Petal Perfection: Padparadscha

Sapphire means blue you know. The popular gemstone took a boost with the rabid attention paid to Bonnie Prince William's proposal to now Princess Kate with his mother's blue sapphire engagement ring.

But hoorah! Sapphire also comes in a crayola box full of natural colors, and those are properly classified as Fancy Color Sapphire. All sapphire is a corundum mineral, and other trace minerals found in the mix change the stone's hue considerably. Take your pick, but my forever fave is padparadscha sapphire. True jewel fans adore precious stones in subtle colors that defy description. All the better to distinguish one as a cognoscenti of gemstones, I think. Padparadscha is one exotic gem with a luscious hue that almost defies description.

But let's try. First the name; Padparadscha is a derivitive of a word for lotus blossom in Sinhalese. Sri Lanka is celebrated for these delicate treasures, yet experts debate that Vietnam produces superior quality padparadscha sapphires. The color of actual padparadscha sapphire is a curious mix of pink-peach-orange in a combination that eventually mimics the lotus blossom shown here. Truth is, even lotus blossoms are found in different combos of those colors.

Interesting to note, it seems padparadscha's are more often than not found in very clean crystals. And like ruby, discovering a padparadscha crystal over 2 carats is rare. With one big exception. The American Museum of Natural History in New York exhibits one over 100 carats. That ought to help you study it better.

All dressed up and somewhere to go: this Harry Winston cushion cut Padparadscha sapphire and baguette diamond ring shows what a little expert cutting can do to a pretty rock.

Image Courtesy: Harry Winston New York


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