You’re the type of bride-to-be for whom traditional diamonds just won’t do. Colorful engagement rings suit you best, particularly ones with pink stones. After all, pink is not only inherently feminine, it’s often regarded as the color of a budding romance, which is perfectly fitting for the occasion.
There are, of course, pink diamonds, as well as the semiprecious morganite and tourmaline. And pink sapphires come in a slew of shades, from soft peach to bright as bubble gum. But there is one sapphire not as commonly known that possesses both the color and rich symbolism that make it just right for engagements: the padparadscha.
Padparadscha sapphires are primarily found in Sri Lanka, which for centuries was the only source of the stone. In fact, the name padparadscha means lotus blossom in Sinhalese, the most common language in Sri Lanka. The lotus blossom the Sinhalese are referring to here is a water lily that exhibits a unique and delicate pinkish-orange to orangey-pink hue, much like the colors found in salmon or a spectacular sunset.
But the lotus blossom represents so much more than just a pretty color. A lotus blossom grows from the bottom of a muddy, murky pool; then ascends from the water as a beautiful flower, completely unstained. At night, it closes and sinks back under the water, emerging again with the sunlight of a new day.
As such, the lotus blossom represents such things as enlightenment and rebirth for the ancient Egyptians and Buddhists, as well as purity, prosperity, fertility and eternity for Hindus. These are all qualities of great meaning for two lives about to be joined as one, and make the padparadscha sapphire even more appealing for popping the question.
Padparadscha sapphires are also extremely rare. Because of this scarcity, padparadscha rough is cut to preserve as much of the stone as possible, which may produce a gem with an unusual, one-of-kind shape. The result would be a padparadscha engagement ring so extraordinary, even for the most discerning bride-to-be. Padparadscha sapphires are also predominantly found in the popular oval and cushion shapes, but round, pear, square and rectangular shapes are also seen. As for size, fine-quality natural padparadscha sapphires above two carats are very rare; above five carats can be considered world-class pieces.
Naturally, the rarity of the padparadscha sapphire commands high prices. As a result, treatments have been developed to produce sapphires with padparadscha-like color. Today, many padparadscha sapphires are heat-treated to improve their appearance, with the resulting stones completely stable in color. However, for those watching their wedding budget, even a good-quality heated padparadscha can be quite expensive.
Another option when considering price are padparadscha sapphires from Madagascar. Although most gem experts agree that the finest padparadschas come from Sri Lanka, Madagascar is also a significant source for the stone. These are usually more pink than orange; however, they’re also quite beautiful and normally sell for approximately 20 percent less.
Whether more pink or more orange, the padparadscha sapphire is absolutely lovely to behold. Its soft, neutral shades pair well with either white or yellow metals, and can stand alone or be accented with just about any other gemstone. Add to that the rarity and symbolism of the stone, and you truly have a treasure to be cherished for a lifetime.
This article was originally written for The Natural Sapphire Co. blog.