For hundreds of years, Asian dealers have been calling pink sapphire all kinds of things. Everything but what it is. And, until recently, many gem dealers in America took after them – insisting pink sapphire was, at the very least, pale ruby. As a result, pink sapphire had to fight an uphill battle to be recognized in its own right. Now the stone is finally beginning to have a wide following as a fancy sapphire.
America is waking up to the fact that there is sapphire that isn’t blue. There was a time when jewelers didn’t know or recognize any other color in a sapphire. Many dealers, as well as gemologists, contend that calling any pink corundum “sapphire” is a misnomer. Pink, they argue, is simply light red and, therefore, all such stones should be called ruby. If the trade must use the term pink, this contingent urges these stones be known as pink ruby rather than pink sapphire.
But pink sapphire specialists seem content to leave things as they are. “It’s a gemological issue. Pink is just different than red. so leave the pink corundums associated with sapphire and the red ones associated with ruby.
Today, pink sapphire needs no cover-up or apologies. To the contrary, the recent popularity of pastel-color gems has opened doors for pink sapphire and given it Cadillac status among the many gem varieties being used to meet the demand for pink.
“Best of the breed” in pink sapphire is often described as “hot pink,” a pure, vibrant color with no violet or purple. It is assumed such stones are from Burma. As such, they are exceedingly hard to find. Occasionally, Sri Lanka, the prime source for pink sapphire, comes through with highly saturate pink stones on a par with those from Burma.
Sri Lanka produces many pretty pinks. For the most part, they tend to be light and lively, usually with highly visible amounts of violet and purple.
Prices for pink sapphire make a quantum leap in sizes over 4 carats.
Whether or not an exemplary pink sapphire is actually from Burma, such stones always have two traits that go hand in hand: intensity and tone that push the stone beyond any association with pastel color.
But color alone does not justify premium prices for pink sapphire. While not as important as color, clarity has a big bearing on the value of pink sapphire.
While citing quality factors in pink sapphire, we must make note of brilliance. Although partly a function of clarity, brilliance is also affected by cutting and polishing too.