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?