Beryl is one of the most important major gemstone families (along with the Quartz, and Garnet families). Many well-known gemstones fall into the Beryl family, with the most famous one being Emerald. Aquamarine and Morganite are two other popular forms of Beryl that are somewhat known among the general public. Beryls make excellent for excellent jewelry gemstones due to excellent hardness and the wide range of colors they come in.
Etymology & Sources
The term Beryl can be traced through French and Latin to the Greek word ‘Beryllos’ which referred to some kind of ‘precious blue-green seawater colored stone’. Beryl can be found in wide variety of locales depending on the specific variety under discussion – some forms of Beryl are rarer and some are more common. Brazil is a well-known source for a range of varieties of high quality Beryl, but Beryl deposits of various kinds can be found in a whole host of places.
Depending on the specific variety of Beryl, the color of the gemstone can range from the green of emerald, through the blue-green or blue of Aquamarine, all the way to the pink of Morganite or the extremely rare red form of Beryl known as Bixbite. The complete range of colors that Beryl can come in includes green, blue, pink, red, yellow/brown, purple, and clear. Beryl with good clarity that is suitable for gemstones is sometimes called ‘Precious Beryl’, which is a blanket term that can describe any variety. There is also plenty of Beryl that is not suitable for gemstone use, and the mineral can range from transparent to Opaque, and has a vitreous luster.
One of the reasons that Beryl is such a popular and widespread jewelry gemstone is due to its high hardness – it stands at 7.5-8.0 on the mohs scale. Beryl has a Refractive Index value of 1.57-1.58 and density of 2.6-2.8.
Thanks to its excellent hardness, Beryl is an extremely popular for use in jewelry. More or less any form of jewelry can be made from Beryl, and Emerald and Aquamarine are particularly popular among the general public. The pink form, Morganite, is also gaining popularity. Because it can withstand significant wear and tear, Beryl is a great choice for rings, particularly engagement rings which need to last a long time. It’s also suitable for any other kind of jewelry – necklaces, pendants, bracelets – more or less any jewelry application is suitable. High quality beryl, particularly of the emerald variety, should be faceted into the traditional gemstone shapes – and fancier cuts like heart shapes or trillians are also quite popular. Typically, only lower quality material or varieties that display some special property (such as chatoyancy or asterism) will be cut en cabochon.
For more in depth information about each variety check out our page about the Beryl Gemstone Family
Emerald – Valuable and popular green variety
Aquamarine – Probably second most well-known after Emerald, light or sea-blue beryl
Morganite – Pink variety of the gemstone that is gaining in popularity
Heliodor – Yellow/Yellow-green variety, also known as Golden Beryl
Goshenite – Clear/colorless variety (actually the most natural form of the mineral)
Red Beryl – Very rare form of Beryl, sometimes also known as Bixbite
Beryl treatments can vary based on the specific variety – please see the pages about each specific variety to learn more about the typical treatments for each.