Called “a true Rembrandt among gemstones,” natural padparadscha is one of the rarest and most valuable varieties of sapphire. Unlike its blue brethren, padparadscha boasts a salmon color reminiscent of the most delicate orange/pink sunset you’ve ever seen. Fans of this unusual and strikingly beautiful gemstone are in for a big treat on May 28, when an exceptional padparadscha-and-diamond ring hits the auction block at Christie’s Hong Kong as one of the top lots of its Magnificent Jewels sale.
The oval, modified brilliant/step-cut Sri Lankan padparadscha weighs a staggering 73.98 carats and is framed with brilliant-cut diamonds mounted in 18-karat rose gold. Pre-sale estimates put the value of the ring at $1.03 million to $1.55 million.
The poetically named padparadscha gets its name from "padma raga," which literally means "the color of the lotus flower" in Sanskrit.
Padparadschas of the size and quality of the one offered for sale at Christie’s are rarely seen in auction circles. One gemstone dealer told author and gemstone expert David Federman, "Fine padparadscha is far rarer than either fine Kashmir sapphire or Burma ruby. We’re talking about a true Rembrandt among gemstones.”
Padparadscha belongs to the corundum family of gemstones, which includes rubies and sapphires. The presence of trace elements determines the color of each gemstone. While blue sapphires are naturally colored with iron and rubies with chromium, padparadschas are colored by the presence of both. The delicate interplay of pink and orange hues make this gem one of nature's greatest marvels.