Mineral Family: Cyclosilicates

Chemical Composition: Al2 Be3 [Si6 O18].
Cleavage: Indistinct
Color: Blue, blue-green
Crystal System: Hexagonal
Form/Habit: Prismatic
Fracture: Conchoidal, uneven, brittle
Gravity: 2.68-2.74
Hardness: 7.5-8
Luminescence: Green, weak (short and long waves)
Luster: Vitreous
Streak: White
Transparency: Transparent to opaque

Where does Beryl come from?

Beryl Placeholder

Beryls are found around the world in a variety of colors.  They are usually found in small scatter deposits, but Emerald is found in large deposits in Afghanistan, Colombia, United States, and Zambia.

  • Aquamarine comes from Afghanistan, Angola, Austria, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, United States and Vietnam
  • Emerald comes from Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Columbia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Madagascar, Russia, United States, and Zambia
  • Morganite comes from Afghanistan, Brazil, Italy, and the United States.

What is Beryl?

Beryls are a type of Silicate mineral. Silicate minerals are the largest family of minerals, including more than 25% of all known minerals and 40% of all common minerals. In addition to being a major part of the Earth’s crust, Silicate minerals have also been found on the moon and in meteorites. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedron – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the four corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form various minerals and rocks. There are six main groups of Silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz, Feldspar, and Beryl. Beryl is a unique family in that all of its members are considered “gemstones.” Green Beryl is called Emerald, blue is Aquamarine, pink is Morganite, and yellow is Heliodore.

How is Beryl formed?

Aquamarine is typically formed in igneous rocks, particularly Granite. On rare occasions, it is found in sedimentary rocks such as Shale or Limestone. Beryl crystals form as columnar, hexagonal prisms. Aquamarine forms larger and more transparent crystals than Emerald or other Beryl varieties. Its rich blue color is imparted by trace amounts of iron in colorless Beryl.

Beryls are typically formed in igneous rocks like Granite, as well as their associated pegmatite dikes, mica schists and gneisses. On rare occasions, beryl may be found in sedimentary rocks such as shale or limestone. Beryl crystals form as columnar, hexagonal prisms.  Beryl is a colorless gem, unless there are trace elements within it.  In the case of Emerald, it’s rich green color comes from the presence of chromium.  Aquamarine gets its color from iron, while Morganite contains Manganese.

How is Beryl mined?

Beryl is mined at its primary deposit, still in in relationship with the host rock.  Most Beryl mining is a byproduct of mining Feldspar, Mica, or Granite, but Morganite is sometimes related to lithium mining.  Beryls are most likely to be found in small veins or on the walls of cavities.  These deposits are often found deep underground.

How is Beryl enhanced?

Many of the Beryls used in fine jewelry have been heat-treated to bring out a more vivid color.  Heat-treatments can be done at lapidaries, but are sometimes done directly at the mine.  Lab-created Beryls are also not uncommon.  By contrast, tumbled Beryls and collector’s pieces are typically fully natural, enhanced only by cutting and polishing