Buyer's Guide to Buy Pink Sapphire

Bubble gum. Strawberry. Magenta. Powderpuff. The world’s most popular blue gem also comes in the gem world’s most beautiful shades of pink, from pale baby pink to hot fuchsia. Sweet and juicy, pink sapphire can be a subtle blush of elegance or a candy-colored pop of exuberance.

Pink sapphire is a romantic gemstone valentine for those who lead with their heart. It has all the brilliance, lasting value and meaning of sapphire in a fresh feminine hue.

From royalty like Princess Eugenie to stars like Lady Gaga, pink sapphire engagement rings are one of the strongest engagement ring trends today. Because sapphire is the symbol of faithfulness and the soul, pink sapphire is also a beautifully meaningful engagement ring choice.

SHOP Pink Sapphire

The History and Meaning of Pink Sapphire

All the rainbow colors of the mineral corundum are sapphires except red corundum, which is ruby. If a fine corundum gemstone is pink, we call it pink sapphire. If it’s red, we call it ruby. But where does pink end and red begin? Gemologists disagree.

Until the early twentieth century, all red corundum, from pale pink to fire engine red, was called ruby. In India, the colors of ruby were considered more ripe when red and less ripe when pink, like a berry. Some dealers referred to the lighter shades as feminine rubies and the darker shades masculine.

In the 1873 book Diamonds and Precious Stones, British jeweler and author Harry Emanuel explained that ruby comes in many colors: “The colour of the ruby varies from the lightest rose-tint to the deepest carmine. Those too dark or too light are not esteemed.”

So when did the pink colors of ruby become sapphires? In the early twentieth century, jewelers started applying the “sapphire is every color of corundum but red” rule to mean pink was a sapphire not a ruby.

Today, pink sapphires are in demand, especially for engagement rings. But even though the most vivid and dark pink stones are similar to ruby, they still often sell for less.

There is one exception. The rarest color of sapphire is pinkish-orange padparadscha sapphire, a name derived from Sri Lanka’s lotus blossoms. Padparadscha sapphires are rare and valuable, so much so that they too have been the subject of controversy. Are only Sri Lankan sapphires padparadschas? What about reddish orange? How much pink and how much orange are ideal? The gemological laboratories disagree.

In the end it comes down to color preference. Experts recommend that you buy with your eyes, not according to the name of the gem. If you are lucky enough to prefer a color that isn't currently in favor, you may end up paying less for a gem that is more beautiful to you.

Whatever its color, Sapphire symbolizes honesty, sincerity, and faithfulness. The meaning of pink sapphire is serenity and balance. Pink sapphire is also associated with peace and enlightenment.

Sapphire is the September birthstone and the 5th and 45th anniversary gem.

Princess Eugenie has a padparadscha sapphire engagement ring

Pink Sapphire Engagement Rings

Here are some of our favorite Pink Sapphire engagement rings!

Where Pink Sapphires are Mined

Today most pink sapphire on the market is mined in Madagascar from deposits discovered in the late 1990s. Until this African nation began producing lots of lovely pink sapphires, it was much more difficult to find the medium pink colors most in demand.

Pink sapphires have been mined for millennia on the beautiful island once known as Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka. The island was the origin for the valuable gems given by King Solomon to the Queen of Sheba in the Old Testament.

Another famous source for pink sapphire is Burma, also known as Myanmar. The same geology extends into Vietnam, which also produces pink sapphire. Vietnamese pink sapphire often has remarkable clarity.

Why We Love Pink Sapphire

Who says that feminity isn’t strong? For us, pink sapphire shows that pretty can be tough too.

Sapphire is one of the most durable gemstones: it’s corundum, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond’s 10. Pink sapphire is even tougher than diamond, resisting chips and damage. In fact, sapphire is so tough that lab-grown sapphire is used for supermarket scanners, spacecraft windows, and watch crystals.

We also love how pink sapphires aren’t as common as diamonds. Choosing a pink sapphire engagement ring instead of a diamond engagement ring sets you apart from the crowd. Every sapphire has a unique personality.

And although we love Blake Lively’s pink diamond engagement ring, we’d rather have a pink sapphire engagement ring with more intense color at one-tenth the price.

How to Buy Pink Sapphire

The most important thing to consider when buying a pink sapphire is its color. Sapphire with more vivid pink is more expensive than sapphires that are pale powderpuff pink. Pale pink, like Lady Gaga’s engagement ring, is becoming more popular because it looks more like a pink diamond.

At RockHer, we’ve matched our preferred pink sapphire colors to Pantone’s system as a buying guide to communicate their hue. Which pink is your favorite?

Because the pink hue of sapphire is light in color, inclusions can be more visible. Look for eye clean stones without distracting inclusions. Don't worry about examining a sapphire’s clarity under magnification like you would a diamond. Some pink sapphires have an attractive haziness that makes the color glow.

Look for a lively sparkling cut that sparkles evenly across the entire sapphire with no dull, washed out, or lifeless areas. Your sapphire should be cut for brilliance not to maximize carat weight.

You’re more likely to see oval shape pink sapphires and cushion cut pink sapphires. These two shapes are the most suited to the shape of the rough. Of course small pink sapphires will be cut in the round brilliant shape and are beautiful in eternity bands and also as accent gems.

Most pink sapphires have been heat treated after they are mined in order to bring out the maximum pink color, eliminate purple overtones, and improve clarity. You should assume that your pink sapphire has been heat treated unless you have a laboratory report that says there is no evidence of heat treatment.

Some pink sapphires on the market are treated in a process called diffusion. Diffusion treated sapphires have coloring elements added in a surface layer when the sapphire is heated to create a rind of color around the outside of the gem. This layer can be very shallow like a coating so these stones can’t be repolished or recut. As a result, they are much less expensive. If you see sapphires with vivid pink color that are surprisingly affordable they are probably diffusion treated. Jewelers should disclose this treatment to you in writing on your invoice. At RockHer, we don't sell diffusion treated pink sapphires because they don't hold their value as well.

Pink Sapphire Buying Guide Quality Checklist

  • Color Grade: Fancy
  • Sapphire Color: Medium pastel pink
  • Sapphire Clarity: Eye clean to lightly included
  • Sapphire Shapes: Ovals and cushions are most common
  • Sapphire Cut: Well proportioned, with overall brilliance
  • Sapphire Polish: Very Good Or Excellent
  • Sapphire Enhancement: heat treatment is traditional, surface diffusion should be avoided

How to Care for Pink Sapphire

Sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely tough. Sapphire dust is even used to cut and polish other gemstones. That shows that sapphires are the most durable of gems.

Pink sapphire is excellent for rings you wear every day. It’s more durable than its precious metal setting, which can be damaged by chemicals or contact with other metal, like weights or machines at the gym. Avoid wearing any rings at the beach or in the pool where they can slip off and be lost.

Clean pink sapphire jewelry with mild dish soap: use a soft brush behind the stone where dust can collect. Using ultrasonic cleaners is also safe for pink sapphire jewelry.

Pink Sapphire vs Pink Diamond vs Morganite vs Pink Tourmaline

Pink Diamond Ring

The gemstone most similar to pink sapphire is pink diamond. Pink diamonds are one of the most expensive gems: larger gems with fine color can sell for millions of dollars! Other pink gemstones are pink tourmaline, morganite, pink spinel, and rhodolite garnet. Pink tourmaline has a saturated medium pink color that can be very attractive. It’s more affordable than pink sapphire and also more readily available in large sizes. Pink spinel is very similar to pink sapphire and ruby but it is rare, especially in fine colors. Spinel and ruby were confused for hundreds of years and many “rubies” in crown jewels are actually spinel. Morganite is becoming popular as a pink sapphire alternative because it is more affordable. It’s color is typically much more pale and desaturated than pink sapphire. Finally rhodolite garnet is an affordable and available dark purplish pink gem.

Best Pink Sapphire Engagement Ring Styles

Our customers’ favorite setting for sapphire engagement rings is a halo setting with diamonds that encircle the center stone. The brilliance of the diamonds helps to light up and attract attention to the center pink sapphire. Also popular is a simple sapphire solitaire with a delicate pave band. Pink sapphires are a perfect choice for a three-stone engagement ring, either in the center or on the sides. Most of our customers prefer pink sapphire engagement rings with sapphires in one to two carat sizes. In addition to rings, pink sapphire stud earrings, pink sapphire eternity rings and pink sapphire wedding rings are other great ways to add some romance to everything you wear. A pink sapphire eternity band is a traditional gift for the birth of a girl. Setting pink sapphire in rose gold accentuates its color. If you prefer a white gold or platinum ring, consider rose gold prongs.

What Do Pink Sapphire Rings Cost?

You’d be surprised how far your money can go shopping for a pink sapphire engagement ring. Here are our picks for gorgeous pink sapphire rings in popular carat weights to fit some common engagement ring budgets.