A to Z 2022, Blog

B Is For Beryl – #atozchallenge

B is for Beryl

Welcome to the idea that imperfections are beautiful! Such is the case with the mineral beryl.

In its purest form, beryl is colorless (goshenite). It is only when impurities are introduced the color forms and the mineral is more desirable. Now if people were more like that!

When impurities occur as beryl is formed, they introduce color into the naturally colorless beryl. These minerals are then better known by their gemstone names:

  • Emerald (deep green – from chromium impurities)
  • Aquamarine (blue – from ferrous iron impurities)
  • Green Beryl (light green – from vanadium impurities)
  • Red Beryl (red – from manganese impurities)
  • Morganite (pink – from manganese impurities)
  • Heliodor (yellow – from ferric iron impurities)

All Beryl is 7.5-8 on to MoHs scale. I should have mentioned this yesterday, but the Mohs scale was introduced by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1822. It is the standard for most mineral identification. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest (diamond).

Aquamarine Beryl (A Hexagonal Crystal)

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, Beryl-209736, CC BY-SA 3.0

Beryl contains aluminum which is toxic, but there is some disagreement about the toxicity of working with beryl. The amounts are so small that they might not be dangerous. Always be safe when cutting gems – wear a respirator. Better to be safe than sorry.

Curious about prices? High quality emeralds range from $13,000 – $65,000 for a 6×9 mm stone. Aquamarine in the same size ranged $262 to $987. Morganites $262 – $2,000. From my sources I can purchase a lesser quality emerald for about $500 and a morganite or an aquamarine (although both have been irradiated or heat treated to improve the color) for under $100.

I have not set any of these stones. They are a bit out of my price range for now.

The Smithsonian has a large number of examples of beryl on exhibit. Click here for the catalog and be sure to click on their images in order to see them full size.

Which Beryl gemstone calls to you?


40 thoughts on “B Is For Beryl – #atozchallenge”

    1. The science is so interesting, Sadje. Emerald is birthstone, but yet I do not own anything with an emerald stone! Maybe I should work on that.

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  1. My father had a wooden book with rock samples, each in a separate compartment. He must have got it from university. The one thing I remember was the smell. Many of the samples had very distinct odors.

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    1. I would love to see that, Leon. Yes, rocks and minerals do have smells – especially when grinding them. Some of those smells could be toxic, too!

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  2. I have never heard of this stone, but it’s pretty and I like the information. Most likely unrelated, but a burl is an often sought after imperfection on trees. The grain and color are different from the normal wood. Small burls are used for lathe work. Large ones are usually sliced into veneers. I made a small Queen Anne table (top) from Elm burl veneers. It’s amazing, how imperfections can become beautiful.

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    1. Dan, thank you for your observation. I am familiar with burl wood – it is quite beautiful. I would love to see the table top you made. Veneers must be glued to another surface, correct? Imperfections are what makes life interesting.


    1. Beryl is the base mineral from which several gemstones are formed. It is quite remarkable. What an interesting artist and I love Beryl as a name.

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  3. Such an interesting post! I had no idea beryl is naturally colorless. My favorite, of course, is emerald. Not because it’s the most expensive but because it’s green.

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      1. I do have tiny sapphires in my engagement ring that was made by local craftspeople in 1987. I look forward to S in your series.


  4. Typo second paragraph, I think: t is only when impurities are introduced ttea color forms. I am learning about gems after spending a year walking beaches with a friend who loves the clear agates! Enjoying your A to Z, hope you stop by mine!

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    1. Hello and welcome and thanks for the catch! I learn something new in this field every day. I consider myself such a neophyte. Agates are so beautiful. I can understand why your friend likes them so much.

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