My Cart

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

Gemstone Color: Understanding Hue, Tone, and Saturation

In gemstones, color can be confusing and difficult to understand. To simplify this process, we use the same parameters as gemologists examine the hue, the tone and the saturation when looking at the color of a gemstone. 


Hue is the basic concept of color, such as saying a gemstone is blue, red, green, or yellow. Almost every color gemstone has a primary and secondary color (and sometimes even a third), but we prefer gemstones that are as free of secondary colors as possible.


Tone describes the depth of color from light to dark. In the Trade, dealers look for what is known as “open color”, meaning the stone is not too light or too dark. One trick to use when you are looking at the tone of a gemstone is to view it in a dark environment, either by holding it under a table or away from any direct light. This allows you to better judge the depth of color. Ideally, a gemstone should still have life and brilliance even when viewed away from direct light.


Saturation refers to the intensity of color ranging from light, to strong, to vivid. In general, the more vivid the color, the rarer the gemstone.


These three basic concepts can be used as guidelines to navigate the difficult process of selecting the right colored gemstone.



Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Hello You!

Enter your email address for stock alerts, discounts, promotions and more!