Why are gemstones purple?

Some gemstones appear purple due to the presence of certain trace elements or impurities within their crystal structure. The presence of Iron (red) and Aluminum (blue) blends to create a hue of Purple.

Here are the most popular purple gemstones.

8 Most Popular Purple Gemstones

#1 Amethyst

Amethyst Photo of Amethyst in Processed & Rough Form

Amethyst gets its color from the presence of iron. The purple coloration of amethyst is created when iron ions that have been exposed to radiation, from natural sources or from human activities such as X-rays.

Amethyst is probably the most popular purple gemstone, Its both affordable and alluring. Amethysts can range in color from light lavender to deep purple and are often used in jewelry.

#2 Tanzanite (blue zoisite)

Tanzanite Photo of Credit (link)

Tanzanite is another purple gemstone and made the #2 spot on our list. This gemstone that was first discovered in Tanzania in the 1960s. It's a variety of zoisite and is known for its violet color. Tanzanite is often heat-treated to enhance its color.

Its purple coloration is due to the presence of vanadium.

#3 Purple Sapphire

Purple Sapphire

Sapphires are most often blue, but purple sapphires exist and are somewhat more rare than the standard blues. Purple sapphires are a variety of corundum and often have a deep and saturated color. Usually found in shades of Lavender or violet.

#4 Iolite (Water Sapphire)


Iolite is a purplish gemstone that is sometimes called a “Water Sapphire”. This stone is in fact not a sapphire but rather a variety of cordierite. Similar to Opals the color may change upon the viewing angle.

#5 Purple Garnet

Purple Garnet

Like many of the gems on this list purple garnet is simply a variant of a more popular red or blue stone. Garnets, while most often Red, can occasionally be purple violet in color. Their purple hue is due to the presence of both iron and magnesium in their crystal lattice structures.

Are purple garnets rare?

While not as prevalent as standard red garnets they are not considered to be exceptionally rare but rather much less common than the standard reds.

#6 Charoite


This gemstone is rare and only found in Russia, and nowhere else on earth. Charoite is known for its stunning purple color variations. It is most often used in jewelry but do to rarity this gemstone is not as well known.

#7 Purple Fluorite

Purple Fluorite

Fluorite is a gemstone that is most often purple, blue, and green all at the same time with individual segments in a much larger piece. Segments of purple are isolated and are used for jewelry often enough that this one made our list.

#8 Sugilite


Sugilite is both rare and beautiful and known for its super vibrant almost neon purple color. It was first discovered in japan in the 40’s but most sources of the stone now come from South Africa.