MJC      Mary Johnson Consulting: What color is it?



On Green:


Back in the 1980s, I worked in a physical chemistry lab where we did a lot of measurements using lasers (for Raman characterization and pressure measurement using ruby luminescence). We used argon ion lasers and both colors the lasers were tuned to were beautiful.


Sometimes a laser would be tuned to 488 nm, which is a glowing turquoise blue like some of the finest Paraiba tourmalines. Usually, however, the lasers in the lab were tuned to 514 nm, an excellent green color.


One consequence of all that green in a darkened lab in my past is that I rarely see other hues as genuinely green. I see them as yellowish green or brownish green or sometimes bluish green. Even many fine emeralds look too bluish for me…And in some lights (e.g., fluorescent office light), I don’t see desaturated yellow-greens as green at all. Instead, I see them as yellows or oranges with a blue wash overlaying the color. I once described an “olive” diamond—somewhere in the green, brown, and gray intersection—as bluish violetish yellow; and Mali garnet color separations looked like yellow+cyan rather than green.


I recently purchased a Macbeth Judge II viewing box and a set of Munsell color chips for accurate color determination. One of the items I looked at was a recent (circa 2000) Fulper Copper-Dust tile that I saw, even in sunlight and incandescent light, as orange with a blue overlay.  It was instructive to see which colors matched when I compared it to the Munsell chips.



The copper dust tile itself measured between 7.5YR3/6 and 7.5YR4/8 (strong brown, according to http://www.december.com/html/spec/colorucl.html; DAACS dark muted orange to medium intense orange).

The “blued” area was between 7.5Y4/4 and 7.5Y3/4 (olive; or DAACS medium-to-dark muted yellow): nowhere near blue.



(By the way, another place one does not see genuine, excellent green is on TV sets and computer monitors.  Got green?)