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Saturation

As discussed elsewhere in this book, colours  are made up of three elements: hue, saturation  and tone. ‘Saturation’, also referred to as colour  purity,  describes  the  pureness  of  the  hue:  its  vividness and intensity.  If a gemstone was pure  grey or pure brown, it would be described as  having  zero  colour  saturation. When  greys  or browns are seen in a coloured gemstone, they tend to dilute the beauty of the colour. At the  other end of the scale, if the colour has very little  grey or brown in it, it is described as a vivid  colour (it is worth noting that no colour produced  by  Mother  Nature  has  100%  saturation).  The  GIA describes six levels of saturation; Greyish  Brown,  slightly  Greyish  Brown,  very  slightly  Greyish Brown, moderately strong colour, strong  colour and vivid colour.

As  a  general  rule  of  thumb,  the  higher  the  saturation in a gemstone, the more valuable it  becomes. Sometimes the saturation is even more  important  than  the  hue  itself.  For  example  a  violetish Blue Sapphire with a vivid saturation,  would most likely cost more than a pure Blue Sapphire which had a greyish brown saturation.

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A London Blue Topaz showing great saturation