Padparadscha is a lovely orange-pink sapphire. Natural color
padparadscha is quite rare, and very beautiful. But beware! There is
a large amount of “padparadscha” sapphire on the market right now
that gets its color from a beryllium diffusion heat treatment. The
sapphire heaters in Thailand discovered this method of creating the
color in lower-grade sapphire about two years ago, and churned out a
very large amount into the world markets, much of which was sold
without disclosure. Disclosure of the treatment is more common now,
but it’s still a matter of Buyer Beware. The beryllium-diffusion
treatment is very difficult to detect, even if you are conversant
with gemology, and there are thousands of lab certs roaming around
out there that certify the beryllium stones as simply "heat treated."
I would question any lab cert from Asia more than a year old.
Consider submitting any stone offered to you as natural, untreated
padparadscha to GIA, AGTA, or one of the other well-known gem labs in
the U.S. Keep in mind that beryllium-diffused stones are not
anywhere near as valuable as natural, untreated padparadscha.
To learn more about padparadscha and the controversy over the
treated material, visit Colored Stone magazine’s web site,
www.colored-stone.com. Here are a couple of links to articles from
Colored Stone about the treated material, including a resource page
with a variety of links to other sources of
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255