Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Padparadscha Sapphire

Creativity of Nature- Padparadscha Sapphire 


By Raunak Agarwal

Gemologist and Gemology Instructor, SDI

The rarest and most valuable colour in sapphire is called Padparadacha. The name, as esoteric as the colour is elusive, is said to derive from the Sinhalese term for lotus flower.
Experts sometimes disagree on the exact colour for Padparadscha. Walter Schumann, whose book Gemstones of the World is virtually a bible for the gem trade, characterise Padparadscha sapphire as "pinkish orange".
Rough of Padparadscha

Since Padparadscha comes from the term for lotus flower, couldn't we define the colour by looking at the lotus flower? That would be fine, except lotus flowers come in red, pink, blue, white and pale yellow. In Buddhism the pink lotus is regarded as the 'supreme lotus,' and the lotus associated with the historical Buddha. So maybe we should be looking at a pink lotus.
If we look at a pink lotus, the flower is decidedly pink. There is really no orange at all, except for the stamens and the seed cup (which is more yellow than orange). So it doesn't look like nature will help us define the color of Padparadscha.
The best consensus we've found from our reading of the gemological literature is that a Padparadscha sapphire must display both orange and pink hues with a pastel tone. There is no agreement on whether orange or pink should predominate. We've looked at hundreds of photos of alleged Padparadschas, and many look entirely pink or entirely orange to us.
Natural unheated Padparadscha sapphires are so rare that they can be as valuable as diamond. You will rarely find them anywhere. More common are pink or orange sapphires that have been treated with beryllium to look something like the Padparadscha colour. Usually the color is too saturated or the tone is too dark to look like a genuine Padparadscha.
Padparadscha Set in Jewellery

If you really love the Padparadscha-like colour, but out of your budget then it may be easier to find it in tourmaline than in sapphire. Many pink tourmaline have a delicate touch of orange and yellow, with the right pastel tone to meet the Padparadscha requirement.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Diamonds Forever?

Are Diamonds Really Forever?

Raunak Agarwal
Gemologist and Gemology Instructor, SDI

In the past, the Greeks and Romans thought that the diamonds were tears of Gods and small pieces of stars. There were also the Hindus, who thought that the diamonds has so much power that they put diamonds in the eyes of some of their deity idols. Other people believed that an unapproachable valley in Central Asia covered by diamonds existed. One said that this valley was "kept by birds of prey and protected by snakes of mortal stare."
South Indian Hindu God's Idol studded in Diamonds

Besides believing that diamonds could attract luck and success, people also thought that they could defy the astrological events. Many people used them as jewels, supposing they would be increasing their sexual power and capacity to attract. Even Plato wrote about diamonds, describing them as living creatures, impersonating divine spirits.

Until the 15th century, only kings were allowed to use diamonds, having them as a symbol of courage, power and invincibility. But as the centuries passed by, the diamonds of the world came from India. From the period of the Roman Empire to the appearance of the first Europeans to India, in the beginning of the 16th century, the commercial relations between Europe and Eastern Asia bloomed.

One of the main routes of the diamond commerce was in Venice. The city became the most important mercantile republic of the western world. It enjoyed the monopoly of the commerce of the diamond course to the main cities of the south of Germany until its final destiny, Brussels. Since this city became the final phase of the commercial route, it became a promising center of diamond stature, and the reputation of the city in this sector did not stop increasing. Even though Brussels maintained their predominance until the end of the 14th Century, they began to decline in a lapse of fifty years. The diamond trade and numerous other economic activities of Brussels were moved progressively to the city of Amber's, which offered more recent and better facilities for the communications and the commercial exchange. Tn 1886, the first diamond in South Africa was discovered. Following this was the discovery of deposits of Kimberley few years later, giving birth to fabulous era of Kimberley.
Rough Diamond

The word diamond comes from the Greek word 'adamas', meaning invincible and 'diaphanes', that means transparent. In the past centuries, people believed that a diamond could reattach a wrecked marriage. It was used also in battles as a symbol of courage.

Even though the diamond is the hardest rock known to men, it id the only precious gem with only one element: carbon. Nevertheless, it can only be melted when exposed to a temperature of 5500 degrees Celsius! Billions of years before, the basic forces of heat and pressure miraculous transformed the carbon into diamond through volcano lava underneath the earth. In some way, this volcanic mass was expelled out of the earthly crust, coiling soon to be found as diamonds in rudimentary form. No acid can destroy them, and they are capable to cut anything on Earth, therefore, they only can be cut with themselves.
However, are the diamonds really forever? If they appeared miraculously, can they be destroyed? As incredible as it may seem, the small diamond that adorn the ring that you gave your wife will probably last forever- at least while Earth exists. Thy are the most resistant minerals of the planet, and only can b melted when displayed to a temperature of 5500 degree Celsius. The problem is that the global atmosphere will never achieve this high temperature, even if it was to be hit by an enormous meteor that would eliminate all forms of life. They only would melt if, one day, the planet literally entered the Sun, which has a temperature of 5800 degree Celsius. The curious thing is that, according to astronomers, in 7.5 billion years our planet will actually enter the Sun, when the star will be next to death. If you think diamonds will disappear then, you might be wrong. When such episode happens, the temperature of the Sun will lower to about 3000 degree Celsius. That means that even when the Earth reaches an atmosphere as hot and dense as Mercury's atmosphere, we will still be able to find some small diamonds spread around.