January 2017 Newsletter: The Pleasures of Pink Sapphire


Members  of the corundum family have historically been the most valuable of all colored gems, due to their rarity, vivid color and excellent hardness. The finest Burmese rubies have sold at auction for more than $1 million per carat, and the best blue sapphires from Kashmir and Burma have achieved prices as high as $200,000 per carat.

The prices for high quality fancy sapphires -- pink, yellow, orange, padparadscha, green and white -- are not as steep, but special pinks and padparadscha colors have sold for as much as $40,000 to $50,000 per carat. 

Pink sapphires are nearly as rare as rubies and are sought after by collectors, especially for special occasion jewelry like engagement and anniversary rings. One reason is that pink sapphire can have a similar look to very expensive pink diamond, with excellent brilliance and sparkle. But pink sapphire is not only more affordable than pink diamond, it can also be found in larger sizes and with much better color saturation.

Corundum is pure aluminum oxide by chemical composition, and is completely colorless unless tinted by impurities. Pink sapphire, like ruby, is colored by traces of chromium; and the greater the concentration of chromium, the deeper the pink color. Pink sapphire ranges in color from a pale pink to coral pink to purplish pink and reddish pink. The presence of titanium adds a bluish hue, yielding a purplish pink. An exceptionally rare pink-orange color is known as Padparadscha. Pinkish-red corundum is usually called ruby, but the dividing line between pink sapphire and ruby is fuzzy.

Pink sapphire, like ruby, tends to have inclusions. In general, ruby and pink sapphire will tend to have more inclusions than blue or yellow sapphire. Thus a pink sapphire graded as eye clean (no inclusions detectable by the unaided eye) would count as quite a clean specimen. 

Almost all pink sapphire is heated to improve the clarity or reduce the purplish secondary hue. Since even very good pink sapphires can be further improved by heating, it is unusual to find a high quality unheated stone. 

The classic sources for pink sapphire are Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and Burma. More recently, fine stones have come from Africa, especially from Madagascar, where major deposits were found in the late 1990's. Some of the best Madgascar material occurs in rare large sizes (over 2 carats) with excellent color saturation. 

See our collection of Fine Pink Sapphires



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature fine Sapphires from our collection, including 2 Pink Sapphires and a Padparadscha. 

Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

2.62 ct Pink Sapphire from Madagascar
2.62 ct Pink Sapphire from Madagascar  [SOLD]
A classic bubble gum Pink Sapphire. This is an exceptionally clean gem with wonderful fire. Precision cut with excellent proportions and polish, it bursts with color from all angles. Simply a brilliant gemstone that will make a beautiful piece of jewelry. Guaranteed natural.

2.16 ct Unheated Blue Sapphire from Ceylon

A lovely unheated Ceylon sapphire at an excellent price. Nice bright color with very good brilliance. Well cut with no window. Certified as natural and unheated by GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) with origin noted as Sri Lanka. Perfect size for a special ring.

1.08 ct Padparadscha Sapphire from Tanzania

A pretty gem with a sweet Padparadscha color. This is a well cut sapphire that will sparkle in any setting. This is a rare sapphire color that will be an important addition to your sapphire collection. Guaranteed natural.

See the video

4.11 ct Purplish Pink Sapphire from Madagascar

A large Sapphire with an intense purplish pink color, this cushion shaped gem has been perfectly cut, resulting in a gem with full luster and brilliance with no window. Full of fire and very clean, the vivid color and large size make this a special gem. Guaranteed natural.

See the video

News from AJS and the Gems World

  • Happy New Year!

All the best for the new year to all our friends around the world ... we wish you and your family a healthy and prosperous 2017!

  • Christie's Auctions 51 carat Diamond for $5.6 million

At Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction in New York in December, the top item was a 51 carat Diamond that sold for $5.6 million. The auctioneer sold the rectangular, 51.35-carats, D-color, VVS1 diamond for $108,423 per carat. The pre-sales estimate was $5 million to $7 million. 



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

Are zircon and zirconia the same gem? Thanks for your answer, DA, UK

Despite the similarities in the names, zircon and zirconia are very different. Cubic zirconia is a synthetic material, the cubic form of lab-created zirconium dioxide. It is very inexpensive and is usually sold as a diamond simulant. Zircon is a natural gemstone, zirconium silicate by chemical composition. Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Tanzania and Burma, and is found in blue, red and honey colors. It is highly regarded for its excellent fire and dispersion.


I know diamond has a hardness rating of 10, and sapphire and ruby are 9. But actually how much harder is diamond than sapphire? CH, USA

The Mohs scale for mineral hardness tells us that a material with a higher rating can scratch a material with a lower rating. So the Mohs scale is a relative scale. When hardness is considered in absolute terms, diamond (hardness 10) is about 3.75 times harder than sapphire/ruby (hardness 9), which in turn is about twice as hard as gems with a Mohs rating of 8, such as topaz.

Having said that, it is worth noting the remarkable hardness of even moderately hard gem materials. A steel knife blade, for example, has a hardness of about 5.5, softer than aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, quartz, zircon, jade, peridot, tanzanite and opal.




All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron