Purple has long been a colour associated with royalty, service and wisdom. For centuries, royal families have been tied to the hue, so it comes as no surprise that many of them have taken possession of prized purple diamonds. These precious and beautifully coloured stones feature in several key pieces of royal jewellery and have made quite the impression on collectors and jewellers around the world.
Intrigued by the idea of diamonds with a purple hue? Find out more about these glittering gems…
What Is A Purple Diamond?
All coloured diamonds are the result of certain minerals coming into contact with the gem when it’s forming. During formation, purple diamonds are exposed to natural gases that change their colour composition from clear to a purplish hue.
Natural fancy purple diamonds can vary across the colour spectrum from a very light shade of lavender diamonds, and much deeper shades of purple that include violet diamonds. The deeper the shade, the more valuable the stone is likely to be.
Are There Natural Purple Diamonds?
Purple diamonds are naturally occurring. However, they are quite rare and as a result, quite expensive. Because of this, gemologists and jewellers have discovered an alternative in order to make purple diamonds more accessible. ‘Enhanced’ purple diamonds are stones that have been treated to create this specific hue.
The lab-treated stones are significantly more affordable than the naturally occurring ones, but both options make for a striking addition to any piece of jewellery.
Why Are Purple Diamonds Purple?
In the same way that other diamonds are coloured, natural fancy purple diamonds are likely the result of an impurity’s presence while the diamond formed. It’s believed that large amounts of hydrogen and boron are present within the stone while forming, resulting in a distinct purple shade. The longer the hydrogen and boron are present in the formation phase, the deeper the colour will be.
Some gemologists believe that the pressure endured during the stone’s journey to the mantle of the earth influences the colour of the diamond. The more pressure exerted, the richer the colour.
What Are Purple Diamonds Called?
Purple diamonds range quite significantly in hues and can be classified depending on the depth of their colour. According to the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA), coloured diamonds are graded in order of increasing colour strength. Currently, the categories are:
- Very light
- Fancy light
- Fancy intense
- Fancy vivid
- Fancy deep
- Fancy dark
However, other names adopted for purple diamonds are generally dependent on the jeweller, the region where the diamond is being sold and the marketing behind it. Some of the other names for purple diamonds include:
- Orchid diamonds
- Grape diamonds
- Lavender diamonds
- Violet diamonds
- Plum diamonds
The Meaning Of Purple Diamonds
Purple diamonds are often thought of as an excellent stone for artists, sociologists, philosophers, psychologists and royalty. This is because the colour of the stone has been associated with nobility, wisdom and power for several centuries. Purple diamond engagement rings are thus one of the more popular choices for the upper echelons of society over the ages.
How Much Do Purple Diamonds Cost?
As with most gemstones, the cost of a purple diamond is dependent on a number of different factors.
For one, the depth of the colour plays a huge part in a diamond’s overall cost. The deeper the shade of purple, the more expensive the stone will be. Likewise, whether or not the stone is lab treated or naturally occurring will play a big part in determining the price tag.
Regardless, purple diamonds are rather rare, so they are priced at quite a high margin. For example, a 0.42 carat fancy purple diamond round cut can fetch about US $15 200, while a 0.4 fancy deep purple cushion cut diamond can be priced in the region of US $38 000.
Where Do Purple Diamonds Come From?
Only a few purple diamonds are discovered around the world every year. Some of them have been found in South African mines. Yakutia and Arkhangelsk, two Russian mines, have also produced a small number of purple diamonds.
Australia’s Argyle Mine is one of the world’s only sources of violet diamonds. In fact, most of the world’s diamonds that display a pure violet hue come from Argyle. However, in the entire history of the mine, less than 100 carats of rough violet diamonds have been found, making them exceptionally rare.
Judging The Quality Of Purple Diamonds
The most important factor to consider when judging the quality of purple diamonds is their colour, also referred to as the stone’s saturation or intensity. The darker a natural fancy purple diamond is, the higher the quality. In fact, the overall price per carat jumps significantly between the light and dark colour grades.
However, because of their rarity, stones that have inclusions are still valued at a high price and quality, and are used in purple diamond engagement rings and other jewellery.
Purple Diamond Vs Purple Sapphire Vs Amethyst
There are a number of different purple gemstones available on the market. Sapphires come in three different shades, while amethysts come in deep purple and lavender variations. Purple diamonds come in several different depths.
Amethysts are classed as semi-precious stones, while sapphires and diamonds are classed as precious stones. All three are hard stones and measure high on the Mohr scale. Amethyst is the more affordable purple stone of the three, with sapphire fetching a higher price and purple diamonds fetching the highest of the three due to their rarity.
Famous Rare Purple Diamonds
All purple diamonds are rare, but some of them have caught the attention of famed jewellery and auction houses across the world. The most famous – and rare – of these gems are:
The Purple Orchid
In 2014, the Purple Orchid made its debut at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. It comes from an unnamed South African mine and weighs in at 3.37 carats. It had an asking price of USD 4 million, which translates to USD 1.2 million per carat.
The Spirit of the Rose
The 14.38 carat stone is the most expensive purple-pink diamond to ever sell on auction, according to Sotheby’s. Uncovered at a mine in northeast Russia, it sold for an incredible USD 26.6 million.
The Royal Purple Heart
This massive 7.34 carat perfect heart cut fancy vivid purple diamond is quite mysterious. It is unclear how much it sold for, or who bought it. Many think it to be somewhere in Russia.
The Supreme Purple Star
There isn’t much information about this stone, except for the fact that it first appeared in London in 2002. The diamond’s owner wanted to sell it but believed it to be a different gemstone. Many believe this is due to the fact that its unique combination of purple and red colours was quite misleading, as the phenomenon is incredibly rare.
Why Buy Purple Diamonds?
If you’re a collector, you have plenty of reasons to buy purple diamonds. And if you’re not a collector but simply love rare gems and unique jewellery, there’s just a good reason to get your hands on one! Not only are natural fancy purple diamonds absolutely stunning, but they’re also a good investment. Their rarity can only serve to increase their value over time.
So, whether it’s a purple diamond engagement ring, pendant or earrings, the value of the item may skyrocket in years to come. Their beauty will last forever too!
Love brightly coloured diamonds? Find out more about Yellow Diamonds and Blue Diamonds.