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.
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)
In January, Chaumet launched its Promenades Impériales high jewellery collection, which draws inspiration from imperial Russia and the frosty Siberian winter. More notably, the glittering range features several jewels bedecked with orange-pink padparadscha sapphires.
Our favourite is this mesmerising transformable necklace, which is crafted in white and pink gold and embellished with a lace-like diamond pattern reminiscent of the kokoshnik, a traditional Russian headdress. Its pendant is festooned with a cabochon-cut, 9.03-carat padparadscha sapphire, and attached to a pear-shaped “sunset colour” padparadscha sapphire weighing 16.31 carats. Diamonds in various cuts make up the rest of the necklace, which can be worn in 10 different ways.
Sold just yesterday for US$65,000 (S$85,210) at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York, this dazzling ring features an oval-shaped, 4.00-carat padparadscha sapphire held down by gold prongs and flanked by two half-moon-shaped diamonds. The salmon-hued sapphire is unheated and was sourced from Madagascar.
This resplendent necklace from Chanel‘s Coco Avant Chanel high jewellery collection — which was released last year — is set in 18k white gold and cascades downwards in a lovely, openwork confection of 10 oval-cut, pink-orange Padparadscha sapphires (weighing 28.02 carats in total), 17 cabochon-cut moonstones, and plenty of diamonds. The necklace is covered completely in 1,054 brilliant-cut diamonds — talk about a showstopper.
Auctioned off for HKD 19,300,000 (S$3,219,626) at Christie’s Hong Kong last November, this lavish ring features an oval-shaped, 28.04-carat orange padparadscha sapphire encircled by pear and marquise-shaped diamonds in a bombé design. The orange-pink sapphire is unheated and of Ceylon origin.
Part of Tiffany & Co‘s Soleste range of engagement rings, this pink-orange beauty is definitely something we’d say yes to. It showcases a natural, unenhanced, 4.22-carat padparadscha sapphire surrounded by a double halo of round brilliant diamonds weighing 0.55 carats. Perfect for those seeking an engagement ring with pizzazz.
(Photo: Tiffany & Co)