One of the rarest diamonds in the world is also cloaked in mystery, with only scant information from where it came and no exact data as to exactly what it is worth.
The Purple Orchid is a fancy intense pink purple diamond, 3.37 carats in weight with VS2 clarity. Cut from a 4-carat rough stone, it first came to the market in Hong Kong in September 2014. The diamond’s then-owner, Leibish & Co., an Israeli firm specializing in colored diamonds, said that it was South African in origin, but did not reveal the name of the mine from which it was extracted. The asking price was set at $4 million, or $1.2 million per carat, but the final selling price and the name of the buyer were never disclosed.
Natural fancy purple diamonds make up only two-tenths of 1 percent all fancy colored diamonds, meaning that, regardless of size, they generally are worth more per carat than most other diamonds in the fancy color range. Other common descriptors include orchid, plum, lilac, mauve, lavender and grape.
In general terms, it is possible to split natural purple diamonds into two categories, with the more commonly found stones actually violet diamonds, which are close to blue-grey on the color spectrum. The rarer stones are purple, with most having pink or red secondary colors. But there are purple diamonds with no secondary color modifiers, and they are the rarest of them all. Only a small percentage of the all the stones display vivid or dark intensities.
The source of the color in purple diamonds are trace elements that include nitrogen, boron, and most importantly hydrogen. Scientists suggest that pure purple diamonds obtained their color as a result of unusual amounts of hydrogen being introduced during the natural formation process, but they are uncertain of the circumstances under which this occurred.
In recent years, the Argyle mine in Western Australia has been the most prolific source of natural purple diamonds, but other, such as South Africa, Brazil and Russia, are known to exist. In 2008, it was a reported that a newly discovered diamond resource in the James Bay region of Quebec in Canada had yielded nine purple stones.
Given their rarity, there are only few purple diamonds that can be considered famous. The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is a fancy vivid purple diamond weighing 7.34 carats and with a clarity grade of I-1. Its current owners are not publicly known. It may or may not be the largest polished natural purple diamond in existence
Even less information is available about the Supreme Purple Heart. Round in shape, despite its name, the Supreme Heart is said to weigh anywhere between 2 and 5 carats. It is said that its color changes, depending on the position from which it is viewed. When seen from one angle it appears deep purple, and from another angle it appears deep red.
In 2003 it was reported that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant bought an 8-carat purple diamond ring for his wife, Vanessa, as an act of contrition by the basketball player, who at the time was facing rape charges brought against him by another woman. Bryant reportedly paid $4 million for the stone, which has never been shown publicly. However, if it was a true purple fancy colored diamond, it could claim the title as the largest such diamond known to exist.
MID House of Diamonds is of the world’s preeminent suppliers of loose fancy-colored diamonds, with a large and varied stock that includes purple stones. Because it is a world of which many diamond buyers are less familiar, with different pricing patterns and grading standards, MID invites you to speak with one of the fancy color experts on its team.