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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
The mineral beryl occurs in many colors. The best known gem varieties are the deep-green emerald and the sea-blue aquamarine. However, beryl also is found in shades of pink (morganite), red, and yellow (heliodor), and in some cases is colorless (goshenite). The heliodor gems and crystal shown here are from Tajikistan and exhibit a deeply saturated golden-yellow color. The gems were faceted by award winning gemcutter David Brackna. The 56.62 carat heliodor is a skewed lozenge cut; the 30.70 carat gem is faceted in a Turkish star having the effect of facets reflecting off of each other. The heliodor crystal exhibits the natural shape of beryl. These are beautiful examples of heliodors from a locality not previously represented in the National Gem Collection.
denotes specimens currently on exhibit
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