Fancy Sapphires and the Padparadscha

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The word sapphire will usually stir up images of sparkling deep blue gems, saturated with the fabled Kashmir cornflower hues that we all know and love. That's actually how most people in the world would normally visualize this rare and important gem variety today.

There's much more to sapphires though than their popular blue variety. This stone actually belongs to a mineral species called corundum. Within this specific species, we have many different varieties that are currently rising in trade presence. Each possesses its own unique color or optical phenomenon that marks it as an individual gemstone variety to be recognized in the industry.

The red variety- ruby, is already a king in the world of jewellery, but the other brilliant color varieties are relatively younger in terms of high-end reception. Most "fancy colored" sapphires (all other colors of corundum except for red and blue) are among the trendiest choices for budding jewellery designers wanting to expand their palettes for more vibrant seasonal collections.

Sapphires Come in A Huge Diversity of Bodycolor Hues. In Fact, Any Corundum Gem Mineral that is Not Predominantly Blue or Red, is Considered to be a Fancy Sapphire.


Pinks and yellows seem to rank next in line after red and blue corundum in terms of popularity, but there is one variety that can sometimes even surpass blue sapphire in terms of rarity, price and value.

The Padparadscha is a sapphire variety that has become so popular that many in our industry now specialise in supplying only its elusive color.

This color can best be described as an orangey pink or pinkish orange, with strong- vividly brilliant saturation levels. Demand for this stone has been quite high in the recent decades, although its supply in the higher qualities is not always consistent. One major obstacle lies in the strictness of the terminology used- many gem traders often label pure orange sapphires as Padparadscha, even if they contain no traces of pink at all. Others do the same for low saturations of pink, with a very very slight yellowish tinge to their bodycolor.

True Padparadscha, named after the Singhalese word for lotus blossom, depicts a blushed pink-orange, with the imagery tied to its terminological origin. Its fine qualities are quite easily spotted, as their color reflects the intensity of a sun-drenched tropical horizon. 

The other lesser received varieties of corundum also include green, purple, violet, orange, grey and colorless sapphire. These often do not command as high a price as the previously mentioned varieties, but they do have their own charms as well. 

Corundum is often a jewellery favorite because of its high hardness. This makes the mineral very resistant to daily wear and tear, while also allowing it to reflect a higher amount light than a majority of other colored stones. 

Its admirable luster is usually described as 'sub-adamantine', while many other popular gems like topaz, quartz and beryl possess a more vitreous luster.

The many varieties of corundum all possess its unique gemological and optical traits. Corundum is a mineral that boasts a very good toughness, as it has no cleavage directions (planes of atomic weakness that are prone to splitting). It is also classified as a Type II clarity gemstone, ranking higher than emerald and watermelon tourmaline on the topic of inclusion tendencies. These characteristics and many more, allow for us to appreciate their wonderful hues for decades, or even centuries to come. 








Gemcamp Laboratories

A Discovery Institute for Gemstones and Gemology

Our resident gemologists believe in encouraging public trust within the jewellery industry through shared education, value transparency and professionalism.

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