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age and perception of color...

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Nov 3, 2009
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7,565
I am wondering about preference of certain colors and age.

I may be totally off the mark, but in my own case, I prefer very strongly saturated colors, maybe on the dark side. I have stones that are exception to the rule, but very few.

I do not remember how things were in my youth, but with age, color perception should change, because, unfortunately, our lens is becoming less transparent. It is a normal function of aging, but also the result of the loss of ozone in the atmosphere. One of the ways the sun can damage is is provoke development of cataracts if we do not wear very dark eyeglasses. I did not, in my youth, and although my eye exam is totally normal, I wonder if subtle processes have started.

You may not respond if this question sounds inappropriate, but since the moment I realized that the only way to assess the quality of the stone are my own eyes, the next question is, and how reliable are the eyes?

GIA books always mention the quality of assessment depending on an appraiser's health. Are there any studies on the eyes? How we respond to color? When we are more apt to appreciate the "neon"? What about "sleepiness"?
 

Upgradable

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2004
Messages
5,537
I know much of my tastes have changed. When I was in my 20's I liked pretty pastel colors, but this was the 80's, and before Pricescope! I have gone to much more saturated and luxurous stones and colors. I think it has to do with the aging of my hands, more than the aging of my eyes. I don't think delicate pastel stones look appropriate on my middle aged hands. Plus Pricescope has given me a multitude of different choices in stones and I'm no longer limited to the offerings of Kay, Zales, and the like.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2005
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28,975
I have glaucoma and see a ophthalmologist regularly.
She closely tracks my blue/green sensitivity.
She says everyone's blue/green sensitivity gradually declines with age.

But taste is quite different from what the equipment perceives.

Didn't we have a thread recently with a link to a color perception test?
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
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9,613
Our eyes and brains are a huge part of how we perceive colour - there was a great programme on Horizon in the UK last month on exactly this topic.

We were always taught that there was no right or wrong answer when it came to describing a stone's colour for the FGA exams as all colour perception is an individual thing and what you see as pink, I may see as pink-orange etc.

I'll ask my father if he knows of any good research on the topic next time I speak to him - he was an opthamologist for over 40 years.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 29, 2008
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9,717
I'm sure our perception of colour changes with age along with our tastes but I'm not sure that the two go hand in hand!

My perception of colour has certainly changed. For example, my father was once looking at a car that was in need of a re-spray and he asked me at the age of 8 to get his colour charts that contained literally hundreds of shades of samples. I went into his garage and picked out just one and took it back to my Dad. It was a perfect match. At that age I had the ability to retain a colour image accurately. Over time I've noticed that I am less able to do so but I'm better if I'm alert and de-stressed. When tired and stressed, my colour perception is definitely less sharp. For example, I took the colour perception test that somebody posted a while ago and when tired my score wasn't quite as good as when I was alert. When alert I got a perfect score. So I guess we see things differently depending on how we feel at that time.

In terms of likes/dislikes with colour changing I think that's just a matter of the ageing process and tastes change. For example, I never thought I would like big knickers but age and comfort have proved otherwise! :lol: I used to love rubies (not on my knickers I hasten to add :shock: ) but now prefer other colours! Like you, I'm drawn to strong bright colours BUT can be equally blown away by something pale and pretty.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 3, 2009
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7,565
If everyone's perception is different and valid,

does it mean that the certificates from appraisers' companies of good standing that I have seen (one of them commented on "pigeon blood rubies", the other one on "hot-pink" color of the spinel) do not hold much validity? Technically, appraisers should not list "true pigeon blood" or "hot pink" in such certificates, because everyone's perception of color is different?

Honestly, I did not hold the cert with "true pigeon blood" words in my hands but I saw it on a vendor's website. I do not remember if it was GIA or AGL.

This is exactly what I always thought. While it is legitimate to write "strong color change" in a certificate of alexandrite, it is not, strictly speaking, right, to use terms that general public associates with certain stones because one man's pink is another man's red...
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
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Terms like pigeon's blood or cornflower blue really should be got rid of IMHO. A bit of trivia regarding 'pigeon's blood' - it was actually specified as being the colour of the first two drops of blood from the nose of a freshly killed Burmese pigeon. In 1985, a guy called Nelson in the UK contacted London Zoo to obtain a sample of blood from one of these birds. The fresh sample arrived and he subjected it to spectrophotometry and the results were very, very far from what would be regarded as a fine colour for a ruby!

Currently there is no established and accepted colour grading system for gemstones - although the Chinese government is pushing for one (for import tax purposes I believe). Colour can be mapped by a computer - in the same way that computers can read colours on printed fabric samples to produce the right shades of dye for mass production. I've used these machines and even then they will produce 5 or 6 different recipes and if you make a few of them up they are still all slightly different.

You also need to consider what lighting is being used in order to judge the colour. In the past, gemstones were judged under north-facing daylight at noon and candlelight. Today the range of bulbs available on the market is vast and even with 'daylight' bulbs the spectral composition of the light can vary considerably with some lights having more blue and some more yellow etc. There are manuals available for jewellers on what lighting to use for different colours of gemstone - so they will use one light source for their rubies and other red gemstones and another for their blue sapphires.

Then add the issues of environment - what degree of latitude the person is in when they view the stone. Blue sapphires I have bought in Sri Lanka have looked a bit less saturated when I look at them here in London! My tutor always tells a story about a dealer here in London who was an emerald expert and had been in the trade for over 20 years. He went on a buying trip to Colombia and forgot his master stones. He bought an expensive and fabulous emerald - when he got home he was horrified to find that it was completely black in UK light rather than the beautiful green it had been in Colombia. He has it mounted in his office as an expensive reminder not to forget his master stones again!

It really is VERY hard to name a colour to a fine degree especially with something like a gemstone when it is being analysed so closely - in the way that a red or green sweater is not!

Personally I think the GIA system has a lot to recommend it.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 29, 2008
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9,717
I agree with Pandora that if I see "pigeon blood red" or "hot pink" or "cornflower" blue, I ignore it completely and judge with my eyes! My idea of cornflower blue may be totally different from a vendors! At the end of the day, I'm not interested in how somebody else classifies it so long as I know I've paid a fair amount and love what I see!

What I DO like is when a vendor tells you what lighting they have used to assess the gemstone and if they relate it back to the GIA colour grading system. I still have to make allowances for the fact that in the UK things look different to a lovely hot climate but that was only learned the hard way!

At the end of the day, the most valuable asset gemstone collectors have is their eyes.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
This is interesting. Never realized that our perception of color changes as we get older. Definitely explains why my dad wears certain things together!
 
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