Pink Sapphires

Chatham Pink SapphiresI touched on pink sapphires in my July post concerning the color range of rubies. Many stones that are called “rubies” by some retailers are really pink sapphires because they are too pink and light in tone to be a true ruby.

Differentiating ruby from pink sapphire in gemological terms can be confusing because most of us think of pink and red as two different colors. But in gemological terms the color range of pink sapphire is light-tone red to light-tone purple with weak to vivid saturation. Basically, when you look at a corundum stone, if you’re first reaction is that the stone is pink, then it’s likely a pink sapphire. If your first reaction is that it is red, then it’s likely a ruby. And if your first reaction is the stone is purple, then it’s likely a purple sapphire.

So what causes the color in pink sapphires? Pink sapphire gets most of its color from chromium, the same trace element that makes ruby red. Sometimes traces of titanium can also contribute to pink sapphire’s color.

Natural vividly saturated pink sapphires can bring in top dollar in the colored stone market because they are stunningly beautiful and rare. And thanks to some high profile celebrities, pink sapphires are gaining popularity. The emerald cut pink sapphire above is a Chatham-created pink sapphire. Thankfully, vivid pink sapphires are available in more-economical lab-grown varieties as well.

Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites and

About mrahm

Michelle holds a Graduate Gemologist Diploma, Graduate Diamonds Diploma and Graduate Colored Stones Diploma through the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program. Michelle currently serves as President of the Mile High GIA Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Jeweler's Association and is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.
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