Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beryl? Who's Beryl?

Chrysalis Jewelry Intern 
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So apparently Beryl is a mineral.  At first I thought that Beryl was some weird name for a girl, like Sheryl but with a B.  But it's not a name, I guess, it's a mineral.  More specifically, this mineral encompasses an entire family of gemstones.  Who knew?  We do, now, because that's what we're here for.  Learning things.

Now that I think of it, though, I'd name my hypothetical baby girl Beryl, rather than something like Mercedes, or Super Fly.  But still, I'd try real hard to think of a name I like more than Beryl.  I won't do that right now, however.  This is a blog about gemstones, not baby names.  If you're looking for baby names, go to a baby name website, or buy a baby name book, or maybe search for a baby name blog.  They've got to be out there somewhere.

So yeah.  Gemstones.  Beryl.

Can anyone guess what color pure beryl is?  No really.  Guess.

Ok, I'll give you a minute or two.

Did you guess?  Good.

Ok.  If you guessed yellow, or pink, or dark brown, or mauve, or taupe, well, those were good guesses, but unfortunately they're all wrong.  Pure beryl is colorless, it turns out.

Not pretty enough?  Ok, try this.

So apparently this particularly boring variety of Beryl is called Goshenite.  As in, "Oh Gosh, this gemstone looks like fake diamond.  Why can't it be taupe!?!?"

Fun fact: Taupe is the king of colors.

Now, if you remember the beginning of this post (and if you don't, don't bother scrolling back up, I'll rehash it for you in a second), Beryl isn't just one boring gemstone, it's an entire family of less boring gemstones, each of which has a distinctive color due to impurities and such.

Are you noticing a pattern here?

Pure: colorless, boring.
Impure: colorful, not boring.

So anyway, after research and whatnot, I have condensed the many wonderful varieties of Beryl into the most significant four, the "big four", if you will.





So, now that we have a nice list of gemstones, let's go through them in order, mmkay?


(No, not that movie about mermaids)

I'm talking about gemstones here.
And how about one that has been neatly shaped to conform to our aesthetic expectations?

Fun fact: Aquamarine is the March birthstone.
I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS.  And tells you about gemstones.

So yeah.  About Aquamarine.  If there's a place where you can find regular (boring) Beryl, there's a good chance you can find this sea-blue variety nearby.  That color, by the way, is blamed on Iron ions somewhere in the crystalline structure of these rocks.  Just because they're not boring doesn't mean they're innocent.  For one thing, they will drain your bank account if you're not careful, just like children and beautiful mermaids.


If you don't know what color Emeralds are, then don't go back to facebook just yet.  Let me educate you.
I'll give you a hint.  They're not purple.
It turns out that Emeralds are green.
You know what else is green?  ALIENS!
So yeah, there's my shameless plug for the day.

Anyway, Emerald's greenish color is caused by chromium ions.  Surprising, huh?  Some of the rarest emeralds come from Colombia, like the prized Trapiche Emerald.

Apparently this thing is named after a grinding wheel.  If you ask me, it looks like some kind of fruit.


Next up, we have Heliodor.  What is it, you ask?  Well, feast your eyes on this:

And this....
And these...

And even this!

Like Aquamarine, it's color is caused by Iron ions.  The difference seems to be the exact charge of those ions.  Interesting that such a small difference can make such a huge impact, huh?

Apparently, there is some confusion as to the difference between Golden Beryl and Heliodor.  It turns out that Golden Beryl is more of the golden yellow shade, like this:
While Heliodor has more of a greenish yellow color, like this:
So, look up at the previous four images, and try to figure out which is which.  Post your answers in the comments!  Or don't, if you think it is a silly exercise.


Finally, we have Morganite. For those of you out there who like all things pink, prepare yourselves...

In Morganite's case, the color is caused by Manganese ions.  It was first discovered near Madagascar in 1910, and named after J.P. Morgan.  The distinctive pink color of Morganite is often banded together with patches of orange or yellow colors, which can be removed by heat or radiation treatment.  So if your nerd friend wasn't impressed with your gift of Topaz (dedicated to Jupiter, of course), make them a fun little science kit with Morganite and a Geiger Counter.

Well, I guess that's it for now.  Be sure to leave a comment if you are actually named Beryl, and please remember that aliens are definitely cooler than mermaids.

Don't believe me?  Ok, when's the last time that Mermaids built spaceships?
Until Tomorrow
Chris the Intern

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