Staff member
Jun 3, 2020
Beryl is a silicate mineral composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate with the chemical formula Be3Al2Si6O18. It is relatively rare and usually found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Pure beryl is colorless, but is usually found in green, blue, yellow, and rarely red colors. It can also be black in color. The naturally occurring hexagonal crystals can be up to several meters in size. Beryl is a source of Beryllium and is among the world’s most popular gemstones. Emerald, aquamarine, heliodor, and morganite are the most popular varieties of beryl.

Beryl is most commonly found in granitic pegmatites, but also occurs in granite, rhyolite, carbonaceous shale, limestone, marble, mica schists, and metamorphic rocks associated with pegmatites. Beryl crystals also grow in veins and cavities through hydrothermal activity.

Beryl is one of the difficult minerals to identify. The crystal system, high hardness and low specific gravity are helpful for identification. It is one of the hardest gem materials which helps it resist scratches. But, it is brittle and can have fractures. So, the color and clarity are most important factors to determine its usefulness as a gem.

Uses of Beryl
  • Mining - Beryl is a minor ore of Beryllium. The extraction of beryllium from beryl is very costly, so it is only mined as a by-product of gemstone mining.
  • Gemstones - Beryl is one of the most important gem minerals and it is primarily mined as a gemstone. The gems are classified by their color as emerald (green), aquamarine (blue), red beryl (red), green beryl (light green), morganite (pink to orange), heliodor (yellow), maxixe (deep blue), and goshenite (colorless).

Physical Properties

Crystal SystemHexagonal
ColorGreen, yellow, blue, red, pink, orange, colorless, and others.
Mohs Scale Hardness7.5 to 8
DiaphaneityTranslucent to transparent
Specific Gravity2.6 to 2.8
Chemical CompositionBe3Al2Si6O18
Diagnostic PropertiesHexagonal prismatic crystals without striations, high hardness, and low specific gravity.

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