Natural Padparadscha Sapphire

3.62 ct Padparadscha Sappire, Madagascar
Padparadscha Sapphire

The term Padparadscha refers to a rare orangey-pink or pinkish-orange color of sapphire that was first identified in Sri Lanka. The term Padparadscha itself comes from the Sanskrit padma raga ("lotus color") since the distinctive color of these rare sapphires is thought to resemble the color of the lotus flower.

The exact color of the Padparadscha sapphire is the subject of ongoing debate in the gem trade. Though some gemological laboratories have tried to influence the discussion, the definition of the Padparadscha color is not really a scientific matter. The market ultimately decides what will be accepted as Padparadscha and which Padparadschas are most highly valued.

Based on our experience in the market, we can say with some confidence that the gem trade evaluates Padparadscha sapphire according to the following criteria:

  • Though there is debate about the exact color range for Padparadscha, the color must be a mix of orange and pink, preferably with no brown modifier.

  • Sapphires that exhibit an approximately equal mix of orange and pink tend to be regarded as more typically Padparadscha. Gems that are almost completely pink or completely orange are less convincingly called Padparadscha.

  • The ideal Padparadscha color is a mix of pink of and orange with minimal color zoning (when viewed with the unaided eye). Sapphires with pink and orange regions are often called Padparadascha, but these do not exemplify the ideal color.

  • Some gemological labs have offered the view that Padparadschas should exhibit pastel tones with low to medium color saturation. Though many classic Padparadschas do indeed exhibit these characteristics, more saturated pink/orange sapphires are usually called Padparadscha in the trade, and are in fact desired by many buyers.

  • The color must be natural; the color cannot be the result of introducing a foreign element such as beryllium which changes the color of the gem. Similarly, any sapphire which has been dyed or coated could be not be called a true Padparadscha.

  • Simple heat treatment is acceptable with genuine Padparadschas, since heating tend to affect clarity rather than color (by dissolving some inclusions such as rutile).

  • The most valuable Padparadscha's are completely untreated, since this is the best assurance that the color is 100% natural.

True Padparadschas are among the rarest and most valuable of all sapphires and are coveted by gemstone collectors. The traditional source is in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), but sapphires with the requisite color have been found in other locations, including Madagascar and Tanzania.

See our collection of Fine Padparadscha Sapphire