Padparadscha derives its name from the Sinhalese word “padmaradschen”, which is the name of the colour used to describe the Sri Lankan lotus flower. The reality however, is that the Lotus flower is a lot more pinkish than the gemstone. Padparadscha Sapphires are among the rarest gems on the planet. They are strikingly beautiful and almost no other coloured gemstone compares to this unique mix of pink and orange. To be named a Padparadscha, the gem should exhibit both colours.
Hopefully soon there will be something more concrete I can offer on the subject of “what really does qualify as a Padparadscha”. For now, everyone in the trade seems to have totally different views. I personally follow the thought that if you track the history of the gem’s name and if you study some of the first gems originating from Ceylon, then to be a true Padparadscha, a Sapphire should have a degree of both orange and pink present under the same lighting condition. The use of the Padparadscha name when describing an orange Sapphire is a hot topic in the gem industry. Some say it should only be used for Sapphires that are not heat- treated; others say that it should only be used for pinkish orange Sapphires actually mined in Sri Lanka.
Also, the gem world seems to be divided on whether Padparadscha should stand alone as a gem name or whether it is used as a prefix to Sapphire. Other countries that claim to produce Padparadscha Sapphires include Vietnam, Tanzania and Madagascar.