Pink sapphires come in very pale pastel pinks to vibrant and intense hot pinks. Pink sapphires are colored by traces of chromium. Lower concentrations of chromium create pink sapphires while very high chromium concentrations will create a ruby. If the trace element titanium is included in the crystal structure, the sapphire will have a more purplish pink hue.
Because pink sapphires are rare, gemstones half a carat or more are not cut into calibrated sizes. Instead, each gemstone will be cut to retain as much of the gemstone as possible. A mixed cut will enhance the beauty of the color and retain the weight of the gemstone. Customers will find that the most common shapes are cushions or ovals. Eye-clean, untreated gemstones are available on the market, but the majority of pink sapphires have had their clarity enhanced by heat treatment.
Many of the sapphires from Madagascar are subjected to moderate heat treatments to reduce their purplish secondary colors. Moderate heat treatments are very different from the traditional long duration, high temperature heating of blue and yellow sapphires. Madagascar pink sapphires, on the other hand, are heated at temperatures far lower and are considered more gentle (about 400º C) for only a few hours. This process does not alter the internal characteristics of the gemstone while high heat temperatures will affect the inclusions drastically.