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Facts and figures about Beryl.



Magic of Colours:

Colour immediately appeals to our emotions and stimulated them, making us feel happy, vivacious or calm, making us experience magic and freedom. And where would colour be more permanently or beautifully presented than in a gemstone? In the fascinating realm of gemstones Emeralds shine in the most burning green imaginable. Aquamarines sparkle in all shades of blue – from light pale sky-blue to the deep blue of the sea, charming pink Morganite enthrals women all over the world and only few people will realise that all these different gemstones belong to one and the same family. Aquamarine, Emerald and Morganite are all Beryl's – just like Golden Beryl, gold-green Heliodor and colourless Goshenite. No matter whether blue, green, yellow, colourless or pink, their chemical and physical consistence is basically identical, they only differ in colour.


What are the reasons for this? The story is ancient and fascinating, it happened millions of years ago, when in the core of our Earth fine crystals were created at high pressure and enormous heat. Beryl's are in fact Beryllium aluminium silicates. Colourless as pure Beryl (see Goshenite), their structure allows for the integration of various other substances, which will in turn cause the different colours to appear and turn an unexciting colourless gemstone into a green, yellow, pink or blue precious beauty.


Iron is responsible for making Beryl appear sea blue and turning it into one of the most popular and well-known gemstones, Aquamarine. This stone not only sparkles in all the colours of the water – colours which complement almost any colour of eyes and complexion. Often it seams sea-green, a typical characteristic of the stone. It is the favourite stone of many creative designers and is set apart by quite a number of positive features: the distribution of colour is even throughout the stone, there are only little inclusions so that it is almost flawless, it has a good hardness and a beautiful lustre.


It is closely related to Emerald. This most valuable of all Beryl's owes its colour to chromium and/ or vanadium, which make it show the maybe most beautiful and brightest green of all respective gemstones coining a class all by itself, emerald-green. Fine crystal inclusions, fissures and flaws are not only tolerated in this valuable gemstone, they are even considered as identifying features stating its authenticity. Experts have lovingly called them the Emerald’s "jardin” (= garden).


Beryl reacts completely different, however, when manganese comes into the picture. This element lends a fine feminine pink, rose or peach colour to the stone, which is then called Morganite, besides Emerald and Aquamarine probably the best-known representative of the beryl group. Formerly it was simply known as "pink beryl”. Only since 1911 it has been called "Morganite” in honour of New York banker and gemstone lover John Pierpoint Morgan. This gemstone loves large-scale generosity, since only from a certain size on the beauty of its colour, usually a pale pink to pale violet, can be really appreciated.


Small traces of uranium are sufficient to lend colourless Beryl a more or less satiated golden colour – typical characteristic of Golden Beryl. This gemstone also shows the same good qualities as its blue brother Aquamarine. Usually it is also mined in the same occurrences alongside Aquamarine. Golden beryl fascinates us by its fine range of yellows, from palest lemon shade to warm gold. Contrary to Emerald, however, it shows only few inclusions.

Iron and uranium in combination are responsible for the fresh and invigorating green-yellow of another Beryl variety, of Heliodor. The stone has been aptly named, for "helios” is the Greek word for "sun” and "doron” denotes a gift. Heliodor is thus a gift from the sun to all mankind.


From time to time there are Beryl's without such traces of elements lending colour to the stone. In these cases we end up with "simply” colourless Beryl, which is named Goshenite in the trade according to its occurrence in Goshen in Massachusetts/USA. Colourless Beryl is rare and of little importance as gemstone. However, its history is quite important, for it is considered to be responsible for the German word "Brille”, denoting spectacles. Even in antiquity it was originally used for the lenses of spectacles.


The name Beryl as such originally is rooted in India. Based on the Sanskrit word "veruliyam" – an old term for the gemstone Chrysoberyl – from these roots there later developed the Greek word "beryllos".


Beryl's are popular gemstones, and not only because of their gorgeous colours. They also convince because of their high brilliance and their excellent hardness of 7.5 making them very suited for everyday wear. The typical hexagonal crystal structure of Beryl's with usually vertically striped surfaces are mainly mined in the South American occurrences and in Middle and Western Africa. However, they are also found on Madagascar, in Russia and the Ukraine and in the USA . The skilled hands of expert gemstone cutters turn them into a wide range of many-faceted shapes. Especially popular cuts for Beryl's are rectangular or square step cuts, since a clear design will succeed in best bringing out the transparent beauty of this multi-coloured gemstone family.




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