Colours are an integral part of our lives. They surround us from dawn ‘till dusk; when crossing the street at the green light, looking up at the sky to predict the weather, watching the sunset, or simply when decorating our lives, colours are just everywhere! They often stir up emotions and allow us to express ourselves. Coloured stones spark curiosity and passion. In short, what would life be without colours?


What’s most fascinating about colour is that it depends on one single thing: light. Without light there would be no colours. It is the light frequency that our eyes and brain interpret as distinct colours. Light frequency is the number of waves per second.

The human eye detects wavelengths of 400 nm (purple) up to 700 nm (red) of the electromagnetic spectrum. These wavelengths correspond to the visible spectrum.


When we detect a color, it is because the light has been transformed by a material. In the case of gems, it is often the selective absorption of light that dictates their color. The material that contains different trace elements absorbs some, or all, of the wavelengths and then the residual energy is translated by the brain which interprets the color.


Perceiving color is not a difficult task. However, communicating a color can be more complex. There are the basic, relatively simple colors like blue, red, and yellow. We can add adjectives like dark, pale, or bright. Sometimes it is easier to refer to objects to describe a color: lemon yellow, lime green, eggplant mauve, candy pink, forest green, etc. Our brain instantly sees color.


We can also use the origin of stones to describe their color. This is the case with Thai sapphires, Muzo emeralds, Burmese rubies or Paraibas tourmalines.

Some colors can be perceived differently from person to person. This is often the case with mixtures of colors like teal, a mixture of blue and green, or peach, a mixture of pink and yellow. 

But does teal have a predominance of blue or green? Is the peach more pink or orange? 

We asked our 3,000 Instagram followers and discussed the results with color expert Katinka Champion *. You can consult our "highlights" on Instagram and answer the quiz. 




The peach color is made up of yellow, orange and often pink. But several factors can be taken into account in the perception of this color.


“As the eyes get older, they can develop a yellow filtering effect on vision, so depending on what stage of life you are in, you may see a yellow-orange color that is more yellow than it is. really is. If your eyes see more yellow in a peach tint, it makes the color less peachy. All of these nuances should be kept in mind when judging the color or requesting a peach-colored gem for a customer. " 

Katinka Champion 


It is important to ask how much pink or yellow is desired.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of people responded that Stone A, a morganite, is the closest match to the peach color. It is interesting to note that stone B, a sapphire, received 22.5% of the votes and 12.5% of the participants answered that A and B correspond to this color. More than 97% of the votes went to stones A and B. The majority of people therefore consider that peach contains a significant amount of rose! Sapphires, morganites, spinels, malaya garnets or certain imperial topazes are good examples of stones in these hues.






In French, this color is called duck blue or teal. It corresponds to the mixture of intense reflections of green and blue that we find on the neck of the duck. So it's a mixture of colors. 


“Most people have a preconceived color in their minds about what teal should look like. In their eyes, this color is probably based on their life experiences with this elusive hue. "

- Katinka Champion


Unlike a fixed color, teal should be accompanied by a primary shade identifier such as blue or green. For example, blue-green or green-bluish. Katinka also explains to us that certain life experiences can influence our perception of colors. For example, a young girl who allegedly bought a dress qualified as teal by the seller; the exact shade of this dress would therefore match the teal color for that person. This experience would have sown the seed in his mind and, unconsciously, created this memory link to this precise color.


All the stones in the quiz are sapphires from Montana or Australia. Almost 24% of respondents answered that the color of stone B most closely matched teal. The stones D, B and F received 20%, 17% and 15% of the votes respectively. Only 4% of people answered that the E stone came closest to teal and 1.50% answered that the A stone matched this color.

In our opinion, Montana sapphires and Australian sapphires are the stones that most represent the color duck blue or teal. The blue, yellow and green colored areas create reflections reminiscent of those seen on these majestic birds. 




According to Katinka, “Lavender is another color like teal, which is very subjective. It can be difficult to capture all of the floral intricacies in a hue. This light purple can range from very pale pastel purple to a more saturated floral lavender with a hint of pink or blue in both versions. Tanzanite, sapphire, and spinel can all reflect these captivating hues for the viewer. "


The stones C and D got 33% and 31.5% of the votes respectively while the combination of C and D got 11.5% of the votes. The vast majority of respondents therefore find that these two pastel shades are the most representative of the color.


Color communication


How do we describe a color over the phone or by email? There are several gradation systems that communicate colors. However, it is essential that both people use the same system. Which doesn't happen often! 


GIA had marketed a tool called Gem Set: a set of colored “spoons” representing 324 colors of stones. The stone traders could then call each other from one end of the world to the other and give themselves the reference of the desired color. Unfortunately, this system has not existed since the early 2000s.

Image: GIA Gemset


Another system, the Gemewizard, is now in use. It allows to communicate a little more than 1000 colors. The problem? This system is only available online and not all screens are calibrated the same for colors! Other systems, such as World of Colors, are used by reviewers.

Image: Gemewizard


It will always be difficult to describe a stone or a gemstone color. It’s a mixture of colors and reflections. The best way is to describe it using its base color, saturation and hue. For example, a very saturated light blue-gray or yellow-orange. The wonderful thing about the world of stones is that we will always find a stone that will match the color and shade you want! 

* Katinka Champion, AOCA is a Toronto-based color expert, professional graphic designer, photo art director and colored stone fanatic. She is an active personality in the Color Marketing Group (CMG) that joined CMG in the mid-90s. This is where her passion for color was ignited by collaborating on workshops to help develop the ever-changing palettes. evolution of the international association. She can be contacted by email at, or contacted on Instagram at @gemcolorida.