About the Mineral Beryl



green beryl mineral on display in a museum cabinet


Beryl is a natural mineral that comes in many different varieties but as a gemstone in its own right, it's relatively unknown.  In its purest form beryl is colourless but various impurities which occur during its formation transform it into different shades of red, green, yellow and blue. The blue variety of beryl is known as aquamarine and green is emerald.  Having said that not all green beryl has the right to be called emerald and there are strict guidelines to check a stone's eligibility.  If its colour is not evenly spread, intense enough or the shade of green is too light, it will simply be known as green beryl.

When pink beryl is cut as a gemstone it's known as morganite, the greenish to yellow coloured stone is heliodor and gemstones void of colour are known as goshenite.  Red beryl which is by far the rarest was once known as bixbite but the name was later removed due to possible confusion with another mineral of a similar name that also happened to be discovered by the same mineralogist.  The colour of red beryl is caused by trace amounts of manganese and it's one of the world's rarest minerals which can only be found in a few locations worldwide. 

Prior to 1969 beryl was the primary ore of the chemical element beryllium but since then this exceptionally light weight steely grey coloured metal has mostly been extracted from bertrandite. Although it can also be found in a number of other minerals, most of them are extremely rare.

Gemstones cut from the mineral beryl are highly sought after and many of the world's largest and flawless specimens can be found in various museum collections.

Beryl which grades 7½ to 8 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness is believed to have been one of the stones in the ephod or high priest's breastplate.  This religious garment is spoken about in the bible and was worn by the Jewish high priest.

Although aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for the month of October beryl is also considered to be acceptable because it's basically the same stone. 

Beryl is mined primarily in Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and the United States.

The green beryl in our photo is from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil and is currently on display in London's Natural History Museum.   The photo was taken by Stone Mania during one of our many visits.



clickable shopping trolley



Further Reading:
Beryl on Wikipedia