Purple Diamond: A Buying Guide

Natural Fancy Purple Diamonds

Natural fancy purple diamonds with pure color are nearly as rare as natural pure fancy red diamonds. Unlike other prominent fancy colors, fancy purple diamonds are seldom found in sizes that exceed 5.00 carats. It is much more common for purple diamonds to weigh in on the smaller end, typically tipping the scales at no more than 2.00 carats, but generally much less. More often than not, purple diamonds are found paired with secondary color modifiers, underscoring the absolute rarity of pure purple diamonds and their related market value.

Purple Color Diamonds

Purple color diamonds.

Pure fancy purple diamonds are very rare and hard to find. These colored diamonds are divided into two main categories: violet diamonds, which lean towards the Blue and Gray spectrum; and purple diamonds, whose hues are Reddish Pink.

Purple Diamond Color

Fancy purple diamonds obtain their color by the same process that pink and red diamonds experience: post-growth plastic deformation, or mutation of the atomic lattice, that likely unfolded as the diamonds made their way from the depths of the earth to its exterior. However, the precise composition of the defects that give purple diamonds their distinct color is still not entirely clear.

A distinguishing characteristic of natural purple diamonds is the pronounced presence of parallel deformation lamellae, or graining, where the purple coloration is concentrated. Therefore, the purple coloration may visibly vary in strength based on either a parallel or perpendicular orientation of the diamond when being viewed.

Purple Diamond Intensity

Fancy purple diamonds are assessed according to intensity of color, or a combination of saturation and tone. The following scale describe purple diamond intensities:

Fancy Purple Diamond Intensity Scale
Light Purple
Fancy Light Purple
Fancy Purple
Fancy Intense Purple
Fancy Vivid Purple
Fancy Deep Purple
Fancy Dark Purple

Fancy purple diamond intensity scale.

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Purple Diamonds Color Intensity

Intensity grades of purple diamonds - From left to right: Light Purple, Fancy Light Purple, Fancy Purple, Fancy Intense Purple, Fancy Vivid Purple, Fancy Deep Purple, Fancy Dark Purple.

The further along this spectrum you go, the richer and more intense the purple is to be seen in the diamond. The more intense a diamond's color saturation, the more it will be worth. For example, a Fancy Intense Purple diamond will be worth more than a Fancy Purple diamond. That said, apart from very saturated pure purples, stones that are a split grade containing an equally, if not more, rare color, such as Fancy Red Purple, are among the most desirable and valuable types of natural purple diamonds.

Purple Diamond Secondary Hues

Purple diamonds often occur with modifying secondary overtones, as a pure purple diamond is very rare to find. In terms of face-up appearance, these secondary colors often make the diamond that much more beautiful, even if it is less rare.

Purple more often acts as a modifying color to other color diamonds than the reverse. For example, it adds a beautiful hue to pink diamonds and in many cases, raises the value of the diamond because it makes the color absolutely rich and stunning.

Purple Diamond Secondary Hues

From left to right: Fancy Intense Purple Pink diamond, Fancy Intense Purple Pink emerald cut diamond and a modified Hexagon Fancy Dark Purple Brown.

Purple Diamond Tone

Tone refers to the lightness or darkness of a purple diamond, and the continuum in between. GIA grading does not make a distinction in tones, but to the eye a stone with darker tones may appear more intense in color. For someone looking for the appearance of a Fancy Intense Purple diamond without the price tag of one, a good option may be a Fancy Purple diamond with a darker tone.

Purple Diamond Fluorescence

Natural purple diamonds do not have a marked tendency to exhibit fluorescence to UV light. On those occasions when they do show fluorescence, the resulting color is typically very weak to weak yellow. In the final analysis, the enhancement to a stone's aesthetics that fluorescence offers is entirely subjective.

Purple Diamond Clarity

Natural fancy purple diamonds tend to have inclusions and therefore generally fall in the SI1 to I2 range. Dark inclusions and clouds are not uncommon in purple diamonds, thus diminishing their clarity. Purple diamonds with clarity grades of VS2 or better are rarer.

Purple Diamond Shape

Natural purple diamonds can be found in virtually all shapes, including cushions, emerald cuts, princesses and the classic round brilliant cut is the most common. In the case of purple diamonds, a round brilliant cut does not necessarily desaturate color as they usually have relatively darker tones than other natural colored diamonds. Take note of uneven color distributions as well (these will be noted on your GIA certificate), as they can certainly affect a diamond's appearance and value.

Purple Diamond Value

Natural fancy purple diamonds are exceedingly valuable and are arguably second only to natural red diamonds in value and rarity. The most expensive of all purple diamonds are those that are uniformly pure purple without any secondary color modifiers. However, as purple is arguably bested by red as most valuable and rarest colored diamond, one allowance can be made regarding secondary color modifiers: any purple diamond that is modified by Red such as Fancy Red Purple or Fancy Reddish Purple is highly valuable and on par with pure purple diamonds in terms of price per carat.

A colored diamond's worth is determined first and foremost by its color. Purple diamond price is determined by intensity of color. As already rare and exclusive as natural purple diamonds are, the more intense the base color in a purple diamond, the more valuable it will be. Purple diamonds that achieve intensities of Fancy, Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid will command the highest prices among natural purples and present great opportunity for colored diamond investment. Purple diamond price will of course increase as the size (or carat weight) also increases.

Purple Diamond History

Fancy purple diamonds are mined in Siberia (Russia), Australia, and more recently, Quebec, Canada. The output from Siberia mostly yields pale purple diamonds, but diamonds with greater saturation are unearthed on occasion. To illustrate the true scarcity of natural purple diamonds, in the Siberian mines, such diamonds generally make up only 1 percent of the overall diamond yield.

Famous Purple Diamonds

The Royal Purple Heart: The heart shaped, 7.34 carat, Fancy Vivid Purple, I1 clarity Royal Purple Heart diamond is the largest Fancy Vivid Purple diamond known to exist. The stone originates from Russia and was cut by the Julius Klein Diamond Corporation. Its ownership and other information are not known.

The Supreme Purple Star: The exact weight, color, and clarity of the stone have not been revealed but this is of cursory interest when compared to the following: when viewing the diamond, from one angle the diamond appears to have a Deep Purple color but when it is slowly rotated in the light, the color changes to a deep to Vivid Purplish Red. This metamorphosis is something totally unique and without explanation in the diamond world. According to press reports, the stone appeared in London in 2002. It is believed to have originated in the Amazon basin.

Purple Diamond Buying Guide

A colored diamond is generally rare when it exists as one color without any additional modifying colors. The only instances that color in fancy purple diamonds experience even greater rarity and value than if such diamonds were to have just its primary color of purple are when the primary purple color is combined with equally, if not more, rare colors such as Red. A "Fancy Red Purple" will therefore be even rarer and more valuable than a color diamond that has only purple in a comparable saturation.

Purple diamonds can be modified by Pink, Red, Grey and Brown. It is more common for purple to be found as a secondary color modifier, such as a diamond graded Fancy Purplish Pink, than for it to be the dominant color in a diamond that is modified by another color.

Regardless of the size and cut, it is so difficult to find these rare diamonds for sale, that they are extremely appreciated by collectors.