In the Munsell system, color is described by 3 dimensions called hue, value, and saturation. English has a lot of words for hue (e.g. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violent, magenta), but very few words for values (e.g. light, dark) and almost none for saturation (e.g. neon, pastel). I was wondering if there were any other languages that had more robust color vocabularies?
Whether this qualifies or not is open to interpretation, but there is a system for describing how saturated a colour is in Punjabi.
Due to a long period of Persian rule historically, about a fifth of Punjabi vocabulary is loaned from Persian. This included the Persian colour terms, which got integrated into the language without replacing the original native colour terms.
A new meaning that came from this is Persian colour + Punjabi colour = more saturated version of that colour. So we can say: لال سرخ to mean "deep red." This is a bit different from using an adjective like "deep" in English because the combination is different for each color. Persian red = سرخ and Punjabi red = لال. These combinations also often have figurative meanings, لال سرخ can be "red with anger."
I think in languages like Punjabi in which words are highly inflectional and which employ reduplication to make new meanings from combined synonyms there is less of a need for qualifying modifers to describe the type of colour, because there are already regular tendencies which can be employed to change the connotation of the word(s) used themselves.
One problem is that saturation is more of a post-hoc scientific construct, and not a thing that people independently perceive and have names for. Ordinary general adjectives can be pressed into service (weak, moderate, strong). The term "pale" which is specific to color sort of describes saturation. Brightness is also perceptually very difficult to divide into three of more discrete ranges, except via "medium" which could be about anything and is not specifically a color term. There are no reports of languages that have richer color-specific lexical classifications of saturation and brightness ("lexical" meaning "reduced to one word" – any language can construct elaborate descriptive phrases to point to certain areas of a perceptual scale).
In the realm of hue, a distinction is made in linguistic color studies between "basic" terms and others. "Green" is a basic term, and "olive green" or "sea green" are not, because basic terms are single words. Languages are said to have between 2 and 12 basic color terms, English having 11. Italian, Russian and Hebrew have 12 color terms – in the case of Russian, there are distinct lexical items sinii and goluboi which are said to correspond to English "dark blue" and "light blue". The English "basic color terms" are black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, and grey.
You probably know of the existence of many more single word color terms, for example teal, mauve, puce, tan, beige, fuchsia, indigo, magenta, violet, scarlet. Today I learned that there is also a color "viridian", which seems green to me. These are, apparently, "non-basic" terms. A second factor behind "basic" color terms is that these are colors distinctions that are (widely) agreed on by speakers of the language, though I am skeptical about using "agreement" to exclude many of the above additional colors. If we extend the colors of interest to all single-word color distinctions, the leading candidates for "most color terms in the world" are English and French. Also note that most of those add-on terms are the same in English and French – we borrowed a number of color terms from French.