Gemstones, Diamonds, Pearls -
My Shopping Cart My Account Gem Library
|Welcome to|Single Stones|Calibrated Stones|Pairs|Mix Lots|Closeouts|Carved Gems|lapidary and gemological tools and supplies|Gem Smart Search|
 Home / Gem Library / Resources / Color Types May 28, 2024  

GIA Color descriptions for Colored Gemstones

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) suggests to describe color for colored gemstones as Hue, Tone and Saturation.


Hue is described as the shade, tint or sensation of a color. The GIA has 31 Hues and the he complete GIA GemSet® has 324 sample hue colors with varying Tones and Saturations. In addition we put RGB (Red Green Blue) and HEX codes for your reference.

Key Code Name HEX RGB
R R red FA0303 R:250 G:3 B:3
oR oR orangy red EE2102 R:238 G:33 B:2
RO/OR RO/OR red-orange or orange-red FB3E00 R:251 G:62 B:0
rO rO reddish orange FE6000 R:254 G:96 B:0
O O orange F87B00 R:254 G:96 B:0
yO yO yellowish orange F6A400 R:246 G:164 B:0
oY oY orangy yellow F7CD00 R:247 G:205 B:0
Y Y yellow F8F800 R:248 G:248 B:0
gY gY greenish yellow CEE600 R:206 G:230 B:0
YG/GY YG/GY yellow-green or green-yellow B0DD00 R:176 G:221 B:0
styG styG strongly yellowish green 7BCE00 R:123 G:206 B:0
yG yG yellowish green 4DC100 R:77 G:193 B:0
slyG slyG slightly yellowish green 26C200 R:38 G:194 B:0
G G green 00C000 R:0 G:192 B:0
vslbG vslbG very slightly bluish green 00BE26 R:0 G:190 B:38
bG bG bluish green 00BA4A R:0 G:186 B:74
vstbG vstbG very strongly bluish green 00B96F R:0 G:185 B:111
GB/BG GB/BG green-blue or blue-green 00B893 R:0 G:184 B:147
vstgB vstgB very strongly greenish blue 09B4B4 R:9 G:180 B:180
vslgB vslgB very slightly greenish blue 0A59AA R:10 G:89 B:170
B B blue 0916A5 R:9 G:22 B:165
vB vB violetish blue 0808A0 R:8 G:8 B:160
bV bV bluish violet 7B0AB4 R:62 G:8 B:170
V V violet 7B0AB4 R:123 G:10 B:180
bP bP bluish purple C70BC7 R:199 G:11 B:199
P P purple D40CB1 R:212 G:12 B:177
rP rP reddish purple E90A9E R:233 G:10 B:158
RP/PR RP/PR red-purple or purple-red F50E80 R:245 G:14 B:128
strpR stpR strongly purplish red F80E5C R:248 G:14 B:92
slpR slpR slightly purplish red F20E33 R:242 G:14 B:51
R R red FA0303 R:250 G:3 B:3
Pk Pk pink (exception) FFDFDF R:255 G:223 B:223
Brn Brn brown (exception) B7770D R:183 G:119 B:13


Tone is described as the relative lightness or darkness of a Hue. The GIA Tone Scale is divided into 11 grades, 0 to 10, with 0 being colorless to 10 being black.

Key Scale Code Name HEX RGB
C 0 c Colorless or White FFFFFF R:255 G:255 B:255
XL 1 ex1 Extremely light F8F8F8 R:248 G:248 B:248
VL 2 v1 Very light F0F0F0 R:240 G:240 B:240
L 3 l Light E8E8E8 R:232 G:232 B:232
ML 4 ml Medium light D6D6D6 R:214 G:214 B:214
M 5 m Medium C5C5C5 R:197 G:197 B:197
MD 6 md Medium dark A3A3A3 R:163 G:163 B:163
D 7 d Dark 888888 R:136 G:136 B:136
VD 8 vd Very dark 646464 R:100 G:100 B:100
XD 9 exd Extremely dark 424242 R:66 G:66 B:66
BL 10 bl Black 000000 R:0 G:0 B:0

Tone Scale
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


Saturation is described as the strength or purity of a Hue. The GIA Saturation Scale is from 1 to 6. The lower numbers such as 1, 2 or 3 of warm colors such as red, orange or yellow and tend to look brownish and the cool colors such as blue and green tend to look grayish. Level 4 no longer shows either grayishness or brownishness, while neither is strong or weak. Level 5 is strong and level 6 being vivid, almost over colored.

Scale Code Name
1 gr(br) grayish (brownish)
2 slgr slightly grayish(brownish
3 vslgr very slightly grayish(brownish)
4 mst moderately strong
5 st strong
6 v vivid
Saturation scale (medium dark stone)
1 2 3 4 5 6

Knowledge Search/
Enter Keywords:
Enter one or more keywords (i.e madagascar sapphires ).

About Gemstones /

Gem Library/
Gems Legend and  Lore Gems Legend and Lore
Some of the latest of ways that gems have been associated with Birthstones and Signs of the Zodiac.
Understanding Gemstones Understanding Gemstones
Learn about Physical and Optical properties, color, clarity and cut of gemstones.
Gems Glossary Gems Glossary
Ever wonder what are "Blemish", "Luster", "Saturation" "Uniformity" or "Mine Run" means?
Reference and  Links Reference and Links
Recommended books and links to Gem, Jewelry&Mineral Magazines, Gem Institutes and Labs.

Book’s Corner/
Buy at DK Handbooks: Gemstones by Cally Hall and Harry Taylor
Price: USD 15.16
"Very good reference book to gems, stones and bones used in jewelry and ornamentations. Easy to use and read..."
see more recommendations

 Top of Page Need help?  

Gemstones for sale: Alexandrite, Garnet, Diamond, Opal, Spinel, Sapphire, Tourmaline, Tanzanite, Tsavorite,
Gemstones by Category: Calibrated, Carving, Closeout, Jewelry, Mixed Lot, Pair, Rough, Single, Best Sellers or Featured Gemstones.
Gemstone education: Colored Gemstones Guide, Gems Library, Gemstone Treatments, Gemstone Glossary, Gems and Astrology,

All Transactions secure by Thawte certificate - click here to validate Ebay Power Seller Gem Certification Various Shipping Options Major Credit Cards Accepted

All trademarks and logos shown herein are the property of their respective owners. © Copyright, 1998-2011. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of Return Policy, Privacy Policy and Trading Guarantee. Published and operated by David Wein Ltd. 32 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong Island Hong Kong. Lost? Check site map or resources page.

Site design and maintenance by NetComposite ®.