Gemstone Guide: The Best Purple Gemstones Used in Jewelry
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Gemstones may be prized for their beauty, but they are steeped in symbolic meaning. Purple gemstones are said to bring “clarity of thoughts” and help to create balance. The color purple is associated with royalty, luxury, power, and ambition.
But purple gemstones, depending on their hue, can exude a variety of sentiments, with everything from grace and spirituality to imagination. Long hailed as one of the most opulent and beautiful colors, purple gemstones used in jewelry are popular for occasions as casual as everyday wear to elegant affairs and even bridal accessories.
But if you or someone in your bridal party is considering incorporating purple in your look, you can’t just settle on any gemstone. Here’s our easy guide to the best purple gemstones: we’ll cover different types, price points, and colors to make sure you find your perfect fit.
Why should I consider a purple gemstone?
Purple is a versatile color, in that it is complementary with shades of yellow, but also looks lovely with blues,whites, and neturals.
Purple, depending on the shade, can be used year round. In the spring, lighter hues, like lilac, periwinkle, and violet would be fitting for an outdoor wedding, whether a tented affair or a garden themed event. In the cooler months, richer hues, like plum, eggplant and wine look beautiful, especially at a black tie affair.
But even if you don’t opt for bridal party attire in purple, a touch of purple in the form of gemstones can make yellows and whites pop; it can also add either a fun or sophisticated touch to your current look.
Or you can all out and bring out different shades of purple: one of the most popular wedding color combinations for 2018 was lavender and lilac. A deeper purple gemstone necklace or bracelet could really make those colors pop. Purple can be refined, sophisticated, or fun and flirty–and as such a popular color, you’ll have your choice of gemstones and accessories to choose from.
How can I incorporate purple gemstones in my wedding?
Purple gemstones make lovely choices for statement necklaces, but also bracelets, earrings, and even hair accessories like clips. The key is not to overdo it–you want a central point of focus, and for the beauty of the gemstones themselves to shine. So if you do pick a purple gemstone look, opt for one piece, two at the most.
Another great idea is to let bridesmaids decide how to incorporate the gemstone look. That can give them the option to show off their personal style and tastes, but still look unified. Much like the trend of wearing different bridesmaid dresses or styles, it’s a way for everyone to feel included but also still look like part of the party. The key is to stick with one shade of purple, and a type of gemstone. And if you are insisting on having the bridesmaids wear jewelry, it’s most polite to offer to pay for it.
If you’re the bride yourself, however, then it’s all up to you! A purple gemstone necklace adds just the right touch of color to a white or ivory gown. A purple gemstone tiara or hair clip, if you manage to find it, can prove just the right addition to an elegant updo. A bracelet is also a nice option if your bridal gown is either sleeveless or has capped sleeves.
Maybe one of the most popular options is for a purple gemstone engagement or wedding ring. Often coupled with diamonds or other precious stones but not always, a purple gemstone ring can make a beautiful statement that stands out from the traditional diamond look.
No matter how you do it, purple gemstones can be a beautiful choice for jewelry.
What are some shades of purple I should consider for my wedding and my jewelry?
Purple, as we’ve said, comes in some gorgeous hues all with different meanings and with different styles. Keep in mind that natural gemstones do not come in all of these shades (we will discuss this next) but these are shades you can incorporate into your general wedding, and ones that will complement nearly any purple gemstone jewelry:
- Lilac, Lavender, and Periwinkle: These lighter hues are the equivalent of the blush pink hue, in that you get a hint of purple without it being too overwhelming. Perfect for spring affairs, they are a natural match for outdoor weddings, but also more laid back receptions, like a brunch or early appetizers. These beautiful hues pair naturally with silver and blues.
- Eggplant, Wine and Raisin: Fall and Winter weddings, but also black tie events play well with these deeper colors. Eggplant is nearly black in hue and exudes a dramatic look, like wine has a touch of red. Evening and night ceremonies are best for these colors. Just make sure you add something to brighten it up a little-a paler purple gemstone necklace would be perfect.
- Sangria, Mulberry, Boysenberry: Medium tone purples with a splash of pink add a warm, but still sophisticated look. These colors would work for both day and evening weddings and can be used year round.
- Orchid and Amethyst: These shades come from different flowers, but they are generally thought of as light, but bright tones. These are fun for modern and more laid back weddings, but can also be made more elegant and formal with deep purple gemstone jewelry
What gemstones are naturally purple? And which are the best ones for jewelry?
Amethyst are considered the most popular purple gemstones and they are also quite common. The amethyst is actually a variation of quartz. Beds, tumbled stones, cabochons, and faceted stones are the most commonly produced. Because it had a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, it does not easily break or chip, making it very prized for durable jewelry. Another reason it’s popular is because the hues vary greatly: there is very dark almost plum purple to light lilac.
How to Select: While amethyst remains one of your best choices, it also tends to be mass produced. Lighter hues tend to be the most popular, and of lower quality, amethyst with hints of reddish tones tends to be used in higher end jewelry. While you may not care how valuable it is, keep in mind that higher end jewelry will last longer. Go for a little bit more expensive for the best quality, and steer away from mass produced, lighter hues.
Charoite gemstones are usually lilac, violet, or lavender, though shades do vary in level of lightness. Many actually have a marbled look and are known for their distinct swirls and patterns. The lighter hues are also a beautiful look with added interest. On the Mohs hardness scale, this gemstone ranks at a five to six, slightly softer than Amethyst but still not very easily damaged. It does tend to be pretty rare.
How to Select: Chaorite, as we mentioned, should have a marbled or swirled appearance. Black, white and silver hues should be visible; if not, than it is not authentic. Since this is a less popular gemstone, you’re less likely to run amidst mass produced varieties.
It may surprise you to discover that in fact, purple sapphires are natural. If you like the aesthetic of a sapphire but are longing for a purple hue, there’s an option available. However, purple sapphires are also very rare. They are known to be exceptionally beautiful, changing color as light reflects off of them and creating a stunning, dazzling effect. And unlike other gemstones, they do not usually need any form of heat treatment to retain their brilliance. Sapphires rank at a nine out of ten on the Mohs hardness scale, making them softer only as compared to diamonds.
How to Select: Purple Sapphires are expensive-there is no other way around it. Make sure you ask where the sapphire has been sourced and you can have proof of its authenticity.
Our final choice for best gemstones for jewelry is the spinel, a gemstone who may not have heard of before. Spinel in of itself is colorless, but impurities give it different colors. In fact, in comes in shades as diverse as white, black, pink, blue, yellow, brown and orange, in addition to purple. These gemstones are usually transparent in color and resemble a ruby. On the Mohs hardness scale, they are given a seven and a half to eight rating.
How to Select: Make sure that the gemstone is nearly transparent and has little to no cleaving. It should resemble a ruby and may contain minor imperfections.
Chalcedony is another form of quartz that comes in an array of colors, from white to red, green, blue, purple, and many other hues. Most of the time, it has a distinctive white streak, and impurities are rare. It has a hardness of seven on the Mohs Scale and tends to be medium lilac, though it can be slightly darker or lighter. Unlike other gemstones, it is not transparent but tends have a cloudier, more solid color look.
How to Select: Since impurities are rare, look for something that is mostly uniform; the only thing that should not be is the signature white streak common in chalcedony.
Jasper itself is actually technically a variety of chalcedony and can also be red in appearance. Unlike some of the others we have mentioned, this gemstone happens to be fairly ubiquitous and thus is usually easy to find and a little more affordable. Patterns and matrices designs add interest. Usually, jasper is clear by nature; it also has a seven out of ten rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it a fairly durable choice. Purple jasper tends to have bolder blue or pink undertones, and is less of a ‘pure’ purple.
How to Select: Look for a textured appearance and usually no faceted surfaces. The gemstone should anywhere from opaque to translucent and have a prominent pinkish or blue undertone. Since it’s more common, you also will not have as high of a price point as with other gemstones.
Alexandrite is not exactly technically purple–it has the unusual hue of changing under sunlight, although different treatments impact the prominent hue. This is actually not a natural gemstone, but one that is lab grown, making for an affordable and more uniform option. It’s developed from the mineral chrysoberyl and is bluish green in daylight but turns purplish red during the evening–so this may not be the best option if you want your signature piece to always look purple, but it is a fascinating way to change your look without changing a thing. It’s usually ranked at about a seven and a half on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
How to Select: Since it’s man made, there should not be imperfections present. You won’t have to worry about origin or sourcing as you would with natural gemstones. You also should not pay too hefty of a price for the gemstone itself.
Ametrine is a very unique and lovely gemstone if you happen to like the colors purple and yellow. Also known as trystine, ametrine is actually a naturally occuring form of quartz, with a mixture of both citrine and amethyst. Purple, yellow, and sometimes orange, this gemstone is certainly different from the rest on our list. The different colors are actually a result of oxidation levels, so there can be a bit of variety in terms of how much yellow and purple present.
How to Select: Ametrine is supposed to look uneven in color, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for tons of imperfections. Depending on what you’re going for, you can find this gemstone in varieties that have more or less yellow and purple tones.
Iolite is another gemstone you may not have heard of before, but it’s still a great choice for fine jewelry. Since it is more commonly available, it tends to be a more affordable option and is known for its overly brilliance and bluish undertones. Unlike some of the gemstones we have already mentioned, it does have a cleave, which makes it easier to chip or break, although it has a hardness rating of about seven. It has some of the shine (but not to the level of ) a diamond and tends to be clear.
How to Select: Make sure that the cleave does not leave it too vulnerable to cracking or chipping and look for an overall uniform appearance. The purple should have a distinct blue undertone.
Purple Tourmaline is a good option if you’re looking for a gemstone that is both durable and dramatic in hue. Purple tourmaline tends to be richer and darker, matching an eggplant or deep plum tone and can make quite a statement. It is considered to be brilliant, but deeper in color than in shine. It does look different under different lighting. It’s rated a seven to a seven and a half on a Mohs Hardness Scale.
How to Select: Tourmaline should be dark in nature and more solid color than high shine. It should have minimum imperfections, although some are possible because it is a natural gemstone.
Kunzite comes in both purple and pink gemstone varieties, and comes from the mineral Spodumene and is transparent. While there is also yellow and colorless varieties, the most common are the pink and lilac hues. It’s a slightly softer stone, ranked from a six and a half to seven rating on the Mohs Scale, but still considered fairly durable. It gets lighter and more saturated in color under sunlight.
How to Select: Since this gemstone is known for its more distinct cleaving, you do need to make sure there aren’t any additional cracks that could cause problems later down on. Look for shades that are lilac to lavender, and keep in mind the the tone will change under different lighting.
No matter what purple gemstones you select for your wedding or formal occasion, make sure to research and comparison shop. With precious gemstones, you want to get, if possible, information about origin, sourcing, and also have a sense of any imperfections that might exist. Purple can make a beautiful option for any wedding, as long as you incorporate it with taste.