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The Sunset Sapphire

4th February 2020

Mostly known for their royal blue tone, sapphires can actually be found in all colors of the rainbow. From purple to yellow, this gemstone is the rarest when presenting an orangy-pink color, the so-called Padparadscha sapphire.

Belonging to the corundum family, as well as rubies, all sapphires are rated at 9 on the Mohs’ scale, which is the second hardest grade after diamond, and indicates a high resistance to scratches.

Various Padparadscha Sapphires, from pink to orange hues. 

The exotic name given to this specific stone comes from the Sinhalese language, meaning “aquatic lotus blossom”. According to a GIA report, the term firstly appeared at the very end of the XXth century and referred to the changing pink colors of the lotus’ petals. Indeed, these sapphires cover hues from pink to orange, describing the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset tones. Not to be confused with Pushparaga sapphires that are rather yellow stones.

lotus flower.jpg

Lotus Flower. Colors of the Padparadscha Sapphire.

The main sources of Padparadscha sapphires are located in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Tanzania, which makes sense if you consider that these countries were neighbors when earth was one massive land, about 300 millions years ago. However we do notice slight differences of colors depending on the origins: Madagascar rather presents purplish-pink hues sapphires, compared to Sri Lanka that is known for more orangy pink colors. Ceylon sapphires are generally considered the most valuable as their colors tend to be more intense. Indeed the most saturated, the most sought-after is the stone, this is why they are usually heated to enhance their color but of course, treatments are not a fair game!

rough stone 2.46 cts.jfif

2.46 cts Rough Padparadscha Sapphire

Padparadschas are quite unknown from the public and this is due to their extreme rarity and limited apparition in jewelry. Rarely found above two carats, the sunset sapphires are not often of good quality: because of their high clarity and usually light color, inclusions are easily seen which affect the stone’s beauty. This also explains the uncommon shapes given to Padparadscha sapphires, the aim is to enhance the color and to limit the visibility of internal flaws, which regularly generate slightly deformed and asymmetrical cuts. The most common of them are cushion and oval cuts, which facets are boosting the stone’s brightness and brilliancy.

Promenades Impériales Set, Les Mondes de Chaumet Collection, by Chaumet, 2018. Legends on pictures

Due to its rarity, only a handful of jewelers use this specific gemstone in their creations. David Morris, Chanel and Chaumet pushed the limits offering complete sets with Padparadscha sapphires. Other brands focus on the important size of the center stone with a contemporary and floral design.

Padparadscha Sapphires Jewels. Legends on pictures

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