone, Z, is light yellow. The tonal range of a ruby is still being debated and depends on the combination of the other two factors-hue and color purity. The trade agrees that rubies can be a medium to very dark red. Many Asian dealers feel the tone can extend to very light red.
-  Diamond color grades are based mainly on the side view of the stone. Ruby color grades are based mainly on the face-up view, which dues to its many reflections is much harder to judge.
-  Diamonds nearly always have one hue, if they are not colorless. Rubies are a bed of two hues, which complicates color grading. The cuttings make a difference in how these two hues combine in the face-up position.
-  Diamonds can be color-graded against master stones. It would be too expensive and time consuming to assemble master sets for rubies with all their variations of hue, tone, and color purity.
-  The lack of color is what’s important in diamonds. The quality of the color is what’s important in rubies, and the descriptive terms used must be applicable to all other colored gemstones for color comparison purposes. Naturally, a grading system that includes all color stones will be far more complex than one just designed for diamonds.

The color communication devices, there are many color communication devices being used for gemstones. The three that are probably the most widely known are Gem Dialogue, the AGL system, and the GIA color stone grading system. All three share these two goals:
-    To develop a practical description of color that can be used internationally when buying, selling, and appraising gems.
-    To provide a set of standardized colors to which gemstones can be compared and matched.

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