Gem/Gem Topic of the Month

Each month this section will feature either a topic of interest to gem lovers or one special gemstone with background on the material and its value.

Go to: Homepage -- what's new in faceted gems -- what's new in designer cabochons and gem carvings -- gem of the month -- gem of the month archive -- birthstone of the month -- key to all the codes used on the ACS site -- definitions of terms used on the ACS site -- how to order -- about ACS -- about the ACS cutters -- settings for these gems --faceting information -- purchase UltraTec equipment

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December, 1997 (Revised, August, 2004)

Red Beryl

Discovered in the late 1970's and still found in gem quality at only one site in the world, the Wah-Wah Mountains of Utah, red beryl, or bixbite, is one of the world's rarest and most desirable gemstones. Typically as included as its fellow-beryl, emerald, few crystals approach gem quality. Most specimens of fine crystals are zealously guarded by mineral collectors and are never faceted.

Found in white volcanic rhyolite; its color is contributed by cesium and manganese. Fewer than 10,000 stones are cut per year with more 95% of those being melee, mostly in lower grades. Various commercial mining ventures, in the past, have had sporadic success in producing stones, but a new enterprise, using more modern methods, is doing better. Red beryl remains, though, one of the most expensive of all colored gems. In recent years Russian synthetic red beryl has come on the market.


Value Factors

The great rarity of this material and its popularity with collectors means that almost any sized piece in any clarity and color grade can find a ready buyer. The best stones would have a raspberry pink to slightly purplish red color and be no more than slightly included. The rule of exponential increase with increase in size decidedly applies to this gem so often found in sub carat sizes. Cut is an afterthought, value-wise, in this material as cutters seek to produce the largest possible gem from their rough so windowed stones with poor proportions are in the majority.


Gemological Data:

Formula: Be3Al2Si6O18 (+Mn, +Cs)

Crystallography: Hexagonal

Luster: Vitreous

Hardness: 7.5 - 8

Cleavage: Indistinct.

Fracture: conchoidal to uneven

Density: 2.66 - 2.70

RI: 1.58 - 1.59

All text and images, unless otherwise designated, © 2004 Barbara Smigel

 

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Go to: Homepage -- what's new in faceted gems -- what's new in designer cabochons and gem carvings -- gem of the month -- gem of the month archive -- birthstone of the month -- key to all the codes used on the ACS site -- definitions of terms used on the ACS site -- how to order -- about ACS -- about the ACS cutters -- settings for these gems --faceting information -- purchase UltraTec equipment

-- Mail to barry@acstones.com