Pink sapphires range from intense and vibrant hot pinks to pale pastel pinks. Sapphire gets its pink colour from the small traces of chromium it contains. Low level of chromium creates pink sapphires, and the presence of very high chromium concentration creates a ruby. Sometimes, a pink sapphire gemstone comes with traces of titanium as well. Small amounts of titanium present in the crystal structure can give it a purplish-pink hue.
Since pink sapphires are rare, a skilled cutter will only cut the stones that are less than half-carat into calibrated sizes. Instead, the cut tries to retain as much of the stone as possible. In most cases, a mixed cut can maintain the weight of the gemstone while also enhancing the beauty of the colour.
The most common shapes among pink sapphires are ovals and cushions. Although one can find untreated and eye-clean pink sapphires in the market, the majority of pink sapphires have undergone heat treatment. The heat treatment enhances the clarity of the stone and clears the inclusions in the gem.
Madagascar is the primary source of pink sapphires in the world. To reduce the purplish secondary hues, most sapphires from Madagascar undergo moderate heat treatments. These are different from the traditional high temperature, long-duration heating of yellow and blue sapphires. The process is different for pink sapphires from Madagascar as the heat treatment occurs at a lower temperature (about 400 C). Even the time duration is less compared to the traditional method. While high heat temperatures affect the inclusions of the sapphire, this process does not affect the internal characteristics of the gemstone.
Apart from Madagascar, pink sapphires come from Myanmar, Sri Lanka and East Africa.