Although sapphire is the birthstone for September, it is not necessarily limited to blue. You can choose from a vast number of colors.
The most coveted of all varieties is called Padparadscha (the Sanskrit word for “lotus blossom”). It has light to medium tones of magnificent orange-pink. The finest stones are from Sri Lanka. The true “Pad” is devoid of any brown modifier, typical of African stones. If ever you have an opportunity of viewing one of these gems, you will never forget it. There are very few stones in existence in the world like it.
Naturally untreated and finely cut stones, with the absence of eye-visible inclusions, are extremely rare. Stones ranging from one to seven carats can cost $2,000 to $25,000 per carat. Those that have been enhanced and have a heavy bottom, typical of stones from Sri Lanka and India, can be as much as 50-70 percent less.
Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness. He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is the author of three appraisal books and has appeared on ABC-TV’s “Prime Time Live.” Altobelli can be reached at (818) 763-5151.