AT A GLANCE
9 Mohs Scale
5th and 45th
LEGEND & MYTH
Throughout history pink sapphires have been symbols of love. In Asian lore they are sometimes compared to the sacred lotus flower, standing for beauty, wisdom and purity.
The earliest accounts of sapphire engagement rings – given by bridegrooms as tokens of their sincere intentions – date back to Ancient Rome. In medieval Europe, sapphires were worn as talismans. In India they were believed to cure scorpion bites if mixed with water.
Today, pink sapphires represent romance and feminine elegance. They are often seen in ornate jewellery items worn by royals and celebrities. Film actress Amy Adams stood out with her pink sapphire, opal and garnet ring at the 2014 Oscars.
Queen Elizabeth II is well known for her stunning brooches, one of them a huge pink sapphire floral design that she wore when giving her 2013 Christmas Day speech. Pink sapphires have also become popular and affordable alternatives to pink diamonds.
Pink is one of the rarest colours in sapphires.
Formed from the mineral corundum, sapphires are found in many hues – like yellow, green and blue – and each variety gets its tone from different trace elements.
The more chromium present in a corundum crystal, the deeper its pink colour.
This means pink sapphires come in a range of shades, but bright red corundum crystals are called rubies.
The origin of the word "sapphire" is the Latin "sapphirus".
Corundum is the third strongest mineral on earth, registering 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
WHERE ON EARTH?
We source our pink sapphires in Thailand.
Although they are mined in 22 other countries including Australia, Sri Lanka and China, Thai sapphires are conflict-free and represent superlative quality.
In Thailand, sapphire mining and gem cutting expertise is passed on from father to son. This tradition has led to a thriving Thai production of some of world's finest ethical pink sapphires.
BIRTHSTONE & ANNIVERSARY
On 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries, pink sapphires offer stunning, contemporary alternatives to the more traditional blue sapphire. As the September birthstone, they also make popular autumn birthday gifts.
Thanks to their durability, symbolism and delicate colour, pink sapphires are perfect for engagement rings and bridal jewellery.
FAMOUS PINK SAPPHIRES
Grace Kelly, the American actress who married Prince Rainier III of Monaco, was world known for her elegance and sense of style. Precious pink gemstones combined with diamonds were always Princess Grace's favourites.
Many modern jewellery styles and pink sapphire collections are still inspired by the floral designs she wore.
PINK SAPPHIRE STYLE TIPS
Pink is a colour that suits virtually all other tones, with the exception of certain bright reds and oranges. Pale pink sapphire jewellery, similar to diamonds, is known to flatter almost all outfits from pinstripe suits to denim.
Shocking pink sapphires combine well with blue, light green, white and lighter pink clothing. A pink sapphire ring looks stunning on a hand with French manicured nails.
How to assess
a Pink Sapphire's
quality and value?
When our gemmologist evaluates pink sapphires, he first considers clarity.
A sapphire that lets in generous quantities of light will sparkle and glint beautifully – regardless of whether its colour tone is a lighter or darker shade of pink.
So while a good saturation of colour is important, this alone is not enough if the sapphire appears cloudy.
When buying a pink sapphire, avoid those that look dull. Good quality sapphires should be translucent and sparkly. However, you should expect some barely visible lines in a natural pink sapphire. Flawless pink sapphires with no inclusions are very rare and would simply be too expensive for use in commercial jewellery.
Large, perfectly clear pink sapphires are extremely rare. Since clarity determines a sapphire's value, this means that big, high grade sapphires are more expensive per carat than smaller ones of a similar quality. If you are looking for a sizeable yet reasonably priced ring with a big single stone, a 1-carat pink sapphire can look quite impressive. Good clarity will ensure extra depth and glimmer, and any surrounding diamond work will give it a bigger feel.
Pink sapphires come in many shades, varying from pale pink to magenta. Our gem expert's advice is to look for vivid, strong colour. Whether light or dark pink, your sapphire should looks vibrant. This will of course be enhanced by good clarity.
A good cut complements a sapphire's colour and brings out its inner glint. Skilled cutters know how to coax the best possible gem out of a rough sapphire. They will often also minimise the visibility of any slight inclusions. This is one of the reasons why our gemmologist recommends sapphires from Thailand, a country that boasts some of the world's best gem cutters. Because pink sapphires are rare, they are often cut so that a maximum amount of the rough stone can be kept. Therefore the most common pink sapphire cuts are oval, cushion or round.
NATURAL OR TREATED?
As with most natural gemstones, totally clear pink sapphires with no inclusions are almost priceless, and not seen in high street jewellery. Natural stones will always have some very slight inclusions or lines, even if barely noticeable to the naked eye. Our gem expert's advice is to be wary of commercial pink sapphires sold as "completely clear". These may be heat treated or fracture filled. While these artificial remedies may initially enhance the beauty of a sapphire, they may decrease its value and durability.
CARE AND CLEANING
Pink sapphires are extremely durable, but all jewellery should be treated gently. The safest way to polish pink sapphires is to carefully scrub them with an old toothbrush, using warm water and a drop of mild soap. Always do this in a bowl, because jewellery washed over a sink could accidentally drop down the drain. After washing, pat your sapphires dry or leave them to air-dry. Don't expose pink sapphires to sudden, intense heat – or direct sunlight for long periods of time. These could damage their colour and crystal structure.