The Allure of Pink Sapphire Jewelry
If you like your precious gemstones with a sprinkling of history and genuine bragging rights, then look no further than the not so humble sapphire.
Considered one of the four precious gemstones, it is not surprising that they were one of the twelve precious stones set in the High Priest’s breastplate of the Israelites during his service in the Holy Temple, the sapphire has been coveted for centuries as a stone of great beauty.
The color most often associated with sapphires is blue. In fact, in the Book of Exodus as well as Ezekiel (24:10; 1:26), God’s throne is described as the color of a sapphire. However, blue is not the only color of sapphire.
There are numerous colors of sapphire including orange, gold, green, purple, lavender, violet, brown, white, pink, red, and even colors that change under different lighting conditions. Sapphire is a form of corundum and minute chemical impurities within the stone called trace elements determine the color.
Is Pink the New Blue?
Pink sapphires are formed when chromium is the only trace element in the corundum. The pink varies from very pale to a very intense and vivid shade. The intensity of the color is determined by the concentration of the chromium. A very highly concentration of chromium will actually result in the formation of a ruby.
Pink sapphires were considered incredibly rare but have become more common since the discovery of new deposits in Madagascar in the 1990s. Other sources of pink sapphires include Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The popularity of pink in precious stones is well documented and never seems to diminish.
Beat the Treat with a Little Heat
Any precious stone that has been altered or treated to remove defects has a lesser value in the eyes of purists and connoisseurs. Consequently, many unethical merchants do not tell the unsuspecting public if a sapphire has been heat treated to remove secondary hues or enhance clarity. The lower the temperature used to heat treat a sapphire and the less the time of the treatment, the harder it is to detect the heat treatment.
A more recent source of high quality untreated pink sapphires is the Umba River Valley in Tanzania. Sapphires from the Umba River Valley come in numerous colors and the quality of the stones and intensity of the colors is short of exceptional. Pink sapphire jewelry using these stones is in great demand.
Sapphires have withstood the test of time. They have sought after for centuries and represented in the highest echelons of society and even apparently in the heavenly realms. It seems as though sapphires in general, and pink sapphires in particular will always be immortal.