Richard Wise – The Four C’s of Connoisseurship In Colored Stones

Richard W Wise

Richard W Wise

On Tuesday June 9th, 2009, we were treated to a Power Point Presentation “The Four C’s of Connoisseurship In Colored Stones” by Mr. Richard Wise a Graduate Gemologist (GIA) and President of R.W. Wise, Goldsmiths Inc., in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Mr. Wise explored the concept of connoisseurship as it pertains to colored gemstones, drawing on his extensive background and experience in wide ranging aspects of the industry. He went into detail explaining how the factors of color, cut, clarity and crystal can provide a framework for effective evaluation of quality in colored gemstones.

Mr. Wise explained his proposed change from the traditional four C’s color, cut, clarity and carat weight. He proposes to omit carat weight and substitute, or rather reintroduce a neglected, almost forgotten, but necessary criterion, crystal.

Beauty of a gemstone depends on a balance of Color, clarity, cut and crystal. None of these criteria is sufficient in itself to make a beautiful gem, all four are necessary conditions.

The four C’s, color, clarity, cut and crystal were each discussed in detail by Mr. Wise.

Color: as it is applied to connoisseurship in gemstones requires further definition. Color is divided into three components: hue, saturation and tone.

Cut: is most quantifiable, and the only one which depends completely on the ingenuity of man.

Clarity: inclusions or flaws, inclusions should be regarded as adding to desirability, for they add identifying characteristics. Inclusions should only be called flaws when their presence materially affects the beauty and/or the durability of a gemstone.

Crystal: the degree of transparency, if a stone has good crystal and is cut well it will glow.

Mr. Wise’s 275 page book, “Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur’s Guide To Precious Gemstones” was available at the meeting and is also available on his website at

VP - Doris Voigt

VP - Doris Voigt

Richard Wise & Courtland Lee

Richard Wise & Courtland Lee

With the help of Mr. Wise’s book I have given you an overview of his informative and powerful presentation to the DCGIA Chapter.

Submitted by Bobby Mann, GG

Photos by Melanie Marts, GG

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