Treated padparadscha sapphires

How do I know if I am buying a genuine padparadscha sapphire? 

Nowadays, a lot of padparadscha sapphires are heat treated to achieve more stable colors in an attempt to improve the color of the padparadscha. Treated stones of lower qualities tend to be equal in value to untreated ones, but high quality untreated padparadscha sapphires are often valued at a much higher price than the price of a treated one . A good way to tell the difference is to take a look at the price. High quality padparadscha sapphire rings are valued at thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, because of their extreme rarity which surpasses even the rarity of diamonds. The padparadscha should be described as having a pinkish-orange color, similar to that of salmon or peach. Loose padparadscha sapphires (are not set into jewellry yet) are normally lower priced, at several hundreds or a few thousands of dollars. Treated ones (loose or jewellery) could cost a lot less than untreated padparadscha stones, but even they command high prices in high qualities.

In addition to heat treated stones, there are as well stones treated with beryllium diffusion. Poor quality sapphires are heated to extremely high temperatures near their melting point in the presence of beryllium, thus allowing the beryllium to penetrate the sapphire and trapping it within, giving the poor quality sapphire magnificent colors and mimicing a high quality padparadscha sapphire. Such treatments are called beryllium diffusion. Beryllium diffused padparadscha extremely hard to detect. However, they are normally low priced so that an unsuspecting buyer would find the price attractive, and mistake the fraud for a bargain. These frauds were discovered in the 1990s, when the sapphire market suddenly had an influx of padparadscha sapphires. The treatment was discovered, but many buyers were left cheated and frustrated. 

By Country Stone Comparison 


This is a pink sapphire from Madagascar. Some traders may claim it is a genuine padparadscha, but western gemologists recognize a padparadscha only if it has been mined in Sri-Lanka (Ceylon). Notice its color, which is closer to pink than the color of a padparadscha from Ceylon.  This is a sapphire from Tanzania. Like the sapphire from Madagascar, some may claim it is a padparadscha, but it is more brownish-orange than pinkish-orange, and it has not been mined in Sri-Lanka. This is a padparadscha from Sri-Lanka. It is beyond a doubt a genuine padparadscha, having an orange-pink color and coming from Sri-Lanka.
Genuine padparadscha sapphires are found in Ceylon (Sri-Lanka). Some argue that the sapphires found in Madagascar are as well padparadscha sapphires, but they are more pink than orange. Regardless, they are beautiful as well and could be considered as an alternative to ceylon padparadscha sapphires because they are generally cheaper, despite being listed as genuine. In addition to sapphires found in Madagascar, Tanzania produces sapphires which some claim are padparadscha sapphires. On the other hand, most traders do not feel that they are genuine because their color is much darker than the genuine Ceylon padparadscha, the genuine Ceylon padparadscha being pinkish- orange rather than the brownish colors of the sapphires found in Tanzania. Like the padparadscha from Madagascar, the Tanzanian padparadscha is cheaper than a genuine ceylon padparadscha sapphire.

Another more affordable alternative to a natural padparadscha sapphire is a lab grown, cultured one. These are padparadscha sapphires which were grown in a lab and exhibit all of the characteristics of a ceylon padparadscha, but are lower priced because they are of artificial origin, similarly to farmed pearls.