Dive into the Microcosm of Beryl

April 28, 2024

The beryl group of beryllium silicate minerals currently contains six member species, all of which have a hexagonal crystal structure: beryl, pezzottaite, bazzite, avdeevite, stoppaniite, and the most recent member, johnkoivulaite, which was named as a new mineral in 2019 (Palke et al., 2019) after GIA’s analytical microscopist, John Koivula.

As faceted gems, beryl and pezzottaite are the most commonly encountered species. Beryl is the most common beryllium-containing mineral (London, 2008) and often forms in pegmatitic environments or as a product of metasomatism. Also possible is a unique set of conditions in which beryl can crystallize from magma-derived gases and groundwater, as in the case of the red beryl deposit in the state of Utah (Shigley et al., 2003)

Beryl gems include blue aquamarine (see above), golden beryl, red beryl, pink morganite, colorless goshenite, as well as Maxixe beryl, which is commonly dark blue with an unstable color. Emerald is the green variety of beryl colored by chromium and/or vanadium. Pezzottaite was first discovered in a granitic pegmatite in Madagascar in 2002 (Laurs et al., 2003). This unique bright pink beryl mineral has high cesium and lithium contents, which differentiate it as a unique beryl-group mineral.

Learn more about this topic by Nathan Renfro, Tyler Smith, John I. Koivula, Shane F. McClure, Kevin Schumacher, and James E. Shigley, as seen in Gems & Gemology, Winter 2023, Vol. 59, No. 4.

Read the complete article here.

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