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Beryl (var. morganite)

Cushion-cut pink beryl (var. morganite) weighing 448.64 ct.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11403-00
Locality Minas Gerais, Brazil
Weight 448.64 ct

Gift of Tricia and Michael Berns in 2011.

The mineral beryl has many beautiful gem varieties: intense green emerald, blue to blue-green aquamarine, golden yellow heliodor, rare red beryl, and pink morganite. Beryl, in its pure form, is colorless. The rich hues of its gems are caused by a variety of impurity atoms that were incorporated in the crystals as they grew. Morganite, or pink beryl, gets its delicate hue from trace quantities of manganese. Morganite ranges in color from pink or rose to peach to light violet. In 1911, it was named by the renowned gemologist George F. Kunz after his patron, financier J. P. Morgan. Madagascar is famous for its deep pink morganite gems, but many fine stones are found in Brazil, Afghanistan, and California. The National Museum of Natural History has an extensive display of beryl gems and minerals. This magnificent gem faceted by Elvis “Buzz” Gray weighs 448.64ct and is a modified cushion cut. It is from Brazil and is the finest and largest morganite in the National Gem Collection to date.

About beryl

The mineral beryl has many beautiful gem varieties: intense green emerald, blue to blue-green aquamarine, golden yellow heliodor, rare red beryl, and pink morganite. Beryl, in its pure form, is colorless. The rich hues of its gems are caused by a variety of impurity atoms that were incorporated in the crystals as they grew. When beryl is green, but not intense enough in color to be called emerald, it is simply called green beryl. The various shades of green beryl can range from light green to yellowish or bluish green and are due to impurities of iron.  Aquamarine, as the name suggests, exhibits the variable color of the sea. Its color depends on the relative amounts of impurities of iron in two different chemical states (Fe+2 and Fe+3). Aquamarine ranges in color from light blue to a pure blue and to shades of greenish-blue. The yellow glow of heliodor is due to impurities of iron. Heliodor gets its name from two Greek words meaning sun and gift. Morganite, or pink beryl, gets it delicate hue from trace quantities of manganese. Morganite ranges in color from pink or rose to peach to light violet. It was named by the renowned gemologist George F. Kunz after his patron, financier J. P. Morgan.The National Museum of Natural History has an extensive collection of beryl gems and minerals on exhibit.

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