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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Padparadscha Sapphire

Padparadscha sapphires are prized for their rare and enchanting pink-orange hue, reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These exquisite gemstones are highly coveted for their unique color and exceptional beauty, making them the rarest and most valuable color of sapphire. The name, as esoteric as the color is elusive, is said to be derived from the Sinhalese term for lotus flower.

Lotus Flower
Lotus Flower

Experts sometimes disagree on the exact color for padparadscha. Walter Schumann, whose book Gemstones of the World is virtually a bible for the gem trade, characterizes padparadscha sapphire as "pinkish orange".

Since padparadscha comes from the term for lotus flower, couldn't we define the color by looking at the lotus flower? That would be fine, except lotus flowers come in red, pink, blue, white and pale yellow. In Buddhism the pink lotus is regarded as the 'supreme lotus,' and the lotus associated with the historical Buddha. So maybe we should be looking at a pink lotus.

Rare Padparadscha Sapphire
Padparadscha Sapphire

If we look at a pink lotus (see photo), the flower is decidedly pink. There is really no orange at all, except for the stamens and the seed cup (which is more yellow than orange). So it doesn't look like nature will help us define the color of the padparadscha.

The best consensus we've found from our reading of gemological literature is that a padparadscha sapphire must display both orange and pink hues with a pastel tone. There is no agreement on whether orange or pink should predominate. We've looked at hundreds of photos of alleged padparadscha gems, and many look entirely pink or entirely orange to us.

Rare Padparadscha Sapphire Rough
Padparadscha Rough

Genuine untreated padparadscha sapphires are extremely scarce, often fetching prices up to $5,000 per carat due to their rarity. These authentic stones are hard to come by. More prevalent are pink or orange sapphires that undergo beryllium treatment to mimic the padparadscha hue. However, these treated stones often have overly intense colors or dark tones, failing to match the natural beauty of a true padparadscha sapphire.

If you really love the padparadscha color, it may be easier to find it in tourmaline than in sapphire. Many pink tourmalines have a delicate touch of orange and yellow, with the right pastel tone to meet the padparadscha requirement.

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