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BerylYou've no doubt heard of emeralds and aquamarines. But are you familiar with morganite and heliodor? They are all gem varieties of the same mineral - beryl. Colorless when pure, beryl consists of atoms of beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. The various tints come from traces of different impurities.
Hover over color tiles above to learn what this object tells us about the history of the Earth
About this object
Impurities of iron in different chemical states are responsible for the colors in these aquamarines and green beryls from Brazil, ranging in weight from 911 to 2,054 carats. When beryl is a rich blue to blue-green color, the gem is called aquamarine. If the beryl is green, but not an intense rich green to be called emerald, the gem is simply called beryl. The 1,000 carat emerald cut aquamarine (pictured upper left), known as the Most Precious, was a gift of Evyan Perfumes in 1963. The 2,054 carat yellowish-green rectangular step cut beryl and the 914 carat modified round brilliant cut green beryl were cut by John Sinkankas. The other two beryls in the photograph are a deep blue step cut aquamarine weighing 911 carats, and a yellowish-green square step cut beryl weighing 1,363 carats.
denotes specimens currently on exhibit
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