List of 12 Top Purple Gemstones Used in Jewellery – Kaleidogems

Although purple has been a colour used in jewellery since ancient times, there aren’t many purple gemstones. Compared to other colours such as blue, red and green that have hundreds of gemstone varieties to choose from, the number of purple gemstones is quite small.

Purple is often connected to royalty and nobility, power and wealth. It is a luxurious colour and depicts prestige and class. Purple jewellery adds a touch of sophistication and elegance and is an eye-catching colour.

There are many varieties of purple including violet, lilac, lavender, mauve, mulberry and wine. To help you choose your stone and shade, here are our top 12 purple gemstones for jewellery.

1. Purple Diamonds

Features:

  • An exclusive gemstone
  • Extremely rare
  • Very expensive
  • Synthetic and enhanced varieties available

Purple diamonds are created when there is a high amount of hydrogen present during the diamond’s formation. These spectacular stones are very rare and expensive, especially if the stone is vivid and saturated in colour. However, enhanced or synthetic alternatives are relatively much more affordable.  Purple diamonds are known by a variety of nicknames, including Lilac, Orchid, Lavender, Grape and Plum Diamonds which describe the colour of the stone. High quality purple diamonds are generally sought after by collectors and diamond enthusiasts or those with a penchant for exclusive jewellery.

  1. Amethyst

Features:

  • Most popular purple stone
  • Abundantly found
  • Affordable
  • Good hardness
  • Not very tough

Amethysts are the most well-known purple gemstones.  In the past, amethysts were considered a cardinal gemstone (gemstones considered precious above all others) and on equal par with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. However, when large deposits were found in Brazil, the value of amethysts dropped making it an affordable gemstone that suits almost all budgets.

Amethysts come in all shades of purple, with those displaying the deepest purple hues considered the best. Amethysts are durable enough for use in all types of jewellery (7 Mohs) but requires reasonable care to maintain its lustre and colour. They can easily get scratched and due to their brittleness, can chip or crack when exposed to rough wear. The colour of amethysts can also fade if exposed to direct light for too long. However, if maintained well, amethyst jewellery can last a lifetime.

  1. Purple Chalcedony

Features:

  • Quite durable
  • Vitreous – waxy lustre
  • Relatively affordable

Purple chalcedony comes in beautiful shades of purple from a light lilac to dark purple. Purple chalcedony is usually translucent to opaque, with a vitreous to waxy lustre. It has a very appealing look with a rich natural colour.

Chalcedony has a microcrystalline structure without crystal formations within it. As a result, it is compact, contains no cleavage and is very durable. Purple chalcedony is a tough stone with medium hardness (6.5 to 7 Mohs). Most chalcedony is cut en cabochon or used in beautiful carvings and engravings. However, sometimes these stones are faceted to add more depth and light play to the piece of jewellery. Chalcedony jewellery is ideal for bohemian and ethnic jewellery designs.

  1. Purple Spinel

Features:

  • Very durable
  • Somewhat rare
  • Relatively affordable
  • Very brilliant

Purple spinel comes in a variety of shades, with lilac and mauve considered more attractive. However, it is not as valuable or sought-after as red and blue spinel. Purple spinel is relatively affordable and a durable gemstone (Mohs 8) suited for every day wear. It is a brilliant gemstone and due to this fact, is often cut into faceted gemstone shapes to enhance the brilliance. Purple spinel has been synthesized but it is rarely enhanced or treated, meaning that the colour you see in a purple spinel stone is likely to be natural.

  1. Iolite

Features:

  • Popular
  • Very abundant
  • Not expensive
  • Good brilliance
  • Not highly durable

Although iolites are highly sought-after gemstones, they are quite stunning and can rival the beauty of more expensive blue stones such as sapphire or tanzanite. It is a highly brilliant stone that occurs in blue-purple shades, but due to its abundance, it is not highly valued. Iolite has distinct cleavage making it susceptible to chipping or cracking if struck with force. However, it has fairly good hardness (7 to 7.5 Mohs) and can be used in almost all types of jewellery. When mounted in rings, it is best to set iolite in protective settings such as bezel or halo. Beautifully faceted iolite sparkles with eye-catching brilliance. Iolite is perfect for jewellery where it is able to catch light, such as on a ring or in dangling earrings.

  1. Purple Jade

Features:

  • Fair hardness
  • Very tough
  • Comes in two varieties
  • Waxy lustre

Most people think of green when they say the word jade, but jade occurs in a range of colours, including beautiful purple shades. There are two varieties of jade: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is more abundant and less expensive, while jadeite is considered of better quality and is pricier.

Purple jade is fairly soft (6 Mohs) but is very tough due to its compact composition. Purple jade is found in translucent to opaque varieties and has a smooth, waxy lustre. Most jade is often cut into cabochons or various special smooth cuts or carved. Faceting jade is less common but can give the gemstone added depth.

  1. Purple Sapphire

Features:

  • Uncommon sapphire colour
  • Often untreated
  • Excellent durability
  • Quite rare

Say sapphire and we think of a vivid blue gemstone. But there is such a thing as purple sapphire which is rarer and as beautiful as its blue counterparts. This colour occurs traces of elements such as chromium is present during the sapphire’s formation. Many people sometimes confuse purple sapphires for amethysts, but purple sapphires are a more durable and hard (Mohs 9) gemstone, second only to diamonds but with better toughness. They are extremely resistant to breakage and chipping.

While most other sapphires on the market are heat treated to enhance colour and clarity, purple sapphires are generally not treated because they have very good natural colouring. Because of their brilliance and durability, these sapphires are an excellent choice if you want a purple gemstone for an everyday piece of jewellery, such as an engagement ring.

  1. Purple Fluorite

Features:

  • Low durability
  • Very rare
  • Vitreous lustre
  • Often transparent

Fluorite is a very popular variety of gemstones among collectors but is not commonly used in jewellery due to its low durability. The quintessential fluorite colour is purple, but it occurs in every colour imaginable. While most purple fluorite occurs in a single colour, there is a purple and white banded variety known as Blue John.

High quality purple fluorite should have very good transparency and be eye-clean. Fluorite has a beautiful vitreous lustre and can be cut into most standard gemstone shapes. However, fluorite is very soft (Mohs 4) and has distinct cleavage. It is not suitable for most types of jewellery, especially those that are likely to have high exposure. However, it can be used in jewellery such as pendants and earrings.

  1. Purple Kunzite

Features:

  • Exhibits pleochroism
  • Good clarity
  • Light to vivid hues
  • Affordable
  • Distinct cleavage

Kunzite is little-known beautiful gemstone that occurs in pink to purple shades. The gem was first discovered in the USA but today most kunzite comes from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most purple kunzite is quite light in colour but some stones can have a vivid and intense hue. Kunzite can also exhibit pleochroism, which refers to its ability to exhibit two colours at the same time depending on the angle it is viewed from. Typically, the two colours are pink and purple or colourless. Kunzite is also generally free of inclusions and has very good transparency. You can find kunzite in a range of fancy shapes, although smooth polished cabochons are also common.

Most kunzite on the market is free of treatments or enhancements. Kunzite is a fairly durable stone (6.5 to 7 Mohs) can be used for most types of jewellery. However, as it has very distinct cleavage, it is prone to breakage and needs to be protected from impact and blows. Kunzite remains a very affordable stone and because it is found in large sizes, it is perfect for large statement jewellery.

10. Purple Tourmaline

Features:

  • Not a popular tourmaline colour
  • Very good durability
  • Vitreous lustre
  • Brilliant

Purple tourmaline is not the most popular tourmaline colour but is beautiful when set in jewellery. They come in a range of purple shades and can be quite affordable. All coloured tourmaline exhibits some form of pleochroism. This makes tourmaline a dynamic and vibrant gemstone for jewellery, especially when viewed from different angles under lights.

Most purple tourmalines are faceted to enhance the stone’s brilliance and pleochroism (if noticeable). Purple tourmaline has good durability (7 to 7.5 Mohs) and with reasonable care can last a very long time.  Heat treatment is commonly carried out on tourmalines to enhance their colour, however, your vendor should let you know if such treatments have been done on your stone.

11. Sugilite

Features:

  • Very rare
  • Uncommon in jewellery
  • Opaque to translucent clarity
  • Contains patterns, patches and veins
  • Medium durability

Sugilite was initially discovered in Japan and is categorized as a rare gemstone. Small deposits of sugilite have been found in other regions but these are not abundant. As a result, it is not a mainstream gemstone and there aren’t many options when it comes to sugilite jewellery.

Sugilite is found from faint pink-purple varieties to dark blue-purple. However, the most valuable and sought-after sugilite colour is an evenly saturated vivid purple hue. Sugilite is often opaque to translucent and most contain dark veins or patches that form interesting patterns on its surface.  It is commonly cut en cabochon or carved into intricate and beautiful designs, although translucent sugilite can be faceted for added depth and light play. Sugilite is rarely enhanced or treated. It is not a very durable gemstone (5.5 to 6.5 Mohs) and can easily get damaged.

12. Purple Jasper

Features:

  • Commonly found
  • Opaque to translucent clarity
  • Contains patterns, matrix and veins
  • Medium hardness
  • Very tough

Jasper is commonly red, but it can also be found in purple shades. It is a variety of chalcedony, a type of quartz. Jasper often has interesting matrix inclusions and patterns that add character to the stone and are quite desirable. Most jasper is translucent to opaque in clarity and is often cut en cabochon or carved. Jasper is rarely faceted.

With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale and very good toughness due to its compact nature, jasper jewellery can last a very long time without damage. As it is relatively affordable, it is an ideal gemstone for costume jewellery and statement pieces.

Some other purple gemstones

Here are some purple gemstones that we have not included in our list of top 12 purple gemstones.

  • Charoite– This gemstone varies in colour from lilac to deep purple. It is a somewhat soft, translucent gemstone that is found only in Siberia and is quite rare.
  • Purple Agate – Agate can be found in all colours in banded and single colour varieties. Purple agate typically comes from Botswana and Brazil.
  • Purple Lepidolite – This beautiful gemstone has a vitreous lustre and is transparent to translucent in clarity. However it is very soft (2.5 to 33 Mohs) and not very suitable for jewellery.
  • Purple Scapolite – Transparent with a vitreous lustre, scapolite is a sparkly gemstone with medium hardness. It is quite a rare gemstone and is sought-after by collector’s and mineral enthusiasts.

Purple Gemstones and Metals

Purple gemstones go well with all metal colours, which is a factor that determines the style of the jewellery. For example, white metals such as platinum, silver or white gold give a contemporary look to purple gemstones, making them stand out in contrast. An amethyst in a white gold setting, for example, appears prominent and to full advantage.

Rose and yellow gold settings offer a unique, vintage look when combined with purple gemstones. These are more classical in appearance and are not very commonly chosen combinations.

Symbolism of Purple in Jewellery

Purple is a combination of red and blue, which are the warmest and coolest colours. As such, it combines the fierce energy of red with the calming, soothing vibes of blue for a balancing, harmonious feel.

Purple has been connected to royalty and the upper echelons since ancient times, with history stating that Queen Elizabeth the First only allowing members of the royal family to wear it. It is also a rare colour in nature, giving purple gemstones that extra allure.

Ancient history of gemstones….

Treasured Gems

People have treasured gems for many reasons throughout history. Some of these reasons include the use of gems as beautiful decorative ornaments, religious symbols, and amulets and good-luck charms. Gems have also been used for barter and medicinal purposes. Gems have even been used as investments by some people. For others, gems have been used to display wealth, status, and power.

In centuries past, royalty often owned the finest gems. Some of these gems still exist, and their histories are a fascinating mix of fact and legend. Take, for example, the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Timur Ruby. Both are set in the Imperial Crown of the British crown jewels.

In 1367, England’s Prince Edward, who was known as the Black Prince, helped a Spanish king win a battle. The grateful king gave him a dark red, irregular gemstone. Legend says King Henry V wore the gem in his helmet crown, and that it saved his life by deflecting a blow in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The 361-carat Timur Ruby is another striking dark red gem. It was among the treasures brought from India to England in 1850. In the 1300’s, the gem belonged to Timur Lenk and took his name. He is better known in history as Tamerlane, the Islamic conqueror of much of central Asia and eastern Europe. Names and dates carved on the gem show that it later belonged to five Indian rulers. One of them was Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal.

Gem Lore

Gem lore is full of stories of gemstones with magic and symbolic properties. Ancient peoples believed that certain gems would protect them from misfortune, illness, and unhappiness. The list of gem-related superstitions is long and sometimes contradictory. Opal, for instance, was thought by some to bring bad luck, while others cherished it as a symbol of hope.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, and even more recently in India, pharmacists sold powdered gems as medicine. They were typically to be taken with water or herbal tea. The most expensive gemstones were thought to have the greatest curative powers. Red gems were supposed to help stop bleeding. Green ones were supposed to help the eyes, because green is a restful colour. Yellow stones were believed to cure jaundice.

The number twelve is common in gem lore. Twelve gems that represented the twelve tribes of Israel were set in the breastplate of Aaron, the first high priest of the Hebrews. Among Christians, symbolic gems represented the twelve apostles.

The Twelve Tribes The Twelve Apostles

Levi, garnet Peter, jasper

Zebulon, diamond Andrew, sapphire

Gad, amethyst James, chalcedony

Benjamin, jasper John, emerald

Simeon, chrysolite Philip, sardonyx

Issachar, sapphire Bartholomew, sard

Naphtali, agate Matthew, chrysolite

Joseph, onyx Thomas, beryl

Reuben, sard James the Less, topaz

Judah, emerald Judy, chrysolprase

Dan, topaz Simon, hyacinth

Asher, beryl Judas, amethyst

Gems have also inspired many myths. One such example is the legendary creation of the gemstone amethyst. Bacchus, the god of wine and conviviality, was angry because of some slight against him and swore revenge. He announced that the first mortal to come across his path would be eaten by tigers. Just at that moment along came the lovely maiden Amethyst, on her way to worship at the shrine of the goddess Diana. Diana saw what was happening and transformed Amethyst into stone to rescue her from a violent death. When Bacchus viewed the miracle, he repented and poured wine over the stone, staining it purple. In addition, gems have long been associated with the signs of the zodiac and with the sun, moon, and planets.

Signs of the Zodiac

Aries the ram, bloodstone

Taurus the bull, sapphire

Gemini the twins, agate

Cancer the crab, emerald

Leo the lion, onyx

Virgo the virgin, carnelian

Libra the scales, chrysolite

Scorpio the scorpion, aquamarine

Sagittarius the archer, topaz

Capricorn the goat, ruby

Aquarius the water bearer, garnet

Pisces the fishes, amethyst

Lastly, legend has it that the devil created coloured gems. He saw how much people loved coloured flowers, so he coloured gems to gain power and control over mankind. The facts, however, are less fanciful.

Contemporary History

Most gemstones are minerals or rocks and occur in favored sites in the earth’s crust or in the gravels that result from the weathering of rocks. Of the beautifully gemstonelized minerals that seem useful for gems, only a very few actually meet the standards, that is, are sufficiently beautiful, durable, rare, and large enough to be cut into salable stones. As a class of natural objects, gemstones are exceedingly rare.

About one hundred chemical elements make up the earth. Oxygen and silicon are by far the most plentiful elements in the earth’s crust, and they occur in most minerals. In gemstones, they are major ingredients in amethyst, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, peridot, topaz, tourmaline, and zircon. Oxygen is a major ingredient in ruby, sapphire, chrysoberyl, and spinel.

As a mineral forms, certain atoms attract each other and arrange themselves in an orderly geometric pattern called the gemstone structure. All mineral gemstones have their atoms arranged in some combination of fourteen basic patterns.

Minerals usually occur as gemstoneline grains in rocks. Because the grains compete with neighbouring ones for very limited space, there usually isn’t room for complete gemstone shapes to form. Time is another important factor in gemstone growth. When molten rock cools quickly, natural glass or tiny gemstones form. Slower cooling time gives larger gemstones time to grow.

Large gemstones may form whenever conditions are right. They may grow slowly into open spaces in cracks or hollows in the rocks. Occasionally, nearly perfect gemstones are found. A mineral’s internal atomic structure determines its distinctive exterior gemstone shape. Gemstone shape often helps identify and distinguish gem minerals from one another.

Today, many gems can be creates in laboratories. Synthetic gems have the same chemical composition and physical properties as naturally formed gemstones. A simulated gem may look like a natural gem, but there the similarity ends.

 

 

 

Interesting Facts about gemstones

Historical Uses

-The healing uses of gemstones are documented as far back as 1500 B.C. in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt. This Egyptian medicinal text documented the many ways in which gemstones were used for healing.

-The ancient Egyptians strongly believed in the healing and protective power of gemstones. Many pharaohs wore gemstones on their headdresses and many gemstone amulets have been found in their tombs. The pharaohs often had their masks lined with gemstones in the belief that gemstones helped them be better rulers. Many objects of Amazonite and Lapis were found in King Tut’s tomb and Amazonite was one of the stones on his famous gold mask.

-Gemstones are also used for healing in Chinese Medicine, which dates back to at least 5000 years. Gemstone needles are also often used in modern day Chinese acupuncture and in Pranic Healing.

-Gemstones have also been recognized for healing by Tibetan Buddhists and the Ayurvedic healing system for hundreds of years. The use of gemstones is popular in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

-The Vedas, sacred texts in Hinduism that are over 5,000 years old, thoroughly discuss the power of gemstones and their uses for healing. The Vedas prescribe specific gemstones for certain ailments and describe the properties and powers of different gemstones. For example, in the Vedas it is written that Emeralds bring good luck and well-being.

-Gemstones are referred to over 200 times in the Bible.

-As an example, in the Old Testament, the High Priests were required to dress in “holy garments,” which were centred around the Breastplate of the High Priests. God instructed Moses to build the Breastplate of the High Priests and gave him step by step directions as to the twelve gemstones he was to include on the Breastplate.

-In the New Testament, God’s heavenly city, New Jerusalem, is said to be built on foundations of gemstones. “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.”

-In 1150, Saint Hildegard wrote two medical treatises where she documented the healing properties of gemstones and their uses. She described how the vibrational energy in gemstones strengthened the weak and healed illnesses. Saint Hildegard was highly regarded for her many accomplishments. In the 1100’s she wrote poems, books on medicine and theology, plays, and composed music, on top of being a nun, physician, orator, scientist, preacher, consultant to popes and kings, and a philosopher. She also founded two monasteries. These accomplishments would be amazing for a woman today, let alone a woman living in the 1100s.

-In Muslim culture, using the power of gemstones has also been very popular. The Muslim prophet, Muhammad, himself wore a Carnelian ring and it was believed by many that wearing a Carnelian ring guaranteed Allah granting all your desires, which made Carnelian a very popular gemstone amongst Muslims.

-Excerpt from Jameel Kermalli’s book, “Islam: The Absolute Truth”:
“In Islam, a tradition states that Ali used to wear four rings on his hand – Opal (Yaqut) for beauty and dignity; Turquoise (Feruz) for obtaining divine help and victory; Hadid Thin for strength, and Carnelian (Aqiq) to protect himself from enemies and all types of misfortunes. The religion Islam has strongly recommended its followers to wear rings made from different stones, as a way to increase faith, piety, and endurance. The stones of Aqiq, Feruz and so forth have been specifically recommended by the Prophet (S) himself to wear them at all times, and especially during prayer. Stones have unlimited practical and medicinal properties.

….’Aqiq protects Shia from unjust rulers and from everything else, which causes fear.’ (Amali of Tusi – Volume 1, Page 36)

This means that the stone recognizes a Shia of Ali and produces strong energy fields that block adulterated nearby sources of energy. This is why Muslims have been advised to keep their rings in one place at all times when they are not wearing the stones – this way the energy that is absorbed and released from such stones surround themselves within the stone.”

-The use of gemstones for healing was very popular amongst indigenous tribes across the world.

-The Mayans used the power of gemstones for healing on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. They also used gemstones to diagnose diseases.

-The Incas also used gemstones for their power and healing. They particularly regarded the Emerald as a very powerful, holy stone and it is said that many Incas chose to die rather than give the conquerors the location of their Emerald mines.

-The medicine men in many Native American tribes and indigenous tribes in Australia also used (and still use) gemstones to diagnose illnesses, as well as to heal people.

-“For the Middle Ages and even into the 17th century, the talismanic values of precious stones were believed in by high and low, by princes and peasants, by the learned as well as the ignorant.” (George Frederick Kunz, in his book “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones”)

Random History Tidbits on Specific Gemstones:

– Tibetan monks considered quartz gemstone spheres to be holy objects of great powers.

-Taoists called quartz the “gem of enlightenment.”

-In Japan, quartz gemstone spheres were considered to represent the heart of dragons and in Japanese culture, dragons symbolize power and wisdom.

-Cleopatra’s favourite piece of jewellery was said to be an Amethyst ring, engraved with the figure of the Persian Sun god, Mithras. Since she seduced two powerful Roman generals, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar, it was believed by Roman wives that wearing Amethyst would ensure the devotion and faithfulness of their husbands.

-St. Valentine was said to wear an Amethyst ring carved with a picture of Cupid.

-Alexander the Great was said to wear a large Emerald during battles to ensure victory.

-The Moguls of India, including Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal), took Emeralds, inscribed them with sacred text and wore them as talismans.

-In Buddhism, the Medicine Buddha is called “Healing Master of Lapis Lazuli Radiance,” and rituals involving the Medicine Buddha include meditating on Lapis Lazuli.

– The ancient Sumerians valued Lapis as the most sacred stone. The ancient Sumerian Priests had a popular saying, “He who carries with him into battle an amulet of Lapis carries with him the presence of his God.”