Unless you’re a rockhound or you study mineralogy, you may not think of gemstones as minerals, but that’s exactly what they are. That’s right…diamonds, sapphires, rubies, tourmaline, amethyst, citrines, etc… etc… etc… They are all minerals. Emeralds belong to the beryl family of minerals, which includes several other types of beryl that have become well known gemstones. These beryls are easily distinguishable from each other by their color. They come in green (emerald), blue (aquamarine), dark blue (maxixe), yellow (heliodor or golden beryl), red (a.k.a. bixbite or red emerald), pink (morganite), and colorless (goshenite). They all have the same chemical makeup (Be3Al2(SiO3)6,) but trace elements present where they are found interact with them to give them color.
Emeralds are obviously the most famous type of beryl. In mineral terms, emerald is known as green beryl but not all green beryl can be called an emerald. It has to be gem quality, which very little green beryl is. Emeralds tend to be much more included than other gemstones and even other beryls.
Aquamarine is another famous beryl that many people adore. The best ones come from Brazil and they tend to be relatively free of inclusions and possess good brilliance.
Dark blue beryl or maxixe is quite rare. It comes only from Brazil and gets its color from natural radiation deep within the earth. An interesting fact, however, is that it can lose its color when exposed to heat, UV light, or sunlight.
Yellow beryl is best known as heliodor or golden beryl. With a bright yellow gold color its quite and interesting looking gemstone. Heliodor was discovered in the early 1900’s and was poised to become a popular gemstone until World War I and II got in the way and it was forgotten about for decades.
Red beryl is the rarest of the beryls and very little gem quality red beryl makes it to market from the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah in the United States where it is found. Some refer to it as Bixbite, Bixbyite, or Red Emerald, which is a bit controversial because the word emerald specifically refers to green stones.
Pink beryl might seem like some fancy synthetic created gemstone made for niche boutiques and people who obsess about the color pink, but it actually occurs naturally this way. Orange, peach, and lilac tones are also common with deep pink or lilac being the most desireable (and expensive). Interestingly, this stone was named after J.P. Morgan of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Morgan Stanley fame. He was one of the most important gemstone collectors of his time and stones from his collection can be found in the American Museum of Natural History.
Last, but not least is goshenite, also known as colorless beryl. Goshenite gets its name from the town of Goshen, Massachusetts in the United States. It’s by far the most abundant and affordable type of beryl and is often found in close proximity to colored beryls.
Embassy Emeralds has access to almost unlimited emeralds, emeralds in matrix, and green beryl mineral specimens and more. We have sources for quality aquamarine and other gems from Brazil as well. Contact us today to find out more!
Golden Beryl image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Beryl.jpg Author: Vzb83
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