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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dom Pedro Aquamarine

Photograph of the Dom Pedro Aquamarine (NMNH G10690).
Photo by Donald E. Hurlbert. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10690-00
Locality Minas Gerais, Brazil
Weight 10,363 ct

Gift of Ms. Jane Mitchell and Jeffrey S. Bland in 2011.

The Dom Pedro Aquamarine was cut from an enormous aquamarine found in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. The lozenge-shaped cuts in the back of the obelisk reflect light such that the crystal seems to glow from within.

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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