The naming convention for colored diamonds was not always the same as it was earlier. Historically, the colored diamonds were named after the specific location from where they came. This caused a fair amount of confusion since there were multiple locations from where specific colored diamonds were mined.
A near-colorless diamond would be called 'Golconda' since most of the stones that originated in this mining area in India were colorless. Some others referred to other colorless diamonds as 'River'. This was because stones recovered near the riverbed are colorless most of the times. Outside of India, the Jagerfonstein mine in South Africa also produced colorless diamonds with some blue florescence and these diamonds were called 'jagers'.
According to this loose nomenclature system, diamonds with a yellow tint were assumed to be from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and therefore were called 'cape'. However, the produce from Cape of Good Hope had variations that ranged from a light tint to dark yellow and these were then differentiated with names like top silver cape, light cape, silver cape, dark cape or plain and simple cape.
It is fairly obvious from the above description how the historic naming convention was not perfect and allowed for various misunderstandings and errors in communication. When someone referred to a specific diamond as jager, there was no surety about the level of blue tint that the colorless diamond may have.
A single location or source of diamonds does not always produce diamonds of exactly the same color and quality. There are differences that can occur in the same batch of diamonds as well. Therefore, even when one is referring to a yellow diamond as top silver cape, there are chances that the quality of the diamond may vary. This is also obvious when we study the kind of diamonds that the premier mine has yielded. Even though most of the diamonds that come from this mine were light yellow with strong blue fluorescence, the same mine has produced famous colorless diamonds like Cullinan and the Premier Rose. The world's largest faceted diamond, the yellow-brown Golden Jubilee also comes from the same mines.
Even when a colored diamond from a location is classified by the specific color, there are chances for communication lapses. Therefore, interpretations of the Golconda colorless diamond can be different based on the previous experience that the jeweler may have had with diamonds from that mine.
Descriptive colors like blue-white, gem-white, pinkish-red, and bluish-green can also be misleading because there is no guarantee or explanation of the amount of each specific color. The blue-white tag has been misused the maximum and it has been used to describe colorless diamonds as well as yellow diamonds. In fact the high incidence of misuse of this name led to the Federal Trade Commission in the US to make a statement with regards to misuse of the word and the attempt to use it in fraud cases.
Another name that has caused a fair amount of confusion with this naming structure is the 'top light brown'. This is mainly used to refer to the small diamonds that Indian manufacturers make. These diamonds have a slight brown color on the face up and look almost colorless when mounted.
With all the disadvantages of the older naming style, the same was used for a fair amount of time. But with better technology and systematization the color grading system was developed. The modern system does not depend on subjective interpretations of words and colors like 'canary', 'river' or 'purplish'. This new grading system also taken into account various narrow levels of colors and therefore each delta hue is classified.
The greatest aspect of this system is the fact that it leaves no ambiguity in the mind of the people involved in trade about what is being referred to when a grading nomenclature is used to define the color of the diamond. The F-colored diamond has the same meaning for everyone irrespective of their past associations, country and subjective interpretations.
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