Pink SapphireThe popularity of them can probably be traced to the fascination with pink diamonds. Pink diamonds are one of the most expensive of all unobtainable. Pink sapphire is a more affordable alternative, though still rare and hardly inexpensive. Pink sapphire is favored as an engagement ring because sapphire in the lighter colors tends to have more Sapphire also has positive associations, such as faithfulness and sincerity.
Blue is the classic sapphire color, but good quality pink is actually rarer. Pink sapphire in large sizes is particularly hard to find. In general, pink sapphire is more 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. Thus, colors vary from those tending toward to those more like 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 result from traces of vanadium.|
In general, the clearer and more vivid the color, the more valuable the sapphire. If the is in the pastel range, the should be good. This is because in lighter tones, inclusions are more noticeable. In lighter colored gemstones, the 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.
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, Tanzania and Myanmar.
Eye-clean, untreated stones are available on the market, but the majority of these have had their clarity enhanced by heat treatment.
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.
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.