Diamonds are one of the rarest precious stones in the world, and finding a fancy colored diamond that is of commercial quantity is even rarer. Some fancy colored diamonds are harder to find than others, and one of the most difficult is the purple diamond. The scarcity of purple diamonds in the world means that their value is higher than that of a colorless diamond.
What is a Purple Diamond Worth?
The price estimates on purple diamonds are not as easy to get as it is for a colorless diamond. With a colorless diamond, the 4Cs are the criteria that determine the price of every diamond on the market, and this standard is followed by every jeweler.
However, purple diamonds are not as easy to classify as colorless ones and the price range is anything from $10,000 to millions of dollars per carat.
Factors that Determine The Worth of a Purple Diamond
In the jewelry industry, not all stones are the same, not all diamonds are the same, and not all purple diamonds are the same. There are reasons why some purple diamonds cost way more than others, and below are some of those reasons.
1. Color Intensity Level
The value of purple diamonds is measured using the stone’s color intensity level– the higher the intensity level of the stone’s purple color, the more expensive it would be. The official GIA grading scale for purple diamonds is:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark
2. Secondary Tone/Color
It’s important to note pure purple diamonds are extremely rare to find and most of the purple diamonds you’ll find have a secondary tint to them. Purple diamonds that have a secondary tone are usually cheaper than purely purple diamonds because they aren’t as rare to find. Also, they do not give off the same radiance that a purely purple stone does.
The most common secondary colors on a purple diamond are gray, brown, and pink; red and brown overtone colors exist also but they’re rarer. Gray and brown secondary colors are considered low-quality purple diamonds and are cheaper than purple diamonds with pink as their secondary color.
The shape of every type of diamond affects its eventual price and the reason is the amount of rough diamond that is lost in the creation process. When a piece of diamond is mined, a gem cutter has to work on it to create appealing and beautiful shapes. Naturally, some shapes would involve wasting more of the stone to create the desired shape than others.
Princess cut diamonds are some of the most affordable because only about 20% of the stone is lost in creating them. However, a round brilliant diamond only uses about 40% of the rough diamond, making them cost more. Also, the popularity of the shape is a major factor and heart-shaped purple diamonds are sure to cost more than most shapes in the market.
None of the factors listed above influence the worth of a purple diamond alone, it’s usually a mixture of several of them. For example, a 1-carat princess-cut very light gray purple diamond would cost way less than a 1-carat heart-shaped fancy intense pink purple diamond.
Where To Buy Purple Diamonds
Even if you have the money to afford them, purple diamonds are not as easy to buy as colorless ones. It is harder to find a purple diamond seller because they are scarce and the market is incredibly complex.
The most obvious reason it is relatively more difficult to buy a purple diamond than a colorless one is because they are rare. Only a tiny fraction of diamonds mined are purple diamonds, meaning it’s not an item you’ll regularly find sitting in a jewelry designer store.
Also, because of scarcity, the purple diamond market is not as straightforward as it is for colorless diamonds. The prices of purple diamonds are determined by a buyer and a seller finding a compromise that suits both parties. It is therefore not a market that a jeweler who is inexperienced wants to find themselves in; they prefer to stick with the more straightforward colorless diamond market.
What is a Purple Diamond?
It is believed that purple diamonds get their color as a result of being pushed by magma from the mantle of the earth to its surface. As a result of this push, plastic deformation occurs in their crystal structure which results in the purple color they have.
A very small fraction of the natural diamonds mined each year is purple diamonds despite the relatively high demands for them. The most popular location for the discovery of purple diamonds used to be the Argyle Mine in Western Australia; however, the mine was closed in 2020. Other places where purple diamonds are found today include the Mir kimberlite field in Siberia and the James Bay region in Quebec.
In the places where purple diamonds are found, their discovery only accounts for about 1% of the diamonds mined. The little quantity of purple diamond mined makes it one of the rarest diamond types, second to the red diamond and equally as scarce as the pink diamond.
Like most fancy color diamonds, purple diamonds have different names that describe the shade of purple you want to buy. Some purple diamonds in order of their shades are lavender, plum, violet, orchid, dark magenta, and deep purple.
Artificial Purple Diamonds
As the demand for purple diamonds has grown and there is a limited supply of them, there are methods of artificially increasing the supply of purple diamonds. The two major ways purple diamonds are artificially made are through irradiation and “growing” them in labs.
1. Irradiated Purple Diamonds
Every natural diamond was subjected to radiation for billions of years before humans mined them, in this sense we can say all colored diamonds are irradiated. However, it is possible to use artificial methods to produce the same radiation effect on a colorless diamond to make it become a purple one.
Irradiated purple diamonds are not as expensive as natural purple diamonds; however, they reflect the quality of the original colorless diamond. The effects of irradiation on a diamond are permanent. The GIA still considers irradiated purple diamonds to be authentic and grades them; however, the certificate notifies the buyer that they are not naturally fancy colored.
2. Lab-Grown Purple Diamonds
Diamonds are grown in labs using one of two methods– High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Both methods involve placing a diamond “seed” in machines that replicate the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed; these seeds then grow into larger diamonds.
Lab-grown purple diamonds are usually more imperfect when formed as they contain darker, metallic inclusions which cannot be found on natural purple diamonds. Once more, these diamonds are created to meet rising demand and are not as expensive as natural purple diamonds.
It’s important to have whatever purple diamonds you’re buying tested to ensure it’s a raw diamond, so you do not make a costly mistake.
The worth of purple diamonds cannot be expressly stated; instead, they are determined by a number of factors that do not affect a colorless diamond. Finally, the market is an exclusive one, so you might not have as many jewelers to choose from as with a colorless diamond.