History of Purple
In the West purple has long been associated with royalty, power and wealth - in Christian tradition purple is linked to Advent, Lent and Mourning. In ancient Rome purple was a status symbol and Julius Caesar declared that no one should be allowed to wear it except for him.
The first purple dye was made from the mucus of sea snails. It took 12,00 snails to produce just one gram, making it more expensive than silver until William Perkin, a student at the Royal Collage of Chemistry, discovered purple dye by mistake in 1856 while trying to create an anti-malaria medicine.
Today purple is also linked to spiritual awareness and is often used in meditation. It is thought to be the colour of contemplation and a higher truth.
In the novel The Colour Purple, Alice Walker wrote: “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
Colour Psychology of Purple
In the visual light spectrum purple is known as violet – it has the shortest wavelength of all the colours and is the last wavelength that the human eye can see – hence its position as the last colour of the rainbow. In colour psychology it is though to combine the strength, power and energy of red with the truth and integrity of blue.
Tones of Purple
Purple can be both warm – lilac, violet and aubergine, and cool in tone – lavender, royal purple and mauve.
Purple Gemstones & Crystals
Amethyst is a type of violet quartz. Amethyst, used in jewellery is usually violet in colour but can also have a cooler lavender tone. Amethyst is February’s birthstone. Amethyst was favoured by the ancient Egyptians, and the Greeks believed that Amethyst could help prevent detoxification. In Tibet amethyst is considered sacred to Buddha and is used to make prayer beads. Click here to read more about the meaning and symbolism of Amethyst.
Tanzanite is a blue-toned violet and a variety of the mineral zoisite. Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania and was given its name by Tiffanie & Co after the country in which it was found. Tanzanite is December’s birthstone. Discover more about the meaning and significance of Tanzanite jewellery here.