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The Rise of Purple Sapphire

The Rise of Purple Sapphire

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The Rise of Purple Sapphire

The mineral species known as corundum encompasses gems such as sapphire, which is made of extremely hard aluminum oxide. Sapphire spans a wide range of colors, such as blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. The reason purple sapphire stands out is because it's rare. Here's a look at why these jewels are widely sought due to their captivating sparkling appearance.

Rise of Purple Sapphire

At one time, sapphire came mainly from India and Australia as the hues red, blue, and green were prevalent. The blue version of the gem was traditionally favored by ancient Greek and Roman royalty and became a heavenly symbol in the Middle Ages. For centuries, sapphire was commonly associated with blue and linked with romance. The gem is now celebrated as a September birthstone and for 45th anniversaries.

When production expanded in East Africa in the 1990s, a wider range of sapphire colors became available, including purple sapphire. Key sources for the natural purple gem are now found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Thailand.

In many ways, purple sapphire is still a vast secret in the gem world. It certainly doesn't get as much attention as the more common blue sapphire stones. Due to its rarity, purple sapphire is often confused with a type of quartz called amethyst.

A gemologist can tell the difference, because sapphire has a hardness of 9 while amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. That means sapphire is much less likely to chip or suffer other type of damage. A diamond is the only harder material in the gem world. Another difference is sapphire has more sparkle and clarity.

Attraction of Purple

Chromium is the chemical element responsible for the color of purple sapphire, in which the natural version is more common than the treated version. Natural stones of all types usually command much more value than heat treated gems. Purple, though, is usually priced lower than blue sapphire. But it's worth mentioning the most popular blue sapphires are mixed with purple or violet.

One of the reasons gem lovers seek purple is it blends well with silver or other metal rings. In the field of color psychology, purple is often associated with calmness, as well as fantasy and mystique. The purple color contributes to the gem's brilliance, which can be measured on a refractive index as the amount of light returned from the gem.

The three different shades of purple sapphires tend to be violet-blue, purple-gray and purple-lavender. Some people refer to the purple gem as "violet sapphire" or "plum sapphire." One of the physical properties that differentiates purple from blue or pink sapphires is that the purple stones don't require treatment to maintain their color. Some sapphires can change colors under certain types of light. They may look blue in sunlight and then purple when placed under incandescent indoor light.

When you buy any type of jewelry, it's important to know if it's natural or treated, since natural gems are worth so much more. Working with a certified gemologist will give you the most accurate assessment of a gem's authenticity and value.


While blue is the most common color of sapphire, purple stands out as more unique. Contact us at Ralph Mueller & Associates for more information on purple sapphire or to sell your purple sapphire gems.