AQUAMARINE (BERYL) MINERAL FACTS Nevada Turquoise gem stones
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Aquamarine (Beryl) Mineral Facts:

Chemical Formula: Be2Al22(SiO3)6 A trace of water is included.

Colors: Aquamarine is the Blue to blue-green variety of this gemstone. It is colored by ferrous iron. Beryl can be colorless or of some light shade of green, red, or blue. Its streak is white.

Hardness: 7.5 to 8.0
Hardness varies somewhat depending on formation and impurities.

Density: 2.6 to 2.8

Cleavage: Beryl's cleavage is very imperfect but there is frequently a parting parallel to the base.

Crystallography: Hexagonal
Strong prismatic habit. The usual form is in sharp and, in some cases, very large columnar crystals with a distinct hexagonal habit. Aquamarine is normally found in crystals elongated on the "C" axis. Crystals are frequently vertically striated and grooved. Forms usually present consist only of prism of first order and base. Crystals can be of considerable size with rough faces.

Luster:Beryl has a glassy luster. It is transparent or translucent.  Aquamarine is the name given to the pale greenish blue transparent stone. Used as a gem or as a collectors stone.

Optics: (Refractive Index):  w= 1.5740, e= 1.5690
Pleochroism is noticeable in green (emerald) and blue (aquamarine) crystals.

Mount Antero Colorado Aquamarine


Composition, Structure and Associated Minerals:
Beryl is a frequent constituent of coarse-grained granites. It is important as a gem material, and is particularly interesting because of the many physical investigations that have been made with the aid of its crystals. Although the mineral is essentially a beryllium alumino-metasilicate, it usually contains also a little Fe2O3 and MgO, in many
cases small quantities of the alkalies, and in some cases also caesium. The mineral occurs as an accessory constituent in pegmatites and granites, in crystalline schists, especially mica schists and gneisses, in ore veins and sometimes in clay slates and bituminous limestones.

Uses. The impure varieties are used as an important ore of the Space-age metal Beryllium. The transparent varieties are utilized as gems, under the following names:
Emerald is a deep green variety, the color is due to Chromium or Vanadium.
Aquamarine, a blue-green variety, colored by iron.
Golden beryl, a golden yellow-colored variety,
Morganite, a pink, high cesium variety, and
Goshenite or White beryl, a colorless variety.

Identification and Diagnostics
whitens and fuses with difficulty at 5-5.5 to an enamel. Yields a little water on intense ignition. Insoluble in acids. Recognized usually by its hexagonal crystals, its hardness, color, etc. Beryl is distinguished from apatite, which it much resembles, by its greater hardness.

Occurrence, Localities and Origins (For Aquamarine):
Beryl of the blue to blue-green aquamarine color is much more common than emerald, and is found in gem quality in Brazil, Siberia, East Africa and in small amounts from many other countries. Brazil, however, is by far the most important producer, and has been the most important producer for more than a century. Many mines in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerias produce fine aquamarine crystals. In the United States Aquamarine has been found in various places in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, Colorado, and California, etc. For many decades gem cutters have heated greenish Aquamarine to drive off the yellow tone and leave a purer blue color. The color change is stable. Some however, prefer the blue-green tones. Attractive crystals are popular with mineral collectors.

Return to the Mineral Collectors Information Page

Aquamarine Crystal, Brazil

Aquamarine Crystal, Brazil

Green Aquamarine Crystal, Brazil

For More information about Aquamarine as a gem, see:  AQUAMARINE - The Gem of the Sea



Please note that the author, Chris Ralph, retains all copyrights to this entire document and it may not be reproduced, quoted or copied without permission.

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