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Padparadscha experts needed

I just purchased a 1.52 carat natural untreated padparadscha sapphire from a reputable dealer with a AIGS lab report. It is a soft but distinctly orangy pink. It’s not a deep color but I prefer the more pastel stones. It is clean and has a lot of fire for a sapphire — but does have some visible bubble looking inclusions. It’s lovely regardless, but I am wondering if a natural colored rare gemstone like this is viewed as an emerald with jardin is viewed. If the overall stone is a nice color and mainly transparent, are some visible inclusions acceptable or do they undermine value?
I am trying to post a photo.


As in your case, if a buyer likes it, it will sell. However, and in general, visible inclusions usually decrease market value. Emeralds, and perhaps demantoid garnets are an exception. In these and some other gems such as hessonites it is difficult to find total absence of visible inclusions, so markets usually accept them. You are correct in thinking that sapphires generally are worth less if they have visible inclusions. That is also because heat treatment can remove certain inclusions and clarify sapphires for sale. However, there is always a casualty rate in heat treatments on account of minute cracks and bubble inclusions.

Ivan—-Thanks so much for responding. That makes sense. One more question— I thought untreated Padparadscha stones often have more value than treated stones especially as some Padparadscha color sapphires might fade or lose color if treated and may not be considered true Padparadscha? In any event, It’s a beautiful ring and I am planning on enjoying it and not selling it anytime soon but am curious to learn more about this rare stone.

Due to the rarity of Padparadscha, any sort of heat treatment is unlikely, but that said, it could depend on the country of origin, probably Sri Lanka. This is unlike Sapphires in general where treatment is a matter of almost normal practice.

In Australia, treatment tends to reduce a stone’s value when compared to good untreated stones and very few places have facilities to treat so it is not the norm unlike overseas suppliers. The fact that Aussie stones are not normally treated helps them hold their value, though stones which have been sold to the Thai buyers will probably be treated in bulk. Origin is all important.

Hi Suzanne, in the gem business, unheated padparadscha generally have higher value than heated ones. I didnt use the term “treated” and “untreated” as a stone can be subject to many treatment and as of now, the only accpetable treatment is heating without adding anything extra. Beryllium treatment, for example, is also a heating treatment but with beryllium added to the process. Plain heating treament is acceptable but other treatment can significantly lower the value of the gem.

Contrary to what you think, heated padparadscha are less likely to fade or lose colour than unheated. Fading is actually more common than you may think among sapphires that show colour of yellow/orange. The cause of colour yellow in sapphire has to do with iron elements as well as crystal structure of the stone. The science behind the cause of yellow in sapphire is actually quite complex and the main point is that a natural unheated untreated padparadscha or yellow sapphire or orange sapphire may fade in colour when exposed to sunlight or even LED and the change can be reversible. Heated padparadscha/yellow/orange sapphires, in my experience, are more stable in colour as the heating process result in having iron elements as the main cause of the yellow colour and it is stable to light. However, a heated padparadscha is still generally less valuable than an unheated one because the latter is rarer and rarirty charges premium.

There are gem-testing labs providing colour-stability test. It is quite common in the business for sellers to provide the colour-stability test for more expensive padparascha, yellow and orange sapphire. (The test is not cheap and the waiting period is long so not worth it for cheaper ones). If you are interested to know more about the test, you can search “GRS colour stability test”.

Padparascha is just a trade name and not a minerological species. There is no universal agreement to what a true padparascha is. 20% pink and 80% orange? or 50% & 50%? A lot of times so-called padparascha sapphire can fade into pink sapphire. In such cases, I think it is fair to say those gems cant be qualified as padparascha. Some stones presents a mixure of pink and orange colour even after fading and thus is still a padparascha in my opinion.

The most important thing is you are happy with the gem and what you receive matches with what the seller told you. Gems are interesting “products” because they are heterogeneous. Be informed and pay for what you like:)


Thanks so much for sharing your expertise. My stone is not valuable enough to pursue stability testing so I will enjoy it and hope for the best regarding the potential for the orange color fading. From my own research I do understand the term “Padparadscha” is ambiguous and perhaps in the eye of the beholder. I do know for sure I have a really pretty orangy pink unheated sapphire in a high quality setting, which is rare and unique enough, even if the designation of Padparadscha may not have much meaning. Anyway I truly appreciate learning from you.

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Yes you definitely have a gorgeous gem and I think this sapphire would be considered as “padparadscha” by most, if not all labs that provide padparadscha grading. We can’t judge gems by photos but my intuition is that yours is unlikely to fade in colour and I certainly hope that would be the case.

In my experience with padparadscha the overall color including the tone and saturation will have far more effect on the value than the inclusions will. Someone looking to buy a pad often has a color expectation in mind and if the color meets that expectation the inclusions are secondary, unless they are just so obvious they detract from the overall look.


This “Pad” ring is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! It is bound to be a treasured family heirloom.

thanks again for your response and taking the time to improve my knowledge!

thanks! the more I research padparadscha the less I understand (seems so highly subjective), but it is a beautiful piece, and I will enjoy it based on that alone!