Purple diamonds, also known as violet diamonds, are the ultimate obscurity, so rare even the few who know about them would expect to see them worn. To most people, violet and purple is the same thing. To the gem world purple diamonds owe their color to lattice level deformations and violet diamonds owe their color to minute traces of hydrogen. The color of violet diamonds looks like stormy skies filled with blue-gray lavender. Purple diamonds have pinkish tones and are more reminiscent of Alpine flowers with fuchsia colors. In simpler terms violet diamonds tend toward blue and purple diamonds tend toward red or pink.
The old limerick of 'Roses are red, violets are blue' is good to remember when looking at these colors.
All the controversies over violet diamonds and purple diamonds are fairly recent in gem world terms. In the 1980's violet diamonds were discovered at the Argyle mines in Australia. This is the same mine the stunned the world with its deep pink and red diamonds. A decade later purple diamonds were found in Russia. Violet diamonds are mostly blue with gray which causes the eye to see violet. However, there have been some violet diamonds that have been true pure violet. These are very rare and usually are sold at auction. In 1987 Christies sold a 0.95 carat violet diamond for $926,000 per carat. Purple diamonds usually have pink in them. Purple diamonds received a large boost after basketball superstar Kobe Bryant gave his wife an 8 carat purple diamond costing $4 million as an atonement gift shortly after being charged with sexual assault. Kobe's wife got a record stone which will not be broken any time soon. Purple diamonds and violet diamonds tend to be small with sizes rarely topping 2 carats.
Violet diamonds have not been publicized and are pretty much a trade secret. These wonderful gems can be found but be prepared to pay a high price for these rare gems.