Purple gemstones are a rich, magnificent choice of stones for jewelry. A combination of red and blue, violet straddles the spectrum, being warm and cool at the same time. Purple gems glow with a slightly more prevalent red, and make a cool, yet much more attractive choice of gemstones. Do you know the different types of purple stones used in jewelry? Here is a list of purple, as well as lavender, lilac and violet gemstones, arranged from the most expensive to the more affordable.
- 1 Purple Diamond
- 2 Alexandrite
- 3 Taaffeite
- 4 Purple Garnet
- 5 Purple Opal
- 6 Purple Sapphire
- 7 Purple Tourmaline
- 8 Purple Spinel
- 9 Tanzanite
- 10 Purple Zircon
- 11 Purple Idocrase
- 12 Iolite
- 13 Purple Apatite
- 14 Kunzite
- 15 Purple Scapolite
- 16 Amethyst
- 17 Purple Fluorite
- 18 Sugilite
- 19 Purple Topaz
- 20 Charoite
- 21 Opal Fluorite
- 22 Purple Agate
- 23 Lavender Chalcedony
- 24 Purple Jade
- 25 Purple Jasper
- 26 Purple Lepidolite
While most popular for its white variety, diamond also occurs as violet and purple jewels, which are among the rarest of diamonds. Like the rest of their kind, these violet and purple rocks are the hardest of minerals, and display extraordinary brilliance owing to their high refractive index, making them the most expensive of purple gemstones, with prices of up to $1.5M a carat. Diamond in general is the birthstone for April. In astrology, diamond is the birthstone of the Aries zodiac sign.
Alexandrite is a color-changing gemstone from the mineral chrysoberyl. Beside red or pink, alexandrite can also turn into a purple stone at night under an incandescent light, while appearing green at daytime. A rare mineral, the color-changing gemstone is the most valuable of purple gemstones next to diamond with prices of up to $45,000 per carat. Alexandrite is a traditional birthstone for June.
Beside red, taaffeite is a gemstone that occurs as purple stones. This purple gem is the first and only mineral that was discovered after the stone was cut and faceted. Formerly mistaken to have been a variety of spinel, the purple crystal was identified to be a different mineral by Richard Taaffe, after whom the gemstone was named. The purple stone is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, and is accordingly among the most valuable of purple gemstones at around $6,000 a carat.
While most popular in red, garnet also occurs as purple stones. The purple crystals come from the varieties of garnet called pyrope and spessartine. Blue garnet, the rarest of all garnets, itself turns into a purple stone under an incandescent light. This color-changing garnet is among the most expensive of purple gemstones with prices of up to $3,000 a carat. Garnet in general is the birthstone for January. In astrology, garnet is the birthstone of Aquarius.
While most valuable in black and most common in white, opal also occurs as purple stones. The purple is found mostly in the flash or play of colors found on the body. When cut to include only this play of colors, the opal stone can appear entirely purple. Opal in general is the birthstone for October. In astrology, opal is a birthstone for Libra.
Though most popular in blue, sapphire also occurs as purple stones. This purple jewel comes from the mineral corundum, all varieties of which are called sapphire except for red, which is known as ruby. There also exists a color-change variety of sapphire, which shifts from blue or green outdoor, to a violet stone under an incandescent light indoor. While a traditional birthstone for April, sapphire in general is the modern birthstone for September. In astrology, sapphire is the birthstone of Taurus.
A gemstone found in all the colors of the rainbow, tourmaline also occurs as purple stones. These purple crystals come from the species of tourmaline called elbaite, including the highly valuable Paraiba tourmaline. Though the pink variety was specified, all colored tourmalines are commonly regarded as birthstone for October. In astrology, tourmaline is a birthstone for Leo.
While most popular in red, spinel also occurs as purple stones. Glassy in clarity and luster, this purple stone is pale in intensity, and therefore appears lavender or lilac rather than actually purple. Pegged at 7.5 to 8 in the Mohs scale, the purple crystal is quite hard and durable, making the purple gem very suitable for jewelry.
While also found in blue, tanzanite is most popularly known to occur as purple stones, and is the modern exemplification of purple gemstones. Discovered only in 1967 in Tanzania (hence the name tanzanite), this purple crystal is a variety of zoisite, which is a glassy mineral also found in green and yellow. Tanzanite has become quite a popular purple gem that the relatively new gemstone was designated as modern birthstone for December.
Often made a substitute to diamond, zircon is an excellent gemstone, be it in terms of clarity, luster or hardness. While most popular in blue, zircon also occurs as purple stones. Zircon is a traditional birthstone for December. In astrology, the gemstone is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo.
Idocrase is an alternate name for the mineral vesuvianite. Beside yellow and green, idocrase also occurs as purple stones. This purple crystal gets its color from manganese inclusion. For that reason, the purple stone is separately identified in mineralogy as mangan-vesuvianite.
Beside blue, iolite also occurs as violet stones. In fact, the name iolite comes from the Greek for “violet.” Known in mineralogy as cordierite, this violet gem may be bluish in shade. The violet stone can be glassy in clarity and luster, with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 in the Mohs scale.
Apatite is a group of minerals that make a good source of phosphorous and are accordingly used in the manufacture of fertilizer. While most commonly green, apatite also occurs as purple stones. The purple gemstone is transparent to translucent in clarity, with a glassy luster and a hardness of 5 in the Mohs scale.
Kunzite is the violet variety of spodumene, as hiddenite is the green. Named after the jeweler George Frederick Kunz, the glassy, violet gem is pale in intensity, and therefore comes across as lilac rather than purple. The violet crystal gets its color from the minimal inclusion of manganese into the otherwise colorless mineral.
Scapolite is a group of minerals that also occur as violet stones. The violet crystals of scapolite used in jewelry come from the mineral marialite. The violet gem is transparent with a glassy luster, and a hardness of 6.5 to 7 in the Mohs scale. A rare mineral, marialite is a favorite collector’s stone as well as gemstone.
Amethyst is the classic representation of purple gemstones. Since ancient times, when purple gems are mentioned, amethyst almost always comes to the fore. This purple gemstone is the violet variety of quartz. The purple gem was highly valuable then and was in fact counted among the precious stones, until the 18th century when sizable supply of amethyst was discovered in Brazil, bringing down the value of the purple stone. Beside the purple gemstone, amethyst also has other varieties, including the lavender amethyst and chevron amethyst, which displays bands of white quartz. Amethyst is the birthstone for February. In astrology, the purple crystal is the birthstone of the Pisces zodiac sign.
Found in a multiplicity of colors, colored fluorite most commonly occurs as purple crystals. Many of fluorite varieties are known to exhibit fluorescence, where they glow under ultraviolet light. In fact, the word fluorescent was invented after the gemstone itself. The purple crystal can be very bright and vivid, indeed. However, fluorite is a rather soft mineral, with hardness pegged at 4 in the Mohs scale.
Also known as lavulite, sugilite is a violet to purple gemstone first described in 1944 for an occurrence in Japan. Though mostly found as opaque rock, the purple stone also forms crystals, which are translucent to transparent in clarity. While found in several localities around the world, the purple gem is still relatively rare, and accordingly more expensive than other opaque semi-precious stones.
While most popular in yellow and blue, topaz also occurs as purple stones. A variety of imperial topaz, this purple crystal is a rather rare color of the topaz mineral. Varying from light violet to deep purple, the violet crystal gets its color from the inclusion of chromium into the otherwise colorless mineral. Topaz in general is the gemstone of the zodiac sign Sagittarius.
Charoite is a violet gemstone varying in shade from lavender to purple. The violet stone is translucent in clarity with a pearly luster, and hardness of 5 to 6 in the Mohs scale. Found only in Siberia, this violet gem is rather rare. Sometimes spelled charolite, charoite was named after the Chara River in Russia.
Also known as opalite and Tifanny stone, opal fluorite is a purple gemstone with swirls of lavender and white, earning the gemstone the nickname ice cream opal. This purple rock is composed predominantly of opalized stone, mixed with other minerals like quartz and chalcedony. A rather rare mineral, the purple stone is found only in Utah, USA.
The banded form of chalcedony, agate also occurs with purple bands. Popular varieties of agate known to produce purple stones include Botswana and Brazilian agate. Agate in general is a traditional birthstone for the months of May and June. In astrology, agate is the birthstone of Gemini, whilst also associated with Libra.
Chalcedony is the opaque to translucent variety of quartz. Though the name also applies to onyx, carnelian, agate and other varieties, the trade name chalcedony refers to white and blue chalcedony. When bluish white chalcedony is a shade closer to red, this is called lavender chalcedony. Chalcedony is a traditional birthstone for June. In astrology, the gemstone is associated with the zodiac sign Cancer.
While most popular in green, jade also occurs as purple stones. The violet stones come from the variety of jade called jadeite (the other, chemically unrelated variety being nephrite). This purple stone is rather rare, though still less valuable than the commonly occurring green jadeite. In astrology, jade is a birthstone for Virgo.
While most commonly red, jasper also occurs as purple stones. This semiprecious purple stone is a variety of chalcedony, which is an opaque to translucent form of quartz. Jasper in general is a traditional birthstone for March. In astrology, jasper is associated with the zodiac sign Aries.
Beside yellow and pink, lepidolite is a mineral that occurs as lavender, lilac and purple stones. This violet gemstone is transparent to translucent in clarity and glassy in luster. The weakness of this violet crystal lies in its hardness, which is only 2.5 to 3 in the Mohs scale: rather unsuitable for jewelry.
Purple Gemstones in Jewelry
Do you like to wear purple gems in your ornaments? Purple gemstones make rich, elegant jewelry, cool yet striking at the same time.
Featured image credit: Cut amethyst by Wela49