Orange is the new black. No, we’re not referring to the popular Netflix drama. We’re talking about padparadscha sapphires, which, unlike their more ubiquitous blue counterparts, are rare and come in breathtaking, saturated hues of orange and salmon.

These lovely sapphires were thrust in the spotlight earlier this year, when Princess Eugenie of York shared photos of her engagement ring — an elegant yellow gold band adorned with diamonds encircling a large, single salmon-coloured padparadscha sapphire.

Judging from how prominent brands like Chaumet and Chanel have embraced them in their jewellery designs, it looks like padparadscha sapphires are poised to become the ‘It’ gemstone of 2018.

padparadscha sapphire
Princess Eugenie of York’s padparadscha sapphire engagement ring. (Photo: Jonathan Brady/ PA)

Commonly obtained from Ceylon, padparadscha sapphires derive their name from the Sinhalese word for “lotus blossom”. What sets them apart from specifically orange and pink sapphires is their rarity and spectrum of orange-pink shades that easily call to mind the colours of sunset. The most prized padparadscha sapphires are those that are unheated, untreated and showcase a uniform colour throughout.

While the padparadscha colour can be manually created in a lab by diffusing pink sapphire with beryllium, the resulting stones do not count as actual padparadscha sapphires and are nowhere as valuable.

If you’re thinking of introducing this lovely gemstone into your jewellery collection, we’ve got a few ideas below.

(Main and featured photos: Chaumet)