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What Are Purple Diamonds?

by Clean Origin
Last updated on August 22, 2023

These diamonds are a type of fancy colored diamond with a purple or violet hue. Many people love colorful diamonds for all types of jewelry, as well as for engagement rings. Their noticeable tint makes them so striking, and they are graded differently from colorless diamonds. While colorless diamonds are graded from D to Z, purple diamonds have an adjusted grading scale that considers the variation of color and secondary hues. Unlike other fancy color diamond colors, there are no genuinely famous purple diamonds. Purple diamonds come in an astonishing shade range, spanning pale lilac to deep, almost bluish purple. They also can have secondary hues, meaning they can have a pinkishness or a greyish tint. 

What Do Purple Diamonds Mean?

Purple diamonds, because they are purple or violet, are often connected to ideas of royalty. Purple being the color of many royal families and a color reserved for royalty due to its expense makes many feel it has a sumptuous, luxurious nature. While purple diamonds don’t necessarily hold the same level of status in the diamond world as purple fabrics do in fashion, they retain the same impression. Purple diamonds can also be used to symbolize serenity, courage, and honor.

What is the Origin of Purple Diamonds’ Color?

Purple diamonds originate in a similar way to many fancy color diamonds. They have an impurity in the stone, much like how canary diamonds are yellow due to added nitrogen. While there is not a consensus about precisely what element creates the gorgeous purple hue, large amounts of hydrogen and boron are present in these diamonds. People hypothesize that the interaction of these elements is what gives them their stunning purple shade. Some geologists believe that a purple diamond’s hue is a matter of pressure rather than added elements. The journey to the Earth’s mantle is believed to be the source of the pressure that turns the stone’s color from colorless to purple. So far, the GIA, which grades and certifies Clean Origin’s diamonds, has not released any specific science on how these gems are formed.

How Can You Tell If a Purple Diamond is Real?

Some purple diamonds are not originally purple and are instead irradiated or color-treated to get the purple color. It is best to find untreated diamonds, as they are considered “pure” stones. Lab-grown purple diamonds are not color-treated and are still well within the standards for what constitutes a natural purple diamond. If you are not sure whether a diamond is color-treated or natural, check in with a professional and ask for details from the vendor. It is easy to get ripped off with purple diamonds and can be hard to find out if you’re purchasing a treated piece, even with some reputable vendors. If you’re nervous about the prospect of buying a purple diamond, it may be best to look into pink, blue, or yellow diamonds instead! 

Are Purple Diamonds Natural?

Absolutely! While there are treated purple diamonds, you can find purple diamonds on the Earth naturally as well. They form hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s surface over the course of at least a billion years. The reason for the color of purple diamonds is not well understood yet. Still, the possibilities lie in high amounts of boron and hydrogen or the immense pressure that these diamonds are under when formed. These diamonds are naturally formed, much like other fancy colored diamonds. 

Purple Diamond’s Intensity Levels

Since they have a variation in color and hue, purple diamonds require a different grading scale. The purple diamond grading scale is pretty similar to other fancy color diamond scales. The scale starts at faint with the least richness and saturation of color and ends at fancy vivid/deep/dark with the highest richness and saturation. While deeper colored diamonds can be more valuable, fancy color diamonds across the scale can be expensive, gorgeous statement pieces. Many choose the intensity of their personal preference, usually picking their favorite color, rather than sticking with a pure diamond value perspective.

The GIA grading scale is as follows:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark

What Hues Can Purple Diamonds Have?

Purple diamonds can have a range of secondary hues, much like yellow diamonds. While yellow diamonds can have a sought-after secondary shade of orange, for example, purple diamonds tend to be valued more highly when lacking these secondary hues. The exception to this rule is a pink hue, which people tend to value almost as highly as they due to predominantly pink diamonds. The typical tonal hues in purple diamonds are pink, pinkish, grayish, red, and brown. 

Treated purple diamonds, which are color enhanced through chemical treatments or irradiation, will display a higher saturation and orange fluorescence. While orange-hued yellow diamonds are a well-loved classic, orange fluorescence is seen by the diamond community in a similar way to blue fluorescence in colorless stones. Orange and blue fluorescence are not popular, and they can lower the valuation of your diamond, so it is best to avoid them. If you aren’t sure about your purple diamond, you will likely need to pay an expert for some critical advice so that you get what you’re hoping for. If you don’t want to jump through gemological hoops while shopping, your best bet is to purchase a more easily graded, more highly valued color of fancy color diamonds, such as yellow, blue, or pink. 

Purple Diamond’s Rarity and Prices

Purple diamonds are not as rare as red, pink, or blue diamonds generally, so they are valued lower. A pure purple diamond with no overtones or color treatment is relatively rare and can be highly valued! It is hard to find such stones, so many purchase purple diamonds with overtones of pink or red as a cheaper substitute for the more highly valued pink diamond. While there are plenty of reasons why pink diamonds are often valued higher, purple diamonds remain on the market as an option for those who can not afford the current mined pink diamond prices. 

Pure or predominantly purple diamonds can run an incredible price tag oddly enough, though, as the more true purple they are, the rarer. Few vendors have a stock of pure purple diamonds, so it is best to be skeptical and check with an expert as you shop! The majority of purple diamonds are lighter in color, so vivid and dark graded purple diamonds can get expensive as well. These darker purple rings are often found in smaller carat sizes than other fancy colored diamonds as a reflection of the high price, lack of public interest, and general rarity.

Purple Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

While these setting types are lovely for purple diamonds, they fit great for all fancy color diamonds! Look into: side stone settings, pavé settings, and halo settings. These are all beautiful options that will allow you to get the maximum sparkle out of your colorful stone. It is worthwhile to check in on the color of your stone and compare it against brilliant white and the color of the metal of your setting. This will give you a really full idea of your color scheme and let you decide if it works best for you. 

Side stone settings are often popular with purple diamonds because they help add some carat weight to your ring. Since purple isn’t easy to find in larger carat sizes at really vivid color ratings, it is easiest to add some brilliant white diamonds to your ring so that it has that ‘Wow!’ factor. An example of such a setting type is our Classic 3 Stone Ring which can be set with one or more of our fancy color diamonds! As you can see, the side stones add a lot of extra bling to the piece and frame the center diamond gorgeously.

Pavé settings and halo settings are great compliments to each other, so while we could look at them apart, it is worthwhile to experience their glamour together! The added glimmer of smaller diamonds like pavé diamonds in the band, or pavé diamonds flanking your center jewel in a halo, can make your diamond seem bigger as well as cause more reflective sparkle overall. A great example of their dual glamorous effects is our Pave Set Pear Shape Halo Ring, which has many tiny diamonds to accent the much larger pear center diamond.