Pink Sapphire and Morganite are two precious gemstones well-known for their durability and sparkling colors.
Both can be found in shades of pink and are easily confused to the untrained eye.
Here, we will breakdown the similarities and differences between Pink Sapphire and Morganite including their coloring, crystal structure, and mineral composition.
Pink Sapphire vs Morganite (Explained)
What is Pink Sapphire?
The name ‘sapphire’ comes from the Greek word sapphirus, meaning ‘blue’, a reference to the most common sapphire color.
Sapphire is a gemstone from the corundum mineral family and can be found in various colors with pink being the rarest.
Ruby is also a member of the corundum family but is differentiated from Pink Sapphire by its deep red coloring.
Physical Properties of Pink Sapphire
Minerals from the corundum family are composed of aluminum oxide with different trace elements corresponding to different gemstone colors.
The coloring of Pink Sapphire depends on the concentration of chromium distributed throughout the aluminum oxide matrix.
Greater levels of chromium produce pink stones in a stronger hue and vice versa.
How to Identify Pink Sapphire
Pink Sapphire coloring varies between delicate pastel pinks through to a bright, bubblegum, pink.
Pink Sapphire can be identified by inclusions associated with asterism – an optical phenomenon where light refracts off inclusions to create a star formation.
The value of Pink Sapphire increases with more asterism.
Pink Sapphires have a refractive index between 1.76 and 1.79, register 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, and have a density between 3.98 and 4 grams per cubic centimeter.
Closer inspection under a microscope will reveal a triagonal crystal structure which sparkles under light.
Where is Pink Sapphire found?
Sapphires are found throughout the southeastern hemisphere.
Madagascar produces the most Sapphire by weight while the best quality sapphire is found in the north Indian region of Kashmir where the stones are usually extracted from granite or corundum syenites.
Uses of Pink Sapphire
Thanks to its beautiful coloring and brilliant sparkle, Pink Sapphire is most commonly used in jewelry.
Other forms of sapphire have industrial applications, such as in LEDs, but as Pink Sapphire is the most unusual sapphire color its use is exclusively decorative.
What is Morganite?
Morganite is a gemstone of the beryl mineral family and can be found in delicate hues of pink, light violet, and orange.
Other beryl gemstones include aquamarine and emerald.
Morganite was first discovered off the coast of Madagascar in 1910 and was named after the financier JP Morgan by the New York Academy of Sciences.
Physical Properties of Morganite
Morganite is composed of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate with traces of manganese that generate its orange-pink coloring.
The most distinctive characteristic of morganite is its characteristic pleochroism, where the crystal absorbs different light wavelengths depending on its orientation.
This allows Morganite to exhibit different shades of pale pink and soft lilac when viewed at different angles.
How to Identify Morganite
Very strong coloring is unusual in Morganite, and most specimens have a muted, almost pastel-like color.
Although specimens do exist with high color saturation, they are very rare.
Morganite is prized for its unusual colors which can vary from dusty pink to a rich salmon-pink color with tones of orange and blue.
To the naked eye, Morganite usually doesn’t contain visible inclusions and has a vitreous luster.
Morganite has a hexagonal crystal structure, a refraction index between 1.58 and 1.60, and registers between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Where is Morganite found?
Most Morganite gemstones are mined from Minas Gerais, Brazil but other significant deposits have been found across the southern hemisphere in Mozambique, Namibia, and Afghanistan.
Although not jewelry-quality, the largest Morganite specimen was found in the US state of Maine in 1989.
This orange-hued crystal measured 9 inches long and 12 inches across and weighed over 50 pounds.
Uses of Morganite
The unique salmon-pink colors of this beryl crystal make it ideal for use in jewelry as a cheaper alternative to pink diamonds or even pink sapphire.
A 2017 survey found that Morganite is the second most popular diamond alternative after sapphire.
Interestingly, the first pair of glasses made in the 13th century had lenses fashioned from cuts of beryl, hence the German word for glasses – brillen.
How Are Pink Sapphire and Morganite Similar?
Both of these gemstones feature shades of pink, and both have a vitreous luster (as opposed to a waxy or resinous luster).
During stone processing, both routinely undergo heat treatment to refine their colors before being fashioned into jewelry.
Treatment of Pink Sapphire is used to soften any purple tones and heat-treated Morganite has richer coloring.
Although heat treating can be used to modify lower quality gemstones, it is a common and accepted practice with both Pink Sapphire and Morganite and does not detract from their value.
How Are Pink Sapphire and Morganite Different?
Although their colors are similar, Pink Sapphire is often more color-saturated and features brighter shades of pink when compared to Morganite.
As well as having a more muted tone, Morganite’s unique orange coloring also distinguishes it from Pink Sapphire.
Physically, Pink Sapphire is a more durable stone than Morganite and the two also exhibit different crystal structures – Pink Sapphire has a triagonal structure while Morganite has a hexagonal structure.
In terms of their visual characteristics, Pink Sapphire is differentiated from Morganite by the presence of star-shaped asterism which can be detected under a strong light.
Morganite also features varying degrees of pleochroism which is easily visible to the naked eye.
These two gemstones also have different price points.
As one of the “big three” gemstones, Pink Sapphire is more expensive than similar quality Morganite.
Why Do People Confuse Pink Sapphire and Morganite?
As Pink Sapphire and Morganite are popular diamond alternatives in the jewelry world, confusion can occur when the gemstones have been specifically selected to closely resemble pink diamond.
Both minerals produce specimens with beautiful pink tones and a sparkling clarity which make them ideal in jewelry construction.
Another possible cause for confusion is that Morganite may also be known as rose beryl, pink beryl, or pink emerald – a naming convention easily confused with ‘pink sapphire’.
Pink Sapphire and Morganite are two gemstones treasured for their magical pink, purple, and orange hues and sparkling crystal qualities.
Their overlapping coloring and widespread use in the jewelry industry can lead to them being confused, but careful inspection by the naked eye and under magnification will reveal their unique characteristics.
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