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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Corundum (var. padparadscha sapphire)

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Catalog Number NMNH G10235-00
Locality Madagascar
Weight 5.51 ct

Gift of Pasha and Laney Thornton in 2002.

Even though sapphires are traditionally thought of as blue in color, they occur in a wide variety of colors: yellow, orange, green, purple, pink, and even colorless. If a sapphire is not blue then it is termed “fancy color.” The majority of fancy-colored sapphires seen in the jewelry trade are from Sri Lanka. Yellow, pink and purple are the most common fancy colored sapphires used in jewelry, but the rarest and most valuable is the pinkish-orange variety known as padparadscha, named for the lotus flower whose color it resembles. This 5.51ct padparadscha sapphire from Madagascar has exceptional color and is the largest and finest in the National Gem Collection.


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