|Rare Pink Sapphire
The popularity of pink sapphire can probably be traced to the fascination with pink diamonds. Pink diamonds are one of the rarest and most expensive of all gemstones, out of reach of most people except the very rich. Pink sapphire is a more affordable alternative, though still rare and hardly inexpensive.
Sapphire has become a popular choice as a wedding ring after Prince Charles gave Princess Diana a blue sapphire engagement ring. Sapphire has found favor both for its excellent hardness (9 on the Mohs scale) and the interesting choice of colors. Pink sapphire is favored as an engagement ring because sapphire in the lighter colors tends to have more brilliance, luster and fire. Sapphire also has positive associations like faithfulness and sincerity.
Blue is the classic sapphire color, but good quality pink sapphire is actually more rare. Pink sapphire in larger sizes is particularly hard to find. In general pink sapphire is more valuable than the other colors of fancy sapphire, such as yellow, green and violet.
Pink sapphire can range in color from a delicate pink without any overtones, to pink with a slight violet tinge. But all the gradations of color are possible, from those tending toward ruby to those tending towards violet sapphire. Like ruby, pink sapphire is colored by the trace element chromium, so the concentration of chromium will determine the depth of color. Violet tones are the result of traces of vanadium.
In general, the clearer and more vivid the color, the more valuable the sapphire. If the color is in the pastel range, the clarity should be good. This is because in lighter tones inclusions are more noticeable. In a lighter colored gemstone, the cut is also very important: it should reflect light back evenly across the face of the stone, making it lively and brilliant. With darker, more intense colors, the cut is not as critical because the color creates its own impact.
The classic source for pink sapphire has always been Sri Lanka, with some material coming from Burma. In recent years, fine pink sapphire from Africa has come on to the international market, with Madagascar and Tanzania being the most important of the new African sources. Usually pink sapphire is heated to improve its clarity, but rare unheated specimens can occasionally be found.
- First Published: December-19-2008
- Last Updated: October-06-2010
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