By: Diane Nicole Go, GIA Graduate Gemologist
Sapphire may be known for its blue color, but lately, its rainbow counterpart (link to Rainbow Sapphire article) has become a popular choice for candy-colored jewelry pieces. That’s because sapphires are durable and almost as hard as a diamond— and a colorful option at that.
Sapphires come in a wide range of colors and hues— from orange to yellow, green, purple and even pink. Some even come in multi-colored hues like bluish green, yellowish orange, orangy pink, while a select few can change color.
Ever since the rise of Millennial Pink, and the 2019 Pantone color “Living Coral”, many people have been fascinated with the Peach Sapphire’s warm, sunset tones, and have since then used the stone in many jewelry pieces. Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring, for instance, features a 3-4 carat pinkish orange Padparadscha Sapphire as the center stone, which is surrounded by diamonds— a close replica of her mother’s engagement ring.
Want a showstopping piece that you can wear everywhere? A Peach Sapphire is your best bet. In this article, the Peach Sapphire takes center stage as we explore what makes this stone so fascinating.
What is a Peach Sapphire?
Sapphires get their color from trace elements that get mixed in during the formation process. That means a Colorless Sapphire does not have any elements in it aside from its basic composition of Aluminum Oxide. Chromium gives Sapphires their pink color, while Iron is the element behind Green and Yellow Sapphire. And the elements responsible for the apricot tones of a Peach Sapphire? A combination of Iron and Chromium.
Just like their sister the Ruby (link to Ruby article), all Sapphires (even Peach Sapphires) will never be flawless. And that’s not a bad thing! They may have liquid inside them, or crystals and the occasional cracks, but these unique birthmarks add character to your stone. Some of them are acceptable, but you need to be careful about large cracks and chips which may damage your stone further. But because your Peach Sapphire comes in a lighter color, any inclusions and patterns it may have are more noticeable.
Peach Sapphires may not be common as other sapphires, but rare ones like the Padparascha Sapphire fetch high prices in the market. But what makes the two different? Read on.
What’s in a Name: Peach Sapphire vs. Padparadscha
The name Padparadscha may come up in jewelry stores or among collectors, and you may wonder: how is it different from a peach sapphire?
The name Padparadscha comes from the Sinhalese word for “lotus blossom” because its color is reminiscent of the flower, or even a piece of the sunset sky. While gemological laboratories don’t use this to classify gems, the term padparadscha is a trade name used by jewelers to describe the finest Peach Sapphires.
Padparadschas can be found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Tanzania, although some believed that the true source of this rare gem can only be found in Sri Lanka. And because this stone was first found there, the name Padparadscha was only used to describe sapphires from Sri Lanka that exhibited an orangy pink to pinkish orange color. But since peach sapphires have also been unearthed in other countries, jewelers today use the name Padparadscha to categorize any kind of Peach Sapphire if it does not just come from Sri Lanka. Some even use the term to describe any peach-colored gem even if it isn’t a Sapphire, so be very careful with that.
Putting aside the way people loosely use the term, what really sets a Padparadscha Sapphire and a Peach Sapphire apart is the saturation, or intensity of its color. But first, the sapphire must show both orange and pink colors to even be considered a Peach Sapphire to begin with.
Simply put, a Padparadscha must have a vivid, orangy pink or pinkish orange color in order to be classified as such. If it’s too light, too dark or not the right shade of peach, it doesn’t qualify. That means that all Padparadschas are Peach Sapphires, but not all Peach Sapphires can be Padparadscha, making it a rare gemstone among its rainbow-colored siblings.
How to Clean and Care for a Peach Sapphire?
Peach Sapphires are strong, with a 9 ranking in the Moh’s scale of hardness, second to Diamond. These durable stones can withstand the rigours of day to day life, making it a good choice for any kind of jewelry: earrings, necklaces, bracelets and most especially rings.
To clean a Peach Sapphire, the safest method is to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and warm, soapy water. While this gemstone can usually withstand the ultrasonic cleaner thanks to its hardness, there is still the risk of the piece getting damaged, especially if the stone is filled or the setting is old or weak.
Why Choose a Peach Sapphire?
1. A Unique Engagement Ring: Just like Morganite, Peach Sapphire has been in demand, particularly as an engagement ring because of its soft and feminine color. The apricot tones also go well with any color, particularly if you’re going for a blush theme. And it’s a more modern option over the traditional whites.
2. Looks Great with Rose Gold: A Peach Sapphire would look great in a Rose Gold setting because the color of the metal heightens the color of the stone. You can even choose any design you want—whether it is a modern stackable ring, or a traditional band surrounded by small diamonds, or even as a pendant, stud earrings and more.
3. Goes with Anything: Peach Sapphire has a subtle color that doesn’t clash or stand out too much, making it a versatile choice for jewelry. Whether the piece is meant for everyday wear or formal occasions, this gemstone will enhance your look and be a great conversation starter because everyone will wonder where you got it from (or start gushing about how pretty it is!).
4. Protects and Heals: Gemstones are believed to be imbued with therapeutic and healing properties that are spiritual in nature— Sapphires included! Peach Sapphires are believed to aid in calming and focusing the mind, along with becoming a talisman for the creatives. For artists and singers, a Peach Sapphire can unite your creativity, sensuality and spirituality in order to materialize into a loving work filled with heart and wisdom. On the other hand, writers can benefit from its wisdom, since this professional support stone enhances discernment and good judgment. (Source: https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/sapphire-orange)
5. Last You a Lifetime: Sapphires are very durable stones. This makes it a good choice for any kind of jewelry, even high-impact ones like rings. With the right care, maintenance and storage, your Peach Sapphire ring can last you a long time and can even be passed down to your kids and eventually, even grandkids.
A Peach Sapphire radiates a soft femininity that is warm and earthy, much like autumn leaves or delicate peach blossoms on a spring day. It can be cut in a wide variety of cuts and styles (even as unique designer cuts) and makes for a collectible piece as both an investment and family heirloom. And if you’re lucky enough to obtain a Padparadscha Sapphire, even better! This fine gem will not only appreciate in due time but will also be a memorable piece that many will remember you by.