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Probably one of the most loved and purchased colours of gemstones (aside from clear, white gemstones like diamond and white topaz or cubic zirconia’s) are the purple gemstones.
Ranging in colour from delicate violet to deep, dark purple to almost black. The colours are flattering and look wonderful against precious metals like silver and gold.
Amethyst is probably the most well-known purple gemstone, but there are others and, in this article, we will take a look at the most popular purple gemstones used in jewellery.
The Meanings Associated with Purple Gemstones
Whilst each gemstone has its own metaphysical meaning, there is a common theme of psychic awareness, spiritual connection, and intuition.
The colour purple relates to the crown chakra and the third eye – meaning spiritual connection and intuition.
Purple was associated with wealth and power – hence it was used for royalty and ecclesiastical robes and artefacts.
People often use purple crystals as meditation tools.
Amethyst is probably the most well-known and loved purple gemstones. Once as prized as diamonds and sapphires, until large deposits of this gemstone were uncovered in Brazil when it became cheaper and more abundantly used in jewellery.
It is the birthstone for February although purchased all year-round.
Quite a deep purple colour, amethyst is used more in jewellery than black gemstones and goes with any outfit.
Amethyst suits all skin tones and the colour looks very pretty against silver or gold. It is an inexpensive gemstone, fairly abundant and so is a great gemstone to use in jewellery making.
People believed Amethyst to help personal success, help us with our spiritual connection and calm us when we are agitated and lose focus.
Rarely mentioned in lists of purple gemstones, Tanzanite is a blue-violet colour and a beautiful delicate shade of purple.
Tanzanite was named by Tiffany and Co after the fact that the precious gemstone appeared in a very small area of the world, in Tanzania. This stone was only discovered to be gem-quality in the 1960s.
Tanzanite is one of the birthstones for December.
Iolite is a similar delicate violet-purple to tanzanite and it gets its name from the Greek ‘Ios’, meaning “violet”.
It has a Mohs hardness score of 7 to 7.5 and can be slightly brittle so is better suited to earrings or pendants and, if used as a ring, should be worn as a dress ring and not as an everyday ring that may get knocked.
Tourmaline is a hard gemstone and is found in a variety of colours, including purple, so it is, therefore, a good choice in gemstone jewellery. Purple tourmaline ranges in colour from a deep magenta pink to a pink-purple. The ‘Supreme Purple Star’ is the first diamond to have two colours (pleochroism) and is known as the King of All Purple Diamonds.
Diamonds come in all colours but purple diamonds are rare and expensive. Diamond is famously one of the most sought-after and worn of precious gemstones and is the birthstone for April.
Purple diamonds come about when high levels of hydrogen are present in the diamond. They were often named by the variety of the colour of the diamond – for instance, plum diamond, lavender diamond. The Purple Orchid Diamond was one of the largest purple diamonds ever found.
Sapphire, like diamonds and spinel, can occur in a variety of colours depending on the composition. Purple sapphire is probably the least well-known of all the coloured sapphires but is extremely beautiful and rare and should be appreciated more.
With a Mohs hardness measure of 9, sapphire is extremely durable and a perfect choice for everyday wear. Most sapphires are heat-treated these days, although purple sapphire often has such a rich natural depth of colour that it isn’t needed – making it even more desirable!
Sapphire is the birthstone for September.
Spinel, like tourmaline, is a popular and exquisite gemstone that comes in a variety of colours, including purple. Spinel is a hard stone, scoring 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, and so a great choice of gemstone for jewellery making.
Spinel is translucent and has a lovely, even purple colour. Spinel is one of the three birthstones for August.
Flourite is a purple semi-precious gemstone that is rarely used in jewellery but is more popularly used for crystal tumble stones to carry and is popular with those who use it for spiritual connection. This semi-precious gemstone is found abundantly around the world and is therefore relatively inexpensive.
It scores only 4 on the Moh’s hardness scale and so is not ideal to wear every day.
Flourite has a lovely purple colour and, as its name implies, is fluorescent under ultra-violet light.
This little-known form of fluorite is a purple gemstone in a blue-purple colour and is called Blue John, appears naturally in only Derbyshire, England and many beautiful pieces of jewellery are made from it.
Only discovered in 1944, this purple gemstone is named after its founder Ken-ichi Sugi. It is a lovely purple colour and unevenly coloured. It can be opaque or transparent and therefore, every stone is different.
It isn’t a strong or hard gemstone and is consequently not used in jewellery making as much as a stone to carry and hold and keep near you.
Agate, like tourmaline, naturally comes in many colours and purple agate is a beautiful variety. It is sometimes heat-treated, to enhance its colours. It can be veined, often with white.
It is relatively hard and doesn’t “cleave “(split along a natural line, especially if knocked) and so is a great choice of gemstone to be used in jewellery making.
A very light pink-purple, kunzite is opaque and often large pieces of this gemstone are discovered making it ideal for large, statement necklaces or bracelets. With a Moh’s grade of 6 to 7 is can be used for most items of jewellery but rings should be worn with care.
Kunzite has the property of pleochroism meaning it has the ability to display two colours within it. With Kunzite, the colours are often purple and pink.