COLOR MODIFIERS VERSUS UNDERTONE
In the world of fancy color diamonds, we apply a large number of terms to describe a stone. Some of these terms portray the stone’s general beauty, some its gemological attributes, and some its color. Many terms were invented by the GIA and became industry standards after decades of use. Other terms, such as “Tint, Tone, Shade, Pure, Dirty, Sweet, a touch of…”, etc., were gradually added by the trade in response to the real need to describe elements absent from the GIA report. Since these terms were invented spontaneously by individuals in the trade, a buyer can hear many different terms, all of which describe the exact same color deviations. Most diamond dealers understand the unofficial terminology but a jeweler may find it challenging, especially if he needs to make an intelligent sales pitch to a savvy customer.
GIA terminology describes different colors, called modifiers, when they appear in a significant amount but is silent about nuances within any specific color category. These “nuances” are not always insignificant, and can have a tremendous impact on price. Let’s discuss the two terms: modifier and undertone.
Modifier refers to the presence of a second or third color in the stone’s color mix. Modifiers are
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