A common issue customers and gem dealers face is when two labs disagree on a gemstone. A lot of times these disagreements are about heat treatment v. non-heat treatment, and correct origin (Ceylon v. Burma etc..).
The same issue arises when one lab calls a certain variety of sapphire as “Padparadscha,” and another classifies it as “Fancy Sapphire.”
GIA and GRS lab differences when it comes to Padparadscha Sapphire
GRS has taken a slight deviation from the Lab Manual Harmonization Committee’s (LMHC) standard of Padparadscha. The LMHC defines Padparadscha as a “ variety of corundum from any geographical origin whose colour is a subtle mixture of pinkish orange to orangey pink with pastel tones and low to medium saturations when viewed in standard daylight.
In 2017, GRS released a Color Terms catalogue titled “GRS- Pioneering Global Industry Standards.”
Within the catalogue, GRS decided to further classify certain Padparadschas. This includes: “GRS-type ‘SUNRISE’ Padparadscha Sapphire” and also “GRS-type ‘SUNSET’ Padparadscha Sapphire.”
According to GRS:
- Sunrise describes “Padaradschas with medium weak to strong saturation of pre-dominantly pink with orange color.”
- Sunset describes “Padaradschas with medium weak to strong saturation of pre-dominantly orange with pink color.”
Under the LMHC’s definition, high saturated sapphires would not meet the color range of Padparadscha.
This difference is what leads GIA to deviate from GRS. When GRS uses “Sunset,” GIA may say is an Orange Sapphire. In the example below, GRS Sunrise, GIA calls Pink Sapphire. See the video— What do you think?
The nomenclature makes all the difference for someone seeking the official Padparadscha seal of approval.
Every person’s eyes have a unique way of picking up subtle color variations. Lighting and color cones may allow two people to agree on the main color hue but not agree on the secondary color. The secondary color being a color modifier that masks pink or orange. In these circumstances, determining certain padparadscha color variations is a challenging task.
Despite these nuances, we have no issues using either GRS or GIA for our Padparadscha Sapphires.