Professional Jeweler Archive: Purple Haze

October 2001

Gemstones & Pearls/New Products

Purple Haze

This hue shines through for the winter

The fashion shows for fall were cloaked in regal shades of purple, breathing new life into gems in this color. In jewelry, purple is a classic accessory with black, white and cream clothing and adds chic contrast to yellow, orange or green apparel. What’s more, purple gemstones – such as amethyst, iolite and Grape Garnet™ – are among the most affordable gems even when large, and that’s a big advantage for the upcoming holiday season.


This type of quartz is mined in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, several countries in Africa and Europe and in the U.S. (in Arizona). It’s prized for its purple and golden varieties. In purple, amethyst was treasured by the Roman gods as a talisman to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, the wine god. This traditional birthstone for February is available in all sizes. It costs $15-$20 per carat wholesale in the 5-10-ct. range for fine qualities and $20-$40 per carat for extra-fine qualities, according to The Guide, Gemworld International Inc., Northbrook, IL.


This gem is mined in India, Africa and Madagascar in sizes up to 5 carats. It’s most desirable in rich violet-blue. While not as well-known as tanzanite, iolite is becoming popular because of its beauty and low price. Iolites over 5 carats and free of inclusions are rare. Iolite costs about $75 per carat wholesale for fine qualities and $75-$100 for extra fine, says The Guide.

Grape Garnet™

Garnet, a combination of pyrope and almandine, traces its roots to the Nile Delta in 3100 B.C., where Egyptian artisans made garnet beads. Columbia Gem House, Vancouver, WA, trademarked the name Grape Garnet for the purple variety found in the Orissa district of northwest India. Good qualities in the 1-2-ct. range are $50-$75 per carat wholesale; fine qualities are $75-$120, says The Guide.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

This 18k white gold suite comprises a ring with an 8mm amethyst ($475 suggested retail), earrings with 7mm amethysts ($500) and a pendant with an 8mm amethyst ($285).

Breuning, Lawrenceville, GA; (678) 377-1673, fax (678) 377-1674.

18k two-tone gold ring is set with a 10mm-by-10mm princess- cut amethyst and 0.82 carat of round brilliant diamonds. Suggested retail, $4,170.

Alfieri & St. John, East Northport, NY; (888) 768-4953, fax (631) 261-6379,

From the Royal Bali collection, this sterling and gold bracelet features amethyst. Suggested retail, $216. Also available with other colored gems.

Samuel B., New York City; (800) 848-3620 or (212) 302-7800, fax (212) 302-3565.

14k gold Pagoda pendant is set with a 9mm checkerboard-cut amethyst and 0.15 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $714.

The Touch, Waltham, MA; (800) 556-0041 or (781) 894-8133, fax (781) 894-7821,,

Pendant and earrings have amethysts and diamonds in yellow or white gold. Suggested retail, $339 for the pendant, $381 for the earrings. Also available with other colored gems.

EMG Creations, New York City; (888) EMG-1212 or (212) 643-0960.

14k gold and amethyst flower necklace includes a 0.02-ct. diamond accent in the flower’s center.

Cherie Dori Inc., Sunrise, FL; (800) 226-8816.

Earrings are set with 10.26 carats of amethyst and 2.62 carats of moonstone. Suggested retail, $1,095.

Murphy Design, Minneapolis, MN; (800) 998-8883 or (612) 333-0144, fax (612) 344-1640,,

Photo by Corey Morse.

From the Aventura collection, a 14k gold and amethyst ring.

Rigoberto Jewelry Designs, Los Angeles, CA; (800) 243-7332 or (213) 627-0072.

Sterling silver suite is set with iolite from 2mm-6mm. Suggested retail, $80-$300.

Zina Sterling Silver, Beverly Hills, CA; (310) 286-2212,

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications