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Diamonds, Gem, Gemstone & Crystal


40 Beryl colors

As much as we love Diamonds, Gem, Gemstone & Crystal, we’re also in love with colored stones and gems like aquamarines and morganite, which can range from peach to lavender in color, are becoming more and more prevalent in gemstone jewelry.

Beryl is the mineral from which emeralds are created. But beryl comes in a variety of colors, making it a versatile gem. Morganite is probably the most popular of the other beryls. It has a pastel pink to peach or lavender which is similar in intensity to the blue of aquamarine. Morganite has been marketed as "Pink Emerald" and "Pink Aquamarine" to emphasize the kinship to its popular cousins. It was first discovered in California. It was also discovered in 1908 in Madagascar. There are also deposits in Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Russia. However, morganite is relatively rare, which stands in the way of it becoming a jewelry stone.

Heliodor, or golden beryl, is named after the Greek words for sun - helios - and gift - doron. The sunny yellow color of this beryl lives up to its name. Heliodor was discovered in Namibia in 1910 in a pegmatite that also produced aquamarine, which is also colored by iron. Heliodor is also found in Brazil and Madagascar. The largest faceted heliodor, 2,054 carats, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Red beryl is the rarest member of the beryl family. It is mined in only one place: the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah. The color is stoplight red. Unfortunately this deposit produces only a small quantity of this gem. Most of the gems produced are under a carat in size, and many have inclusions. Specimens that are over a carat and clean are fantastically rare and are priced as such.

Colorless beryl, which is also known as goshenite, is also relatively rare. It is named after a deposit where it was found in Goshen, Massachusetts. The Greeks used colorless beryl as lenses; the first spectacles were probably beryl.


39 Beryl

The beryl is the family of crystal that creates emeralds and aquamarines, when its color is green or blue-green, respectively. Red beryl is bixbite or red emerald or scarlet emerald, pink beryl is morganite, white beryl is goshenite, and a clear bright yellow beryl is called golden beryl. Other shades such as yellow-green for heliodor and honey yellow are common. It can also come in violet.

The earliest known source of emerald was near the Red Sea in Egypt, the so-called Cleopatra's emerald mines. They were probably worked from about 2000 B.C., apparently the location of them was lost in the middle ages, and not rediscovered until 1818. Most emeralds used in ancient jewelry are believed to have come from these mines. They are not worked nowadays because of the low quality of crystals found.
Emeralds have been found in Austria since Roman times; these are no longer commercially mined.

Columbia is generally recognized as the source of the world's finest quality emeralds, both in the past and the present. The Columbian Indians were using them before 1537, when Quesada conquered Columbia. Russia has been another important source of emeralds in the past. Emeralds were discovered in Australia in 1890 in New South Wales. Emeralds were discovered between1927 and 1929 in South Africa, followed by other sources. Another important source of superb quality emeralds, usually only of small size, is in Zimbabwe formerly Southern Rhodesia. These were discovered only in 1956. Emeralds were known in India from antiquity, but their source is not certain. The quality of Indian emeralds is very variable, but most are polished as beads. Other sources of emerald include Norway, North Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, although none of these are very important. But if you’re vacationing in any of those states, we best you’ll keep your eyes peeled for any stray beryls!


29 American Topaz

The world’s largest cut topaz, called the American Topaz, resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. A 172-faceted topaz weighing 22,892.50 carats (5785 kg), it’s the largest cut yellow topaz in the world, and one of the largest faceted gems of any kind in the world. Originating from Minais Gerais, Brazil, it was cut over a period of two years. It was purchased by the Rockhound Hobbyists of America and presented to the Smithsonian Institution in 1988.

As stunning as this cut topaz is, another display at the Smithsonian is equally dazzling and awe-inspiring. That’s a sherry-colored topaz “spray” from the Thomas Range in Utah. This color of topaz can be found in Mexico and Utah, but when it’s exposed to sunlight, will become clear.

Other spectacular displays of natural crystals include a cluster of Stibnite, an ore of antimony, which has a bright metallic luster. This spectacular group of crystals is from Iyo, Japan and look like something from Superman’s home!

Another huge mineral in the exhibit is the Smithsonite, named for James Smithson, who bequeathed the funds to establish the Smithsonian Institution. He first discovered this greenish zinc carbonate mineral from the Kelly Mine in New Mexico.

Some of the other don’t miss items in the Smithsonian’s Gem Collection are the Smithsonian Canary Diamond, a huge canary and diamond ring. The 98.6-carat Bismarck Sapphire is also part of the collection and is one of the world’s largest sapphires. It originally came from Sri Lanka. It’s also fascinating to see some of these gems in their raw uncut state, such as the large corundrum crystal which is the mineral that sapphires are made of, and a very large beryl crystal, from which the emerald and aquamarine family of stones is derived.


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