The Beryl family of minerals includes many different colorful precious stones, including Emerald and Aquamarine.
The Beryl family
The name Beryl derives from the Greek word ‘berillos’, meaning ‘blue-green’ gem.
Chemical composition of Beryl
Beryl is a member of the Silicate class, noted for its many varieties of highly valued gemstones.
There are numerous deposits, including mines in South America, Africa and Pakistan.
The history of Beryl
The Beryl family includes, among other gemstones, Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, Goshenite, Bixbite, Heliodor and Yellow Beryl. The Juwelo gemstone dictionary also includes more in-depth entries for Aquamarine, Emerald and Morganite.
Properties of Beryl
Beryl is an allochromatic gem, meaning other colored. A pure Beryl is therefore transparent, while the characteristic colorations are caused by colored elements that are not part of the normal crystalline structure. Beryl is renowned for its perfect hexagonal crystals with six-sided prisms. Beryls may be cut in different shapes; there are preferred cuts for some varieties, such as the Emerald cut, designed exclusively for this variety of Beryl.
Some Beryls display phenomena such as Asterism (star effect) and Chatoyancy (Cat’s Eye effect).
Beryls have a hardness of between 7.5 and 8 on Moh’s scale.
Varieties of Beryl
The Beryl family encompasses six varieties of gemstone, grouped by their characteristic coloration:
Aquamarine – blue to green tones
Read more about Aquamarine
Bixbite – intense red (very rare variety)
Emerald - green
Read more about Emerald
Heliodor – light yellow to orange
Morganite – light peach pink
Read more about Morganite
Goshenite – transparent / white
All other chromatic varieties of Beryl are named for their color (e.g. Yellow Beryl).