off-colour, adjective and & noun

obsolescent, Diamond-mining
A. adjective Of a diamond: neither pure white nor of a definite colour, and so of inferior value.
1860 A. De Barrera Gems & Jewels 164If the manufactured diamond is found to contain a flaw, or what is technically termed ‘off-color’, its value is proportionately diminished.
1872 C.A. Payton Diamond Diggings 57The vast majority of our large diamonds, i.e. of stones over 10 carats, are ‘off-colour’, being instead of pure ‘white’ — or rather transparent — tinged, apparently throughout, with a yellowish tint, varying from the palest straw-colour to that of the topaz, or pale sherry colour.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 356When..one talks of ‘yellow stones,’ one means ‘coloured’ of that tint, not ‘fancy;’ on the fields we incorrectly call them ‘off-colour.’ The true ‘off-colour’ has no distinct tinge at all.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 21In every digging known, large stones are apt to be ‘coloured’ or ‘off-colour’.
1894 Daily News 7 July 6Purchasing ‘off-colour diamonds’ and substituting them for others of the first quality.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 36Same old kopje walloping gabble from him. ‘Cracked, spots, smoky, off-colour, etc.’ At last I sold it to him for two hundred and ten pounds.
1933 W. Macdonald Romance of Golden Rand 24A few days after I had found my diamond it was declared to be off-colour, and, consequently, dropped greatly in value.
1968 J.T. McNish Rd to El Dorado 144Many South African diamonds..are off-colour and instead of being pure coloured are tinged throughout in colours varying from pale straw and light sherry to those as dark as very old acorns.
B. noun rare. An off-colour diamond.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 356The true ‘off-colour’ has no distinct tinge at all.
Of a diamond: neither pure white nor of a definite colour, and so of inferior value.
An off-colour diamond.
Derivatives:
Hence off-coloured participial adjective.
1872 C.A. Payton Diamond Diggings 118Often higher prices have been paid on the Fields, for large off-coloured (i.e. yellowish) stones.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 279Some of these biggest ones,..we could see by holding them up to the light, were a little yellow, ‘off coloured,’ as they call it at Kimberley.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18601968

Derivatives