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?Definition of Padparadscha?

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by chrono, Apr 15, 2010.

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  1. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    As requested, I am starting a new thread on the LMHC’s definition of what a padparadscha is and what a padparadscha isn’t. This discussion isn’t to diss or rip apart any vendor’s, collector’s or consumer’s stone but to help everyone, myself included, understand the definition in order to help us make a better decision when viewing or buying any stone that is advertised as a padparadscha sapphire, either accompanied by a lab memo or without one. I’d like to preface this that everyone is welcome to post opinions, facts or links but please keep it civil and on topic.

    http://www.gubelinlab.com/pdf/LMHC_InformationSheet_4_Padparadscha.pdf

    For ease of discussion, I’ll add the definition as stated in the link above:
    Padparadscha sapphire is a variety of corundum from any geographical origin whose colour is a subtle mixture of pinkish orange to orangey pink with pastel tones and low to medium saturations.

    The name “padparadscha sapphire” shall not be applied in the following cases:
    1. If the stone has any colour modifier other than pink or orange.
    2. etc.....

    http://www.preciousgemstones.com/gffallparttwo.html#GIA

    The above reputable link has an excerpt of the GIA’s colour grading system which is based on the Gem Set coloured grading system. In the definition or rating of saturation, it is explained as:
    1 = grayish (brownish)
    2 = slightly grayish (brownish)
    3 = very slightly grayish (brownish)
    4 = moderately strong
    5 = strong
    6 = vivid

    Therefore based on the above 2 links and definitions, it appears that if a padparadscha sapphire CANNOT have saturation beyond medium, doesn’t it stand to show varying degrees of brown to very slightly brownish?
     
  2. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    My other question or pondering out loud, is why are only pastel low to medium saturated orange pink corundum considered a padparadscha with a premium placed on it? It seems to fly in the generally accepted practice that a vividly saturated stone is very rare, attractive and desirable, thus highly valued and priced accordingly.
     
  3. ma re
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    by ma re » Apr 15, 2010
    Here we go, another pad thread...[​IMG] I have nothing particularly constructive to say, except to speculate that padparadscha is valued in low to medium saturation because (and this is just a wild guess on my side) maybe many such sapphires when they reach certain levels of saturation, gain undesirable modifiers like brown. Or it could be a cultural thing, cause this type of sapphire was named by a word for a lotus flower, so why would you include stones that appear much more vibrant than those flowers and don''t really remind of them (that''s also a wild guess...). Over and out.
     
  4. Barrett
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    by Barrett » Apr 15, 2010
    It''s about time..probebly a good idea all these pad threads are being done..time to get down to the nitty gritty and hash out a some what good idea of what a pad is and isn''t..haven''t seen one in awhile that i can remember but have seen members on here(not any regs. if i remember correctly) buy a "padparadscha"..show the pics and info..and the stone couldn''t have been farther off from a pad even by my def. of a pad..would much rather have a buyer..uninformed or not..buy a pad from a repected vendor who is actually selling something that is a pad than buy a stone from a seller who is trying to get a markup by calling his/her stone a pad when in fact it''s not..or real a poor example of one..so when that newbie comes along wanting to drop $1000 on a padparadscha..they will look and see what chrono, TL, Ma Re, zeo, and all the others have said and say.."well i am glad i didn''t drop that money with [insert seller name]..what they have is not a pad"
     
  5. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    Mr. Ma Rae,
    If a sapphire reaches higher levels of saturation, it should not have as much grey (cool color) or brown (warm color). In fact, because the nomenclature indicates that the padparadscha must have lower saturation levels, it will show brown (ref: GIA color grading based on the work of Munsell). I suspect many of the more attractive padparadschas that are presented here are probably more saturated in color, albeit medium light in tone.

    Some people would say there is no brown in a desatured warm hue, but that is a paradox. How can a warm hue not be saturated, and not show brown at the same time??? Does anyone have an answer to this?
     
  6. Michael_E
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    by Michael_E » Apr 15, 2010
    The term padparadscha is merely a color description and as a description it''s open to all sorts of ambiguity. It''s just like "ruby" in that it all boils down to whether one is the buyer or seller. Either a stone is pink or orange, any mix of these colors at any tone or saturation level and someone will be calling it "padparadscha". It''s O.K. with me, since I wouldn''t be buying it unless I can see it and it either fits with my personal idea of what a padparadscha is or not. I found this image online, (http://fineartamerica.com/featured/lotus-blossom-jerry-weinstein.html to give proper credit for the image), which is what I view as the perfect color of a padparadscha.

    Padparadscha.jpg
     
  7. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    The problem with that to me, and why Chrono started this thread, is to resolve that ambiguity since a premium is paid for gems that certain labs label "padparadscha." I personally think it is wrong to charge higher premiums for a brownish stone. To my eye, that pastel shade (lighter tone) of the upper portion of the petals, that if translated into a transparent crystal, would probably not be a weak saturation, but moderately strong.
     
  8. Michael_E
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    by Michael_E » Apr 15, 2010

    Right. This will never happen. It''s like trying to decide what "peach" or "melon" REALLY means. They are descriptions which mean different things to different people and so the ambiguity can''t be resolved since there can never be an exact definition that everyone agrees to. In my mind arguing semantics is pretty close to arguing about whether the colors in a box of crayons are labeled correctly. It''s fun to watch though and I do love the pictures that get posted, so please carry on !
     
  9. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    Then you''re saying that color is truly subjective. If that is the case, then we better use gemologists with super vision. The problem I have with your answer is that I can (if I were a GG) grade a stone as a 5/6, and it''s probably not. That''s what is scary since a premium is paid for higher levels of saturation. Unless we hold these standards to a higher level, there can be fraud.
     
  10. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    Michael,
    Thank you for chiming in. I disagree with your opinion though because this “padaradscha” colour is supposedly defined by the labs with a clear definition that is measurable, which I have yet to fully understand. If it is indeed subjective, then what is the point of these lab memos with colour grading which in turn, sets a value/price attached to it?
     
  11. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    The AGL has a very stringent color grading system although it is not exactly the same as the GIA color grading system. That is why their reports are held to a very high regard by the trade. The GIA system is baded on the work of Munsell, and is a bit more easy to understand IMO though. If I were spending a fortune on a gem of high quality, I would insist on an AGL prestige report because who can I trust to properly color grade my stone if it's so subjective and inconsistent? They evidently take this grading of color very seriously, as other labs do as well. I'm using the AGL as an example since it is a gold standard in the industry.

    http://www.aglgemlab.com/services/Prestige.aspx

    In establishing a base for international quality reference standards, AGL had to be sure that all gemstones from the best to the worst could be accommodated by the system. Therefore, the top of the scale has become almost a theoretical standard of excellence. Please do not ask for 1.00 to 2.00 color grades. Because of the AGL's stringent grading practices, a 3.5 color is usually the best color grade any gem will receive. A 3.5 colored gemstone on an AGL Grading Report is nearly synonymous with a D-color diamond on a GIA Diamond Grading Report. On rare occasion, AGL may find exceptional examples that will receive even better color grades.




     
  12. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    TL,
    I know that you’ve attached your quote and link directly from AGL but I’d like to add this link which seems to interpret AGL’s grading report a little differently.

    http://www.preciousgemstones.com/gfsummer09.html
    Quote:
    With the AGL Prestige Report, we are seeing changes in the AGL colored grading system. The bottom line is the top grades are being pushed upwards. For example, in the old system, a 70% primary color or 3.5 color would probably be the best color grade you would receive. The AGL is now giving grading reports with 80% primary color. Also, in the past grading system, the top of the line 1.00 and 2.00 color grades were impossible to obtain. These grades were a theoretical standard. The new AGL grading system now allows for 1.00 and 2.00 color grades.
     
  13. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    Chrono,
    Thank you for the clarification. I think AGL needs to update their website with this information. I wonder what was the cause for the change.
     
  14. LD
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    by LD » Apr 15, 2010
    If we accept the definition of a Padparadscha that it should be "pastel" and "low to medium saturation" looking at these two photos, which would be considered a Padparadscha colour? For me, it would be the tulips but I can see how others would prefer the flower on the right.

    The problem is that colour is subjective. Unless there are sample stones produced to compare that categorically give a specific colour set for gems to qualify as a Padparadscha, this debate will rage on. Should there be brown? Should there be purple? I see both colours in the photos below. By it''s very nature, a gem that has/should have a mix of colours i.e. orange and pink, is going to show different hues as one colour merges into another.

    I''m not sure that this debate would be so important if a premium weren''t attached to the name "Padparadscha" and the problem with having a premium for any stone is that unscrupulous dealers will attach the marketing name when it should never be applied.

    I appreciate this is a very simplistic approach but I don''t see this debate being resolved although it is incredibly interesting.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. ma re
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    by ma re » Apr 15, 2010
    Eventhough we're discussing colored stones here, I think this article (which most PS regulars I'm sure are already familiar with) could be of use in this thread:

    http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/da-naked-eye.htm

    It's very informative, gives another perspective to a familiar subject, and is hilarious - all at once. It becomes increasingly interesting after "table 2.". Basically it proves that color definition is subjective and that we can't always rely just on the pretty, official-looking piece of paper from some international rocket science lab, and it's grading system.
     
  16. Michael_E
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    by Michael_E » Apr 15, 2010
     
  17. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    LD,
    The GIA used to have a series of plastic samples of stone colors to go by to compare to a transparent stone. They discontinued those in lieu of software. The problem is that monitors may cause issues with seeing the colors properly. I do not know why they discontinued the set (anyone know why?), but I think it''s vastly superior using a set of actual colored transparent 3D "swatches" than computerized 2D opaque swatches.
     
  18. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    How do they know the color is accurate if they are untrained to determine tone, saturation and hue? That is what we have gemologists for, and this is why we trust their opinion. I see this all the time, people will think they have the most saturated stone in the world, but in reality it''s very desaturated. If a gemologist ascribes a 5/6 to that stone based on the quality of color, a person untrained in color grading nuances, can be easily deceived. That''s my problem with subjectivity on the part of the grader, and some graders are very conservative and some are not. There is no consistency across the board for color grading.
     
  19. Michael_E
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    by Michael_E » Apr 15, 2010

    The point is that the people writing those memo''s have to do something and this is a never ending source of entertainment for them. The people making up these definitions also are not directly involved in setting prices. Just calling a sapphire a padparadscha should not cause it to have an increase in value any more than calling a blue tourmaline a "parabia" does. I doubt if the value of a stone has anything to do with what anyone calls it, but is more tied to how it looks in person to a potential buyer, especially in the higher end of value. I take that back, I''m sure that there are people out there who are buying and selling strictly based on certs. My view is if they are doing that without looking at the stones in question , that they are making a big mistake.

    If the definition of "padparadscha" is so well defined and measurable, then how can it not be easily understood, ( I obviously don''t understand it either)?
     
  20. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    Well, I think it''s unfortunate if that is the case. I will say that the labs have seen millions of gems and are familiar with many species, and different qualities in each species. I think that in of itself, gives them a bit of credibility.
     
  21. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    TL,
    This article by JCK answers your question about why the master colour paddles have been ditched in favour of the software version.
    http://www.jckonline.com/article/293738-From_ColorMaster_to_GemSet_to_Gem_e_Wizard_Computer_might_be_the_answer_for_GIA.php

    As you can see, it is cumbersome to have boxes of these little sticks.

    giagemset.jpg
     
  22. chrono
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    by chrono » Apr 15, 2010
    Here’s a larger picture of what each paddle looks like.

    littlecolourpaddles1.jpg
     
  23. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    That's unfortunate.[​IMG] While I appreciate all the advances that computers and electronic media have made for us, some things simply cannot be duplicated properly virtually. We need to see these things IRL. At least the little paddles, though inefficient, provided more consistency.
     
  24. zeolite
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    by zeolite » Apr 15, 2010

    Chrono: My other question or pondering out loud, is why are only pastel low to medium saturated orange pink corundum considered a padparadscha with a premium placed on it? It seems to fly in the generally accepted practice that a vividly saturated stone is very rare, attractive and desirable, thus highly valued and priced accordingly.


    I completely agree, that padparadscha flies in the face of colored stone convention, that the more saturated the color, the higher the price.


    I view the whole padparadscha scene with detached humor. In general, I consider them incredibly overpriced, but there are a few I’d buy, based on special qualities I’ll describe later.


    I think that the attraction is that some connoisseurs love them, and are willing to pay very high prices, because superb, true padparadschas are very rare. The difficulty is that it takes a very experienced, knowledgeable buyer. You need to have viewed very many gems, to separate the true winners from the trash. The buyer needs to know on his own, not from a lab report, what is a fine gem, and what is simply a sapphire, being peddled by an unscrupulous seller, depending on the ignorance of a wealthy, but un-savvy buyer.


    I completely agree with this definition:


    The issue of what should properly be called Padparadscha was addressed by the famous Robert Crowningshield, gemologist extraordinaire, in “Padparadscha: What’s In a Name?” Spring, 1983, Gems & Gemology, pages 30-36. He concluded, “It is GIA’s opinion that this color range should be limited to light to medium tones of pinkish orange to orange-pink hues. Lacking delicacy, the dark brownish orange or even medium brownish orange tones of corundum from East Africa would not qualify under this definition. Deep orangy red sapphires, likewise, would not qualify as fitting the term Padparadscha’.” Note his use of the word “delicacy”— Padparadscha colors are commonly described as delicate, evoking the soft colors of dawn and sundown.


    If you accept this definition, I don’t see much reason for confusion. Being a GIA graduate, I am quite sure GIA did deep and extensive discussion with gem dealers and experts, before publishing this defining article.


    Thank you, LD, for printing the two flower pictures side by side. For me, the pastel tulips is the finest flower picture I’ve ever seen, for demonstrating padparadscha color. The lotus flower, that some prefer as padparadscha, is much too intense to meet the Crowningshield definition. In addition, it shows purple in the red, and yellow in the more pastel areas, two colors of which are outside the definition of padparadscha.


    Chrono: Therefore based on the above 2 links and definitions, it appears that if a padparadscha sapphire CANNOT have saturation beyond medium, doesn’t it stand to show varying degrees of brown to very slightly brownish?


    TL: How can a warm hue not be saturated, and not show brown at the same time??? Does anyone have an answer to this?


    I have noticed that some PS people seem to see brown in pastel gems, where others see none or almost none. My answer to this, if you have seen a number of true padparadschas in person, you will see some that have a relatively intense color within the framework of pastel, with no brown, compared to other true padparadschas. These are the true connoisseur gems, and are worth the price.


    As to why it doesn’t appear to show brown, I don’t know. But they do exist.


    TL: …is to resolve that ambiguity since a premium is paid for gems that certain labs label "padparadscha." I personally think it is wrong to charge higher premiums for a brownish stone.


    TL: The problem I have with your answer is that I can (if I were a GG) grade a stone as a 5/6, and it''s probably not. That''s what is scary since a premium is paid for higher levels of saturation.


    TL: That''s my problem with subjectivity on the part of the grader, and some graders are very conservative and some are not. There is no consistency across the board for color grading.


    I think you need a consultant pad expert with you, and not rely on any grading report, if you are spending a large sum of money.
     
  25. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    I think that there are lighter tones (not too light to be almost colorless, but light enough) with stronger saturation, that is why some people with a trained eye do not see the brown. Again this flies in the face of the definition of a padparadscha.

    No doubt that this one thread has brought up the fact that padparadscha is an extremely complex color consisting of a particularly rare hue, in a light shade and stronger saturation (the paradox of weak saturation/no brown seems to break down for me). No wonder it is so rare to find a good one.
     
  26. Harriet
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    by Harriet » Apr 15, 2010
    Zeolite, what is your opinion of the AMNH''s beauty?
     
  27. platinumrock
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    by platinumrock » Apr 15, 2010
    Look at the color on that lotus! It''s so beautiful it hurts! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  28. zeolite
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    by zeolite » Apr 15, 2010
    You are talking of the New York AMNH 100.18 ct pad?

    I think it is a major, world class sapphire, and quite beautiful. I made two trips to New York, specifically to see that sapphire. And I think it fit the more loose definition of a padparadscha at that time, about 1910. I don''t think it meets Crowningshield''s more restrictive 1983 definition. It is more saturated and has yellow highlights.

    Other than the monetary aspect of pricing gems to sell, this whole concept of categories and definitions is ridiculous. If it is beautiful, and that one is, who cares about fitting square pegs into round holes?

    I had a long discussion at AGTA, with a gem dealer, who was selling an intense purplish red sapphire. He of course insisted it was a ruby, yet it had slightly too much purple to meet a strict definition. It was unusual, beautiful, and I would have picked it any day for my colllection, over a ruby.
     
  29. T L
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    by T L » Apr 15, 2010
    Yes, I completely 100% agree!!
     
  30. Harriet
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    by Harriet » Apr 15, 2010
    Zeolite,

    Yes, I am. I haven''t noticed the yellow, but I do see a lot of orange. It''s a beauty, no matter what it''s called.
     
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