Skip to Content

What things are associated with purple?

What things are associated with purple?

Purple is a color that evokes many associations and meanings. Throughout history and across cultures, the color purple has been tied to royalty, spirituality, creativity, and mystery. In nature, purple is found in flowers, gems, and other organisms. It also has many uses in art, fashion, decor, and branding. Here is an exploration of the many associations connected to the color purple.

Associations with Royalty

One of the most common associations with the color purple is royalty. In medieval Europe, purple dye was very rare and expensive, so only royalty and high nobility could afford to wear purple garments. The rarity and expense of purple dye came from the difficulty in obtaining the secretions of marine mollusks that were used to create the dyes. Specifically, the dye came from the secretions of several species of sea snails and Mediterranean mollusks in the family Muricidae. Because purple garments were worn exclusively by emperors, kings, queens, and other rulers, purple became synonymous with high social rank and prestige.

This association between purple and royalty continued for centuries and still lingers today. The color is often referred to as “royal purple” and the phrase “to be born in the purple” refers to being born into royalty. Even though cheaper, synthetic purple dyes have been developed in modern times, purple retains its regal reputation in many contexts.

Associations with Spirituality

In addition to royalty, the color purple is strongly associated with spirituality and religion. In Judeo-Christianity, purple represents piety and faith. Catholic bishops and archbishops wear purple vestments and the color is heavily used in church services during Lent and Advent. Purple is also associated with mourning and penitence in Catholicism. Meanwhile in Buddhism, purple represents spiritual awareness and is commonly worn by monks.

Purple also has significance in New Age spirituality, representing the “crown chakra” at the top of the head and a connection to a higher plane. People who have a predisposition to mysticism and the occult favor the color purple for its esoteric meanings. Overall, purple is favored by religions and spiritual groups because of its rarity in nature and its uniqueness from other colors like blue, red, and green. The special properties and distinct look of purple lend it an air of otherworldliness and reverence.

Associations with Creativity

Purple’s association with unconventionality and individuality give it strong ties to the artistic and creative world as well. Nonconformists and artistic personalities gravitate to the color as a way to express their free-spirited nature. Prince was famous for taking on the color purple as part of his persona in his flamboyant music and fashion choices. The psychedelic rock and pop music movements of the late 1960s were also heavily steeped in purple for album covers, light shows, posters, and more.

Purple conjures up feelings of imagination and innovation because it combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. It is emotionally balanced and straddles the logical and the intuitive. For this reason, purple is a color that encourages creativity and an openness to new ideas.

Creative Field Use of Purple
Visual arts Often used in painting for its rare pigments and shades
Performing arts Used in theater lighting and costuming
Literature Evokes imagination and mysticism
Music Key color of psychedelic and funk genres

Associations with Mystery

The color purple is strongly tied to mystery, magic, and the unknown. In literature, purple objects are often imbued with secret powers, mystic qualities, or supernatural energy. Purple smoke and haze is used to create an air of the unknown. This is because purple’s rarity in nature gives it an undefinable quality unlike common colors we see every day. Purple is also associated with the night, connecting it further to darkness and obfuscation.

Additionally, purple is the color of twilight, the time between day and night that was viewed as magical and otherworldly in ancient times. Twilight represented a blending of the realms and a mysterious portal between life and death. In numerology, purple is tied to the number 7, which represents illusions, dreams, and blurring of logic and reason. Altogether, these factors contribute to purple’s aura of secrecy and mystique.

Signaling Wealth and Power

As discussed in the first section, purple long signified wealth, prestige and power among royalty. While more affordable purple dyes exist today, the color still carries upper class connotations. Brands across industries leverage purple to signal luxury status. More specifically, purple connotes exclusivity, creative thinking, innovative technology and cutting-edge style.

Purple remains rare in nature, keeping some element of being special and different from mainstream colors like blue and green. It stands out in advertising and branding to attract attention. Using purple can be a strategic color choice for brands aiming to be perceived as premium, elite, visionary or wise.

Calming Properties

Purple has long been considered a peaceful, calming color that can ease anxiety and create serenity. Chromotherapy practitioners use purple light therapy for its soothing effects. As a blend of stimulating red and tranquil blue, purple strikes the perfect balance to relax the mind and body. Lavender, a light purple shade, is especially renowned for its calming abilities. The color lavender can lower stress hormone levels and heart rate.

Purple is recommended for use in bedrooms and meditation spaces due to its relaxing qualities. People with anxious or racing minds may also choose to wear or surround themselves with purple as a way to cultivate peace and tranquility. Purple’s associations with spirituality and mysticism also contribute to its calming reputation. Overall, shades of purple help create a gentle, reassuring environment.

Associations with Femininity

In Western cultures, purple is viewed as a feminine color representing female qualities and aesthetics. It contains red’s energy and passion toned down by blue’s serenity and intuition. Floral and lace decor in purple are seen as romantic and delicate.

Shades of light purple and lavender are ideal for nursery décor associated with newborn baby girls. Women’s fashion and accessories frequently incorporate purple for its feminine flair. Compared to colors like red and pink, purple offers a more mature, subtle way to express traditionally female qualities.

Uses in Nature

While not the most common color in nature, purple can be found in a diverse array of flowers, gemstones, animals and natural landscapes that showcase its majesty and allure.

Natural Element Shades of Purple
Lavender flower Soft, pale purple
Lilac flower Light purple to mauve
Iris flower Deep purple
Amethyst gem Luminous, purple quartz
Grapes Deep purple skin
Eggplants Purple exterior
Purple finch Vibrant purple plumage
Lilac breasted roller Pale purple feathers
Jacaranda tree Purple trumpet flowers
Purple mountain ranges Appear purple from distance

While purple’s associations with royalty have diminished, it continues to represent luxury, ambition, creativity and serenity in the modern age. Its multifaceted meanings across cultures and time periods make it a color that is both regal and mystical.


In summary, purple is a color with deep symbolic ties throughout history. Its rarity in nature imbued it with prestige, while its blend of warm and cool tones gives it both energetic and spiritual qualities. Purple is associated with royalty, creativity, mystery, spirituality, and femininity across various cultures and contexts. From its lavender flowers to its amethyst gems, shades of purple stand out elegantly across the natural world. In modern times, purple continues to represent the extravagant, the unconventional, the innovative, and the profound.