Pink Sapphires | A Guide On Judging Color In Pink Sapphires
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Sapphire Colors & Varieties

Pink Sapphires

The Standard For Pink Sapphires

Pink sapphires come in very pale baby pink to vivid, intense magenta. In today’s market, the most coveted pink sapphire colors are saturated purplish red hues with a medium tone—these are often described as “hot pink” or “bubble-gum pink.”.

The current trend in pink sapphires, hot pink!

Hot pink sapphire

 What Is The Availability Of These Gems?

Pink sapphires have become more widely available since new deposits were found in Madagascar in the late 1990s.  Until that time, pink sapphires were considered exceptionally rare since they were only found in a few locations around the world including Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Eye-clean, untreated stones are available on the market, but the majority of these have had their clarity enhanced by heat treatment.  Because pink sapphires are rare, stones half a carat or more are not cut into calibrated sizes.  Instead, each stone is cut to retain as much of the rough as possible, most are given a mixed cut.

What Gives These Gems Their Exceptional Color?

Most pink sapphires are colored by traces of chromium,very high chromium concentrations will create a ruby, and lower concentrations create pink sapphires.  If the trace element titanium is also included in the crystal structure, the sapphire will have a more purplish pink hue.

A beautiful light pink sapphire

A beautiful light pink sapphire

Where Can They Be Found?

Pink sapphires are often found in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and East Africa. Close on the heels of this attention grabbing color in popularity is yellow!

A Note On The Conflicting Reports Of Pink Sapphires

Many of the sapphires from Madagascar are subjected to moderate heat treatments to reduce their purplish secondary colors.  This “gentler” process does not alter the internal characteristics of the gemstone which makes the detection of heat treatment more difficult for gemologists. Madagascar pink sapphires, are heated at  about 400º C for only a few hours or even as little as five minutes.   The high tech equipment used to distinguish treated stones is costly and beyond the reach of the average gem laboratory. It is still a new science and in many cases, it can be very difficult to determine if a pink sapphire from Madagascar has been heated. Even the most respected professional laboratories have been known to disagree when evaluating the same gemstone.

We have given multiple laboratories the exact same Madagascar pink sapphire for testing to determine if it had been heated or not. We were given conflicting results on the same stone from different laboratories. One stated that the pink sapphire was heated and the other unheated. Reputable laboratories do an excellent job, but just like determining origin, it is a difficult task.

Pink sapphire with conflicting reports

Pink sapphire with conflicting reports

 This pink sapphire has two conflicting report results.  One specifies no heat treatment, while the other assesses the sapphire to be heated.

Gubelin certificate stating sapphire is heated

Gubelin certificate stating sapphire is heated

AGTA certificate stating the sapphire is unheated

AGTA certificate stating the sapphire is unheated

 

Whether or not this pink sapphire is heated or untreated it’s still a magnificent color worthy of attention.

 

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