life in the facet lane Something in Purple is Always Nice

When you’re looking to add jewelry to your wardrobe, it should reflect your style and your personal taste. We can achieve that in several ways–by the jewelry design itself, and especially the type of gemstones we add to our collection.

Some of the most vividly hued stones we can gather are naturally rich purple gems. And there are
several varieties that we absolutely adore—like amethyst, purple sapphire, and tanzanite to name a few. But here’s a luxurious opaque stone you may likely have never heard of. It’s called sugilite. I suppose the first order of business is to understand how to pronounce this striking purple stone. Say soog-i-lite with a hard g (like grape).

As a gemstone it’s pretty much the new kid on the block, having been discovered in 1944 by Japanese petrologist Ken-Ichi Sugi from the Imperial University in Kyushu, Japan. Still, it did
not acquire its name, an homage to Mr. Sugi, until 1976. Another surprising note is that sugilite found in Japan is often yellowish white and not the most attractive material for jewelry making. But in South Africa, this stone is found in bold vibrant purples that thrill designers with its creative potential.

Owner and jewelry designer Shannon Mahoney at Raintree expresses her talent not only through exquisite craftsmanship, but by the unusual stones and their pairings that are iconic to the
Raintree brand. So, you can imagine, that she’d be on the hunt for a superb example of sugilite in its most pristine form. Her handmade one-of-a-kind Violetta Earrings in ‘perfectly purple
sugilite’ as she calls them, radiate that sought after intense purple not often found in nature. Vibrant yellow Montana sapphires meet between sugilite drops and intensely hued London Blue
topaz beads to form harmonious pendant earrings. Each colored stone seems to applaud the other.

Like a true visionary who thinks through their creation, Shannon says, “We love working with sugilite. The color is so striking and it’s unique from most of the other purple jewelry out there.” And all jewelry is meant to be worn, of course. She envisions how sugilite complements the fortunate wearer. “In earrings, the tone works well for showing through longer hair of any color.”

Have you added a lush and lively purple something to your jewelry wardrobe? This may be a good opportunity to see what colors in your wardrobe play well against a purple tone. Sometimes
all it takes is rethinking what can make a refreshing addition to our accessories—and before you know it you’ve fallen in love with a new stone . . . for life!


Today is a good day for purple rain. Violetta Earrings featuring
sugilite drops; Courtesy Raintree

Contact Diana Jarrett at and read

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