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Opinions on ''Padparadscha'' cut/color vs price

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jkarnes

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I ran across these forums searching for real world information (people physically talking about) padparadscha sapphires and found it immensely helpful. Now that I have a stone in my hand I was curious to get some feedback from others about it.

I found NSC a few months ago and have been looking at some stones they had, and recently narrowed it down to three in my price range for an engagement ring that will be done in an art deco pierced filigree style in platinum. I asked for a photo of the three stones in question all together so I could see the color difference. They were graded orange-brown, orange-pink and pink-orange. The two lighter stones were from the same rough and had similar color but different cuts, and both had decent windows in the faces (bummer because I really liked the color). We decided to preview the brightest stone (PA44 on their site) and I now have it sitting in front of me.

http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Sapphires/Padparadscha/PA44/Cushion/stoneid=PA44

It could probably be a little more orange but my fiance really likes the color (team effort here) so I''m alright with that. My concern is that the culet on this cushion cut, according to the 3D scan NSC sends out is 12.8% off. The table size is 51% which seems right where it should be, the stone looks pretty nice straight on and sparkles like crazy in my light box. So visually it''s quite appealing.

6.7mm x 5.3mm x 3.3mm. Size is 1.2ct and cost is approximately $1800. Comments from NSC:

- A medium strong pinkish orange sapphire with excellent clarity grading. The clarity grade is VVS2 and it is 1.20 cts.
- This stone has a very good color saturation, meaning it has an intense color that is equally distributed.

I took possession of the stone today for preview, I am considering taking it somewhere local tomorrow to have someone more knowledgeable take a look at it in person. I am a jeweler but I do a lot of hand carving of things like ivory, amber and jadeite and I haven''t the slightest clue about the nuances of faceted stones, so opinions on the overall quality would be welcomed.

threestonesupload.jpg
 

jkarnes

Rough_Rock
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All three stones (and the skin tone) are a bit washed out in the above vendor photo due to the size limit. Attached is my best effort at an accurate photograph, done with low flash under daylight fluorescent lights.

padshot.jpg
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
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Maybe it''s the photo, but that stone to me lacks some visual dimension. Padparadschas are suppose to be stones that clearly exhibit the mix of two colors, and in that photo I see only pink. I do see some orange in the middle one, and even the left one shows some "mix", but the one in question looks really pink. I''m also not crazy about it''s cut (or of that of any of them). It''s got a noticable window, not too large but noticable, and there''s no mosaic pattern which I tend to look for in faceted gems. By that I mean individual reflections of facets, which create a visual harmony of colors and shades. This stone has large "blocks" of color, all of pretty much the same shade (judging by a photo), and I''m guessing it''s not very scintillating compared to a well cut stone. Sapphire has a rather high index of refraction and could produce a much livelier stone IMO. I could be wrong on many accounts as it''s hard to judge gems from photos, but I think even videos would probably reveal some of the same issues.

Hope this helps.
 

Pandora II

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I am not loving this stone at all I''m afraid.

I think it''s on the shallow side. I''m also much less picky than most on cut and I would reject this stone on that basis. Meet points are bad, the symmetry is really bad, a nearly 8% girdle depth and that culet is way too adrift for me.

Colour is not great either - although this is more subjective. I''d like to see more orange.

Price is probably about right for the size and it being unheated and falling into a pad colour range...
 

T L

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Finding a good padparadscha is like finding a needle in a haystack, and to find a well cut stone makes that a needle in a mountain of haystacks. Also the definition of padparadscha is subjective among the various gem labs. I personally stay away from most sapphires because the cutting is deplorable on many of them, but the rare orange pink stones are supremely badly cut because they are cut more for size than beauty due to that rarity. How about a pink sapphire, or another type of sapphire? For the price point, it would be difficult to get a stone that has everything, adequate size, color cut and clarity. If it''s your e-ring, I would assume you would want the best stone attainable, unfortunately, you picked a gem subspecies that is very very difficult to obtain with good quality for all the four C''s.
 

jkarnes

Rough_Rock
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Haha, I was afraid this might happen. We are largely okay with the color (although a little more orange would be nice) but as I am not knowledgeable about cut, I am relying on outside feedback on that as part of my final decision. While I am okay with paying for something pretty, I am not to hot on the idea that in the end the value of a stone appraised independently would be less than what was paid, or that it would devalue the ring as a whole.

The two places I found to have the most reasonable selection that are what seem to be well regarded business are NSC and Cherrypicked. NSC seems to have problems with cut and cherrypicked is empty in my price range (I can't afford more than $2k for a stone). My wishes have been an unheated Ceylon stone, size isn't really an issue, I'd rather have a really nice .75ct stone than a mediocre 1ct+.

Quite possibly back to the drawing board!

[edit] We are looking for a Padparadscha because we're both really drawn to the history of the name and the lotus/sunset aspect. We have traveled extensively through Southeast Asia and she is very drawn to the lotus imagery in Eastern philosophy (and her favorite color is pink). So when I was researching various kinds of stones other than diamonds for this and I found Pads I was like HOLY **** THAT'S PERFECT. Of course it has to be the most elusive thing ever.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Also know that NSC has some stones listed that are padparadscha's to them, but may not fall under that classification to the major gem labs. I think for 2K, you should look for a heated stone. You're not likely to get anything very nice for 2K in an unheated Sri Lankan stone. I'm very sorry to say that.

Also remember that sapphires are a very dense material, so a .75 carat may look like a .4 carat of most any other gemstone. That's another reason I'm not keen on sapphires, very little bang for the buck.
 

MakingTheGrade

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I recently got a small .5ct pad from NSC after looking through 20 or so in person, and I love it :) I actually didn't like anything in their loose gem collection, but rather chose one that was already set in a ring. They were very nice about removing it from the setting and selling me the stone loose, free of charge or commitment (I was still able to return it if I chose after seeing it loose). So I just wanted to note that you might be able to browse their jewelery selection as well for pads to see if one catches your eye.

That being said, the stone in this ring seems possibly promising (although not of Sri Lankan origin)
ring1
Or the stone in this pendant (unheated, and from Sri Lanka)
pendant

I think if you email them with the jewelry item number, they can look up the price and the stone specifics for you. It's harder to evaluate these stones online since they are set in jewelery, but they seemed pretty willing to remove the stone, so hopefully they'd let you do that for inspection if you were interested.

Good luck! I bought mine for wedding purposes as well (Lotus is one of the themes).
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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MTG,
Is your Padparadscha African or Sri Lankan? I forget.
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/2/2009 4:30:55 PM
Author: tourmaline_lover
MTG,

Is your Padparadscha African or Sri Lankan? I forget.
Sri Lankan (it says Ceylon in the certificate though to be precise)
 

Fly Girl

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 9, 2007
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Have you looked at Richard Homer's work? He has some pink sapphires in your price range. Link This one is a concave cut beauty for $1,440. He writes: "Exceedingly rare, unique rose color; super bright and very saturate. Amazing gem!"

5636PinkSapph.jpg
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Since you have run out of choices, I''d like to suggest Wink at www.winkjones.com who will be able to find whatever your heart desires under the earth. He has a good reputation of being honest, fair and picking out excellent gemstones.
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
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Also keep in mind that the percieved color of the stone can be "modified" to a point with the use of the right metal and setting choices. For example, bezel setting makes a stone look quite different once set, and the color of metal influences the direction of that modification, so to speak. So if you get the stone bezeled in rose gold it will look more pink, so you can afford to choose a loose stone that is slightly more orange than what you''d want. It''s the same with a yellow gold bezel; it will make a stone that is slightly too pink, a bit more orange. Just thought you should know.

P. S. More open settings like prongs, don''t have this much of an effect on color - this is the thing with bezels, semi bezels, bar settings etc.
 

soycoffee

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
140
I have to agree with the others, this Pad is not grabbing me. As others have said, the color isn't as good as it could be, and it just seems to lack dimension.

Another option for an unheated stone is the stones on www.wildfishgems.com. Ed is great, and has a better reputation for cut (and cs, from recent reports) than NSC. There are some nice heated options out there in retailland, as well, but, if you were deadset on unheated, you may want to check it out!

Good luck!


edit: popped over to wild fish for a minute and found this stone, beautiful! There were some other nice options, too.
http://www.wildfishgems.com/inc/sdetail/8556
 

jkarnes

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Messages
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Date: 4/3/2009 2:39:24 PM
Author: soycoffee
edit: popped over to wild fish for a minute and found this stone, beautiful! There were some other nice options, too.

http://www.wildfishgems.com/inc/sdetail/8556
That stone is quite beautiful. Some inclusions, but the color is off the hook. I have emailed them about more information. Do you guys have any feedback on this one?

My fiance and I have talked and we have decided to expand our search beyond pads to natural, untreated stones of other lineage, with our requirements being the best, most unique color for the money. So we have also been looking at bi-color tourmaline, various other pink and fancy colored rubies and sapphires, unique aquamarine. Concentrating on the pink but not discounting other very unique colors.

On a side note I have found myself completely obsessed with bi-color tourmalines cut in an opposed bar facet, and I think I am going to have to carve a wax and design my wedding band with one of these stones in it. I LOVE the idea of a ''pixelated'' gemstone.

http://www.whitesgems.com/gems/TML026.htm

http://www.whitesgems.com/gallery/TML059.htm

http://www.stevesstones.com/images/DSCN2875.jpg
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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JW stone 1: I'm not seeing any blue, just reddish pink and some dark colour. The 2 colours just do not look attractive to me.
JW stone 2: Super blending of blue and green. Great saturation and the tone is light enough to make the whole package sweet.
Steve stone: Dullish looking due to grayness and lack of saturation.
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
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I agree with Chrono that the second stone is best, simply because it''s color is the purest hue, and that''s what you''d want with any stone - no greyish blues, brownish oranges or anything similar. The first one (bi-color) lacks visual balance, as the colors have very different tonal levels (one is much darker), and the third one lacks that mentioned purity of hue (it''s some greyish shade of dark green).

Nice to hear that you''re not too stubborn about the choice of stone, cause there are so many beautiful ones, that one really needs to explore much further to see what''s out there. Bi-color tourmaline is a very interesting stone, not too expensive, but quite rarely seen set in jewellery these days. It''s really one of the stones that are hard to mistake for any other, as there''s simply nothing quite similar. In some cases it does remind of padparadscha, if the color combination is pink/orange, which does occur (rarely though). However, keep in mind that some stones are more fragile and/or less scratch resistant than others, so a sapphire would be a much better "everyday stone" than a tourmaline or an aqua. But if she doesen''t plan on wearing her e-ring 24/7, you have less to worry about.

Some other "unique" stones which might fit your budget are imperial topaz (it can look similar to padparadscha, but has a softer brilliance), spessartite garnet (a bright, sparkly orange stone) or maybe even paraiba tourmaline (looks like a radioactive aquamarine - neon blue
) although I''m not sure what you''d find within budget when it comes to them.

Also remember that anything in your price range (I''d say anything worth more than a few hundred $) should come with a certificate of a gemological laboratory, guaranteeing that the stone is natural and stating any treatments that''ve been done to the stone.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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There are also pink/orange garnets called Malayas, you might want to research into that as well. I got two beautiful ones from lapidary Barry Bridgestock at ACStones, and I know Gene Flanigan of precisiongem.com might have some as well. I wouldn''t want one that goes too brown in sunlight though. Some of them have a tendency to change color. Here''s a couple of my Malayas.

One is more orange outside and pink inside (the oval). The other one turns more orange outside, but tends to be less of a color change stone than the other one. In incandescent light, the oval becomes more pink. They''re fun stones, with a very high Refractive Index (lots of sparkle) and they''re pretty durable, although not as durable as a sapphire. I love mine!!

Bi-colored tourmaline can be very pricey, and tourmaline easily chips, so you have to be very careful there.

TLMalayasBB.JPG
 

platinumrock

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Date: 4/4/2009 8:45:11 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
There are also pink/orange garnets called Malayas, you might want to research into that as well. I got two beautiful ones from lapidary Barry Bridgestock at ACStones, and I know Gene Flanigan of precisiongem.com might have some as well. I wouldn''t want one that goes too brown in sunlight though. Some of them have a tendency to change color. Here''s a couple of my Malayas.

One is more orange outside and pink inside (the oval). The other one turns more orange outside, but tends to be less of a color change stone than the other one. In incandescent light, the oval becomes more pink. They''re fun stones, with a very high Refractive Index (lots of sparkle) and they''re pretty durable, although not as durable as a sapphire. I love mine!!

Bi-colored tourmaline can be very pricey, and tourmaline easily chips, so you have to be very careful there.
I agree with TL. Malaya Garnets are gorgeous in their own right, and they are an affordable alternative to pads. You can still get the paddish color, but with more sparkle and size.

Also, Garnets have such a wide array of color choices!

TL, what''s the ballpark price on a 6 carat Malaya like yours?

I am seriously ready to replace my topaz, birthstone or not.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/4/2009 9:54:58 AM
Author: platinumrock


Date: 4/4/2009 8:45:11 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
There are also pink/orange garnets called Malayas, you might want to research into that as well. I got two beautiful ones from lapidary Barry Bridgestock at ACStones, and I know Gene Flanigan of precisiongem.com might have some as well. I wouldn't want one that goes too brown in sunlight though. Some of them have a tendency to change color. Here's a couple of my Malayas.

One is more orange outside and pink inside (the oval). The other one turns more orange outside, but tends to be less of a color change stone than the other one. In incandescent light, the oval becomes more pink. They're fun stones, with a very high Refractive Index (lots of sparkle) and they're pretty durable, although not as durable as a sapphire. I love mine!!

Bi-colored tourmaline can be very pricey, and tourmaline easily chips, so you have to be very careful there.
I agree with TL. Malaya Garnets are gorgeous in their own right, and they are an affordable alternative to pads. You can still get the paddish color, but with more sparkle and size.

Also, Garnets have such a wide array of color choices!

TL, what's the ballpark price on a 6 carat Malaya like yours?

I am seriously ready to replace my topaz, birthstone or not.
Well, I think a six carat one would be really expensive. I've seen these "imperial" malayas even going for a lot on ebay. My stones are 2.5 and 2 carats respectively. The oval, which is considered a finer stone, was cut by an expert lapidary, and cost around $300 after two discounts (original asking price was $380). The smaller round one cost around $250. I have never seen a malaya of six carats - that would be a sight!!

The other nice thing about garnets is that they're not treated in any way (at least none that I know of).
 

platinumrock

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/4/2009 10:10:59 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover


Date: 4/4/2009 9:54:58 AM
Author: platinumrock




Date: 4/4/2009 8:45:11 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
There are also pink/orange garnets called Malayas, you might want to research into that as well. I got two beautiful ones from lapidary Barry Bridgestock at ACStones, and I know Gene Flanigan of precisiongem.com might have some as well. I wouldn''t want one that goes too brown in sunlight though. Some of them have a tendency to change color. Here''s a couple of my Malayas.

One is more orange outside and pink inside (the oval). The other one turns more orange outside, but tends to be less of a color change stone than the other one. In incandescent light, the oval becomes more pink. They''re fun stones, with a very high Refractive Index (lots of sparkle) and they''re pretty durable, although not as durable as a sapphire. I love mine!!

Bi-colored tourmaline can be very pricey, and tourmaline easily chips, so you have to be very careful there.
I agree with TL. Malaya Garnets are gorgeous in their own right, and they are an affordable alternative to pads. You can still get the paddish color, but with more sparkle and size.

Also, Garnets have such a wide array of color choices!

TL, what''s the ballpark price on a 6 carat Malaya like yours?

I am seriously ready to replace my topaz, birthstone or not.
Well, I think a six carat one would be really expensive. I''ve seen these ''imperial'' malayas even going for a lot on ebay. My stones are 2.5 and 2 carats respectively. The oval, which is considered a finer stone, was cut by an expert lapidary, and cost around $300 after two discounts (original asking price was $380). The smaller round one cost around $250. I have never seen a malaya of six carats - that would be a sight!!

The other nice thing about garnets is that they''re not treated in any way (at least none that I know of).
Okay, nix the 6 carat. I''ll just have to create a new setting.


I would love an oval or pear Malaya like yours from ACS. A 2.5-3.0 ct. stone sounds very doable within a $500 budget.

Unfortunately, this will have to wait a while.

After the diamond upgrade, hubby has put me on probation for the rest of the year.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through you.
 

jkarnes

Rough_Rock
Joined
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Date: 4/3/2009 2:39:24 PM
Author: soycoffee

edit: popped over to wild fish for a minute and found this stone, beautiful! There were some other nice options, too.

http://www.wildfishgems.com/inc/sdetail/8556
Does anyone have a stone that is moderately included or with zoning that is completely obvious under magnification but looks nice mounted? Suzanne really likes the defined color zoning in that pad at wildfish but she isn''t sure how she feels about the idea of the inclusions. I''ve read some threads on here about people being really bothered by feathers and such in their stones. Is there anyone that has an included stone that they adore regardless?
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Zoning, which many sapphires suffer from, typically bothers me. Sometimes you can see it more prevalent at certain angles when viewing the stone, but zoning does detract from the value of a sapphire. Also know that just because a dealer calls a stone a padparadscha doesn't mean it's truly a padparadscha. There are ongoing disagreements between the major gem labs on what exactly should be defined as a padparadscha. I tend to agree most with the AGTA in their view on this stone. The Wildfish gems stone seems to have too much separation of orange and pink color, and the color balance in a padparadscha should be more delicate than that. To me, a color zoned padparadscha with one part orange and one part pink is not what I would consider a padparadscha.

Here is one of the most beautiful and rare stones I have ever seen on this forum. If you find one in this color, all natural, with such fine cutting, it's a true treasure indeed. However, this gives you an idea of the delicate balance of pink/orange in the finest padparadschas.

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/pad-ring.23237/
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I also wanted to mention that the above stone I posted was from an antique piece and mined a long time ago. The super fine ones are simply not coming out of the ground that much anymore it seems.
 

icekid

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Date: 4/4/2009 11:22:44 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
I also wanted to mention that the above stone I posted was from an antique piece and mined a long time ago. The super fine ones are simply not coming out of the ground that much anymore it seems.
I never tire of that pad- thanks for posting that thread again, TL. We need more of AN and her stunning collection around here.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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A stone that is moderately included means you WILL be able to see it with the naked eye, even when set. This might not bother some but it will bother most people. Sometimes it can also be distracting to the beauty of the stone. Zoning is an iffy one. Light zoning probably will not be noticeable unless your eye is colour sensitive and may be a good bargain. Most people do not find obvious zoning attractive, hence the stone is always discounted for this flaw.
 

soycoffee

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Mar 23, 2009
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Re: the zoning/inclusions on the stone at wildfish--you should just talk to Ed about it, he''ll be up front (he is on all the other flaws in stones). And, if you didn''t like it you could send it back.

But, I think it is possible to have an included stone that isn''t noticeable in person. I have a sapphire like that, and I''ve gotten nothing but compliments on it, even with the flaws I know it has. But, it is a really individual thing, you just have to see what works for you, of course!
 
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