Sapphires exist in virtually every colour of the rainbow, although mostly referred to the blue. The hue from blue sapphires reflect the sky’s every shade, from blazing afternoon to velvety midnight. Traditionally, the gem symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity and faithfulness. Sapphires, being from the corundum family also have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Corundum is composed of aluminium and oxygen and the blue sapphire has its colour attributed to the presence of trace element iron and titanium. The more iron the corundum contains, the darker the blue will be. Blue sapphires are best viewed under fluorescent or white/day light. However, if a blue sapphire still produces a nice bluish colour under yellow or spotlight, it is again a very positive point for the blue sapphire.
The best origin for blue sapphires used to be Kashmir which produces the corn-flower blue colour. This mine is however not in production anymore due to difficult and hazardous conditions coupled with severe cold environment.
The other renowned origin for blue sapphires is Burma, which produces sapphires of a very sweet blue. Good quality and untreated blue sapphires from Burma are extremely rare.
Other common origins of blue sapphires are Sri Lanka and Madagascar, Thailand and Afrca. These production are the more practical source for commercial and trading purposes.
Unite the colour of a Sri Lankan lotus flower with the colour of a fiery sunset and the delicate orange pink shade of the Padparadscha sapphire is born.
The unusual name of “Padparadscha” derives from the Sanskrit/Singhalese “padma raga” or lotus blossom and is a reflection of the stone’s exotic appearance. This striking gem is a special member of the corundum family and features a delicate colour which is best defined as a blend between pink and orange.
The name padparadscha hints at the stone’s origin. The island of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) situated off the southern-most coast of India, in the Indian Ocean was the first source of these remarkable gems. For more than 2000 years, the island has been known as a haven for precious gems and is since long regarded as “Ratna Dweepa”, the Island of Gems. Other sources of the padparadscha sapphire may include Tanzania, Vietnam and Madagascar.
Good quality padparadscha sapphires are rare and often treasured as invaluable collectibles.