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Article: Beryl


General Information and Characteristics of Beryl

  • Beryl is a mineral composed of beryllium aluminum silicate with the chemical formula Be.
  • Well-known varieties of beryl include emerald and aquamarine.
  • Beryl can be colorless or tinted by impurities, resulting in colors such as green, blue, yellow, pink, and red.
  • It is naturally occurring and can form hexagonal crystals up to several meters in size.
  • Beryl belongs to the hexagonal crystal system and typically forms hexagonal columns.
  • Beryl has a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.

Formation and Occurrence of Beryl

  • Beryl is formed through the crystallization of magma or hydrothermal processes.
  • It occurs in pegmatites, granite, and metamorphic rocks.
  • Beryl is commonly found in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, Russia, and the United States.
  • The largest emerald deposits are found in Colombia, while the largest aquamarine deposits are found in Brazil.

Uses and Applications of Beryl

  • Beryl is primarily used as a gemstone in jewelry.
  • Emerald, the green variety of beryl, is highly valued and considered one of the most precious gemstones.
  • Aquamarine, the blue variety of beryl, is also popular in jewelry.
  • Beryl is sometimes used as a raw material for the production of industrial materials such as abrasives and electrical components.
  • Beryl crystals are also collected and appreciated by mineral enthusiasts.

Gemological Properties of Beryl

  • Beryl has a refractive index ranging from 1.56 to 1.60 and a specific gravity of 2.63 to 2.80.
  • The color of beryl can be influenced by impurities such as chromium (green), iron (blue), and manganese (pink).
  • Beryl can exhibit pleochroism, meaning it can show different colors when viewed from different angles.
  • The clarity of beryl can vary, with some stones being almost flawless and others containing visible inclusions.

Interesting Facts and Health Impact of Beryl

  • The name 'beryl' is derived from the Greek word 'beryllos,' which means 'precious blue-green color of sea water.'
  • Beryl is a beryllium compound and a known carcinogen with acute toxic effects when inhaled.
  • Exposure to beryllium can lead to pneumonitis and berylliosis.
  • Caution must be exercised during mining, handling, and refining of beryl.
  • Red beryl, also known as bixbite, is one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones, with only a few known sources in Utah and New Mexico.

Beryl Data Sources

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