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Home Precious stones Padparadscha


PadparadgeI decided to make this chapter a bit different. For starters, let me tell you what information about padparadscha you can readily anywhere. Then, I will tell you what padparadscha really is. Let’s begin.

Orange jasper is a “day stone”–a highly energy-charged universal healer. Among the transparent orange gemstones, there is one unique member of the corundum um family–the padparadscha, or “the flush of dawn.” If it is true that the name comes from Sinhalese lad ma radscha, then it means “the color of a lotus flower.” Orange corundum s are very rare and very beautiful. They are found mainly in Sri Lanka. I recommend padparadscha to those who love orange, but also to those suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Orange is the color of the Sun itself. Sun makes people generous, noble, proud, honest, fearless, and truthful; Sun people despise low and indecent deeds. The Sun ensures success in business. In our body, the Sun is responsible for the life forces, giving us health and ensuring vitality. People influenced by the Sun are healthy and beautiful, with a clear complexion, blue or gray eyes, broad shoulders, and an erect and proud posture.

The role of the Sun was clearly described by the ancient astrologers: for a cultured person, the Sun is the master of life; for a non-cultured, the lucky star. The Sun defines the life of a person aged 19 to 37. Orange is the color of liberation, of physical and mental freedom; it encourages tolerance and strengthens one’s will.

padparadga_01 This corundum will never become padparadscha — too light, though it has the necessary mix of colorsThis corundum will never become padparadscha — too light, though it has the necessary mix of colors

Our second bioenergetic chakra, situated at the bottom of the spinal column and responsible for the genitourinary domain, is also orange in color. This chakra is called Swadhisthana. It holds the dormant energy of Kundalini.

Sun is the active element representing human will, the sign of the immortal spirit. Flecks of sunlight reflect the color of gold, as well as yellow and orange. In ancient times, both cattlemen and farmers depended on the cosmic powers of nature, with the Sun being the main power. The Sun was the first god of the working man, as it gave him the warmth that was so needed for the growing of herbs, grains, and fruit. The Eastern hymns to the Sun are perfect examples of philosophy, poetry, and prose. All Sun gods are dressed in yellow clothes and ride their golden chariots.

Padparadscha, the color of morning light, gives us hope for the new day and is the source of optimism. The sorcerers will tell you this stone has a rejuvenation effect: it helps our neural and muscular tissues to regenerate; cures epilepsy, spleen and respiratory diseases; improves our heart activity, blood circulation, and digestion; strengthens our will; and restores vital forces (including sexual power) of both men and women.

What a miraculous gemstone!

In fact, padparadscha is pinkish-orange corund; actually, a fancy-colored sapphire. As translated from Sanskrit and Tamil, the word padparadscha means “the color of sunset.” There are, actually, three variants of translation: “sunset,” “sunrise,” and “the color of lotus.” Nobody knows which one is the truest, but all three of them very much suit this miraculous gem.

I have my own version of why there is such difference in the translation of this word. Near the Equator, in Sri Lanka, where the stone is mined, the brightest hue of orange can be seen at sunset. At the same time, to the north of the Equator, the sunset is much redder, while the pinkish-orange color can be seen at dawn. The reason is the angle of the sun, which is different in the North even in summer. Therefore, those who live in the Northern countries believe that padparadscha is the stone of dawn.

Earrings with padparadscha and peridot are made to match a satinorange dress with green lacy festoonsEarrings with padparadscha and peridot are made to match a satinorange dress with green lacy festoons padparadga_03 Padparadscha accompanied by its precious courtPadparadscha accompanied by its precious court

The unique nature of padparadscha is achieved by the mixing of two colors. In the ancient India, they would say: “The stone which makes the lotus blossom is the perfection itself; even gods cannot compete with the beauty of padparadscha.” Natural padparadscha is so unique that it is difficult to describe. Originally, the name of padparadscha was given to the tri-colored corundum (1/3 pink, 1/3 orange, and 1/3 red). Christophe Allair, a wonderful gemstone expert,  who spent 25 years in the gemstone business in Sri Lanka, told me once that he has seen the last classic padparadscha 17 years ago: it was a crystal in the shape of an incisor. It weighed only 1.65 carats, yet was quickly sold for $18,000. Taking into account the strength of the dollar at that time, one can only guess how much such a crystal would cost now.

Since the tri-color gems are extremely rare, the name of padparadscha is now attributed to stones with two-color play–pink and orange. Such corundums are not that rare, and it is highly possible that you will be offered one of such stones as “real padparadscha.” Once Christophe showed me a wonderful 42-carat orange sapphire and said with much sadness that even the slightest trace of pink would make this stone a padparadscha, and he would then be able to sell it as such, with any gemology laboratory issuing a proper certificate without a question.

The gemstone trade in Sri Lanka is a tough business, as foreigners mostly fail to buy there. Lands where the precious stones are mined mostly belong to the talapoin (Buddhist monks), but they never want to be associated with such ignoble thing as stone mining; they prefer to spend their time meditating on eternal life. The stone trade is therefore concentrated in the hands of the local Muslims, but even within their own circle, there is a serious lack of trust towards each other. As for foreigners, they have to be on the alert even more so.

Now, any multicolored gemstone can be called “padparadscha.” As it often happens, the word still exists, but not so many people are able to explain what it means; moreover, nobody cares, and some of those who do care would be better left ignorant. But I must reveal the truth, no matter how harmful it can be for those who still sell pink and orange sapphires as padparadscha. Much depends on who gives the name to a stone–the seller or the buyer. The seller is, obviously, more interested in calling any yellow sapphire a padparadscha in order to get a 1000 percent or more profit. But it is important to understand first whether the buyer is truly knows the gems. Some buyers would run for their lives from a word like padparadscha – well, at least before they get some explanation. The word is rare and many do not know what it means.

padparadga_06 padparadga_07

Today, any more or less decent padparadscha is heated. As a rule, a large number of crystals result in only a few quality padparadscha stones. So, not all the corundums from the furnace will have a chance to turn into “lotus”--most of them go into the garbage.

There are only two deposits in the world where real padparadscha is mined. One of them is situated in Tanzania, the other one in Madagascar. But these deposits, discovered just 15 years ago, are alluvial, so one can hardly expect that there will be any serious flow of stones from there. As I have already mentioned, the “rareness” of stones makes a serious impact on the human relationships within the gemstone mining and trading business. In Tanzania, like in Sri Lanka, the padparadscha trade is a highly private business. No foreigner, even if he is an important partner, is allowed near the mining area. One will have to sit and wait in a miserable shack situated some 20 kilometers away from the field until the locals condescend to bring you the stones. This is especially hard for Europeans, who are not accustomed to such long waits, while the Hindus, used to long meditations, take it in stride.

A stone weighing over two carats is very rare; over five carats, it is considered a work of art with a price that can reach $30,000 per carat. The largest known padparadscha weighs 100.18 carats and is on display t the Museum of the Natural History in New York. It is called the “Flower of Lotus” and combines two colors, yellow in the center and orange on the edges.

Besides its natural beauty, this unique stone possesses one more weapon: its imposing name. When I gave my wife a jewelry piece containing a padparadscha, she started to wear it when going to meet her friends. When asked what kind of stone it is, she answered, slightly snobbishly: “This is padparadscha!” You can only imagine how impressed people were.