Pink is one of the many hues of the colored gem called sapphire. All sapphires are of the corundum variety (aluminum oxide composition) of mineral. Corundum comes in many colors including blue, red, violet, pink, green, yellow, orange, gray, white, colorless, and black. Red corundum is called Ruby due to history. Historically the chemical composition and crystal structures of the colored gems were not known, and ruby has stuck as the name for red corundum. Different traces of elements in the crystal structure change the color of the gem. Color is the light which is not absorbed that is collected by the eye.
When a color is not specified, "sapphire" is taken to be the blue to violet color of corundum. Pink sapphires are one of the other favorite colors of sapphires, considered to be in the class of connoisseur gems. Buying pink sapphires and other colored gems has certain things in common with buying diamonds.The value of pink sapphires and other colored gems is not always exactly equal to the value of its Four C's, however these aspects of the stones will guide you in your purchasing pink sapphire jewelry.
Diamonds have their four C's: Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color. The colored gemstones also have their four C's:
Pink Sapphires, like all mineral gems, can have inclusions and flaws. Additionally, the color of a pink sapphire can range from pale to "hot pink" to almost red. A high quality cut will show the most even color through the pink sapphire and expose the fewest inclusions. Some inclusions in certain sapphires are actually valued highly and prized for the way the inclusions enrich the gem's appearance, such as star sapphires and certain Kashmir sapphires. However, pink sapphires are generally valued higher with a lack of inclusions.
A well cut pink sapphire should allow the most light to pass through the stone in its setting. Symmetry and polish are important in the final value of the gem. In general, shallow cuts best accent darker colored gems and deep cuts bring out the best facets of a lighter colored gem. As with diamonds, there are many styles of cuts, such as round, heart, princess, briollette and more. No one or another style adds to the value so long as it highlights the stone's brilliance. So let your own personal tastes guide you when choosing the cut of your pink sapphire.
Pink sapphires generally are sold based upon weight in carats also. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams (.007 ounces, or 1/5 of a gram). The relationship of carat to size differs for gemstones. Diamonds have a very defined density or specific gravity of 3.5. Sapphires range from 3.9 to 4.1 specific gravity. That means a pink sapphire is in general more dense than a diamond, so the same carat value will be a somewhat smaller gem than the same carat weight diamond.
Pink sapphires are generally more valuable with higher clarity. Natural sapphires typically have some degree of inclusions, so those which are flawless are very rare and very expensive. Unlike diamonds, the natural color of gemstones can mask inclusions. Thus inclusions are more accepted by the gem industry, especially when the inclusion doesn't show in the face-up position of the cut gemstone. There is no standardized grading system for clarity in gems as there is for diamonds. Paler pink sapphires will show inclusions more, so clarity for pink sapphires will be reflected in the price. Generally you will see "Eye Clean" as a very acceptable clarity rating for pink sapphires.
Pink. This is the color of pink sapphires, correct? Well, the color of pink ranges from a very pale pink to almost red. Remember, if it's red, it's called a ruby, even though it's all corundum. The "hot" pink is currently the most popular color, and thus valued higher in price. Pink sapphires are a less expensive gemstone than the popular pink diamonds.
Heat treatment is a common treatment of sapphires to enhance their color permanently without effecting the crystal structure. Heat treatment may also remove tiny inner inclusions. Heat treatment rarely effects the price of the sapphire, and presently around 90 percent of the sapphires in the jewelry market have been heated to ensure that they have reached the best color and clarity.
Sapphires have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (1-10). This makes sapphires second only to diamonds in their hardness. Like diamonds, this makes them durable and valuable in jewelry. Also like diamonds, pink sapphires must be cared for and handled properly to avoid damage. Pink sapphires and diamonds together make lovely jewelry that lasts and increases in value.
For a review of online stores that sell fine pink sapphire jewelry, visit our Online Store Review Page.