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Beryl Facts and Buying Guide

Beryl Facts and Buying Guide

by Shweta Dhanuka

Beryl, the name is derived from the Greek word “beryllos” that refers to a number of blue-green stones in antiquity. The word “beryllos” was derived from the Sanskrit word veruliyam. Thus, it can be said that initially the name Beryl originated from India. It is the name of the mineral group consisting many different coloured gemstones.

All the gems of this silicate family are adored a lot since many years. High brilliance and hardness makes all its gems as the most admired and preferred stones for the jewelry items. This article proffers the important facts and details about the Beryl family in order to assist the buyers in making the right purchase of the stones and its jewelry. All the general characteristics are discussed like 4Cs, occurrence, source, use etc. These properties are in respect to Beryl group at large and not specific to any of its varieties.

Colour

This is a multi-colored group occurring in diverse colours. The obtainable colours of this family are colorless, green, sea blue, violet, pink, red, blue, yellow and golden. Few other colours are gray, purple, brown and white. The change in colour appears when the change in the presence of impurity takes place in the chemical composition. The impurities are usually the metallic oxides. This characteristic ‘colour’ is quite unique for this group as it offers special identification to all the gemstones. Mostly all the colours are intense and bright. On the basis of colour it is segregated into various varieties.

Varieties

As mentioned above, this mineral exists in many different varieties. Few are popular gemstones, known by its name itself while the rest are not much in use and are not recognized by the common man. The gems only differ in colour, rest chemical and physical properties are very much alike. Below are discussed the eminent varieties that have already created waves in the gemstone trade market.

Emerald

It is the only precious stone in the group. It possession of this gemstone symbolizes high status and association with the royal families. It consists of bright green colour. Green colour occurs as a result of the presence of impurity of chromium in the chemical composition. The best quality of emerald is procured from Minas Gerais at Brazil, the Ural Mountains of Russia, Cobra and Somerset Mines in Transvaal, South Africa and Muzo & Chivor mines at Colombia.

Aquamarine

It is sea blue in colour. Due to its water blue charm colour it is treasured a lot all over the world. This blue colour appears because of the iron impurity in the chemical mixture of the crystal. The superior quality gems are procured from the land of gems and metal – Brazil. This country produces maximum amount of aquamarine gemstones near the places where volcanic activity takes place.

Morganite

It is a semi precious stone pink in colour. Small traces of manganese in the chemical composition gives this tender pink colour to the stone. This gemstone could attain the popularity very quickly in the gemstone market but unfortunately due to its rare occurrence it is relatively still unknown to many gemstone lovers.Heliodor – It is also known as golden beryl and possess yellow/golden colour. This colour appears due to the existence of uranium and little amount of iron in the composition. The name of this gem is derived from two Greek words viz. helios and doron that means sun and gift respectively. It is mostly collected as a gemstone and used rarely for making jewelry items.

Bixbite

It is deep red in colour. It occurs very rarely amongst all the members in the entire beryl family. The Wah Wah Mountains in Utah is the hole and sole producer of this exceptional gemstone. The quantity obtained from this only source is also quite less and all the acquired stones is less than a carat in weight. It is yet to be recognized globally. This stone is not worn as gemstone rather it only collected by the stone collectors.

Goshenite

It is the purest form of beryl occurring colorless. It owes its name after a deposit where it was found that is Goshen, Massachusetts. It is believed that the first spectacle lenses were made from this stone. Few states of USA are the finest producer of this gemstone.

Cut

This mineral is quite hard thus; experienced hands of gemstone cutters twirl them into a multitude of many-faceted shapes. Still cutting is a challenging job for them as a brilliant good cut enhances the overall beauty of the stone. The most preferred cut for this group are rectangular, square step cut, marquise, princess cut, oval and emerald cut.

Clarity

This mineral possess vitreous luster and is transparent in nature. Due to the presence of high inclusions in the crystal the transparency seems to be translucent or opaque instead of transparent. Flaws are bound to be present in the crystal and sometimes act as important identification of natural stones from the synthetic or man made stones.

Carat weight

Most of the members (varieties) are found in large crystal sizes as rough. The obtained rough undergoes the necessary gemstone processing and polishing. After this prerequisite process is completed, the stones of different carat weight are created in order to match all the price range. Emerald being a precious stone is very expensive thus it is preferred of smaller carat weight. While Aquamarine and Morganite are semi precious stones and cost less than Emerald so relatively larger carat weight gems are created.

Price

Like all the other precious and semi precious gemstones, the price is determined on the basis of four vital Cs that is colour, cut, clarity and carat weight. Deep, intense colour is priced maximum. A bight colour in a brilliant cut further increases the cost of the stone. Lastly, increase in the clarity (fewer inclusions and flaws present in the stone) and carat weight results in higher price. Therefore, when all 4 Cs are at its best then the stone would fetch highest price.

Occurrence

It is found in the veins and pegmatite of igneous rock in the form of hexagonal prisms with flat or elongated. Limestone and hydrothermal deposits also holds fair amount of beryl in it. All the varieties of this group are silicates that are composed of silicon and oxygen (SiO4). Different varieties occur due to the presence of impurities of other elements in the chemical composition but the prime elements remains silicon and oxygen only.

Source

It is found in the mines located in every region of the world. Egypt, Austria, Africa, Pakistan, Ireland, Germany, Brazil and Russia are few countries that yield reasonable amount of Beryl. Other countries to produce this mineral are Colombia, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and Nigeria. Mines at Mungo, Baltistan, Pakistan, United States of America, South Africa and United Kingdom also offer different members of Beryl family.

Enhancement

Almost all the varieties of this multi-colored group are heat treated to enhance the colour. Similarly, oil treatment is used for reducing the flaws and fractures. For the oil treatments colorless cedar oil, colorless Canadian balsam, opticon and other natural/synthetic oils or resins are used. Especially for Emeralds green dye is considered for dying to improve the colour.

Imitations

This is quite valued mineral group thereby imitations are bound to exist in the gemstone market. There are many clever dealers who sell lab created synthetic gemstones under the fancy names at the price of genuine gemstones. Imitations of Emerald and Aquamarine are flooded in the jewelry shops. Buyers need to be extra careful and cautious while making the purchases of Beryl gemstones.

Uses

This mineral is used to procure an important element know as beryllium. It was also called as glucinium in earlier days. Beryllium is a tough metal used to strengthen the metals when mixed with alloys. All the varieties of this diverse colored group are valuable and cherished gemstones widely used for creating exquisite ornaments. Jewelry designers fashion astonishing designs using these stones. 18K yellow gold, white gold, platinum and sterling silver is used for making the different jewelry pieces. Depending upon the designs the stones of different carat weight are selected.

Precautions

It is quite hard mineral and so are all its various colored stones varieties. It is rated 7.5-8 Mohs on the hardness scale. As such no specific precautions are to be taken but still the stones could not be taken for granted. All the forms can be used for the daily jewelry wear however a little care is desired for the longer retention of the stone. A sharp blow or hard hit may result in the split of the stone into two.
It should be cleaned with warm soapy water and soft bristle brush. After cleaning, the water must be completely wiped off and no trace of detergent/soap should be left else it might result in allergic reaction or dermatitis. Cleaning agents with chlorine should be avoided and also ultrasonic home cleaner.

All Beryls are highly sensitive to heat and high temperature. Thus, special care needs to be taken while repairing the jewelry items holding these stones. The stones need to be layered with borax or proprietary heat-shielding material at the time of performing the soldering work on the jewelry piece. Similarly, jeweler torch should be used with utmost care else the high heat emitted from the torch might ruin the valuable stone mounted in the jewelry item. Metals used for making jewelry must be always more than 18 karat in order to have better appeal and life of the stones.

The gems of this mineral group had made the women very beautiful and men more powerful since ancient times and it continues to maintain its outstanding charm in this present era as well. For so many years these stones had positively influenced the lives of the many people. Almost all gemstone lovers carry a deep desire to own these Beryl gems. Many of them must have already experienced the allure of these splendid gemstones in their personal and professional lives. If you too wish to acquire similar powers and beauty then plan and act to possess these astounding Beryl gems today!!

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