Beryl is a term which applied to a group of gemstones of different colors, such as Emerald (Deep-Green Beryl), Aquamarine (Bluish-Green Beryl), Heliodor (Golden Beryl), Goshenite (Colorless Beryl), Morganite (Rose Beryl) and Red Beryl. However, Chrysoberyl is an entirely different gemstone and has no relation to Beryl.
In spite of the difference in color, all these gems possess the same qualities, such as hardness (7,5 – 8/10, according to the Mohs Scale), optical properties, physical & chemical properties, etc.
Our ancestors knew Beryl, according to numerous sources. They obtained it from India, Middle East, and Russia (Siberia). The Ancient Greeks used Beryl more than 2000 years ago for engraving.
The crystals of Beryl possess dichroism. As a result, they are capable of demonstrating different colors under the different angle. It is one of the primary virtues that differ the genuine Beryl from the inferior imitations. On the other hand, Beryl doesn’t possess such brilliancy as Diamond due to weak double refraction and dispersion. However, the shine of Beryl is more visible under the artificial light. Hence, as a rule, Beryl is the so-called “evening gem.”
Common Beryl is not a valuable gemstone, excepting its precious variety, Emerald. Therefore, it is in the group of semi-precious stones. Emerald, in turn, ranks next to Diamond. Moreover, the flawless Emerald is more valuable than the latter. The typical specimens of Beryl are clouded and fractured. Thus, they not fit for jewelry purposes. That’s why some noticeable varieties of this gemstone are separated in different groups of semi-precious and precious stones.
The most valuable specimens of Emerald come from Bogota, Colombia. These mines have developed since 1558. They belong to the Colombian government. In the 16th century, this country was the primary source of Emeralds. Another spot locates close to Ekaterinburg, Russia. The specimens obtained here are larger than their South American rivals. The deposits of this gem are in the Upper Egypt as well. The ancients knew this spot for centuries.
The deposits of Aquamarine are located in India, Brazil, United States, and Russia. These mines produce Beryls of immense size. Numerous specimens are now in various museums around the globe. For instance, one specimen of Beryl obtained in Brazil has a weight of 225 Troy Ounces. Another remarkable example stored in the Field Columbian Museum has a weight of 331 karats.
The principal deposits of Golden Beryl chiefly located in the United States, Sri Lanka, and Russia. Beryl of pale rose color is quite rare. Colorless Beryl is mined at Hebron and Maine. This variety of Beryl possesses excellent brilliance.
In the Middle Ages, people called Beryl “the pleasant stone.” There was a belief that Beryl helps its wearer to acquire such talents as clairvoyance, foreknowledge as well as afflatus.