Beryl Meaning and Properties

Beryl History

Beryl isn't so much a gemstone as it is a family of gemstones. Clear or colorless beryl is also called goshenite, while far more familiar versions are deep green beryl (emerald), teal to blue (aquamarine), rose to pink (morganite) and the dichroic (or "two-colored") alexandrite. Less common are the yellow-green to golden (heliodor or chrysoberyl), deep red (bixbite) and the extremely rare maxixe (pronounced mash-eesh), which starts as a bright blue and fades quickly in sunlight.

When gemstone-quality beryl appears--but doesn't fit these definitions--it is designated as precious beryl. Bead strands or gemological samples which contain a blend of different types of this gem family (goshenite with aquamarine is the most common) are often labeled "multi-beryl."

Beryl Metaphysical Properties

Precious beryl is said to be first recognized as a powerful stone in ancient Mesopotamia, where it was believed to strengthen belief in the gods. It was viewed as a healing stone in ancient Greece, where precious beryl was dipped into drinking water and that water was drunk to remove kidney stones and bladder ailments. Some oral traditions state that beryls of all kinds make the lazy more industrious and the slow-minded more clever. Precious beryl is also believed to help locate lost property and in divination.

While specific beryl varieties have their own properties (check their individual Gem Notes for details), precious beryl tends to be affiliated by its color: blue-greens to the throat chakra, colorless to the crown chakra, golden-yellow heliodor to the solar plexus chakra, etc.

Beryl Geological Properties

Precious beryl is typically a lightly colored gemstone material, although increased color saturation also increases its value. It is mostly found in granite pegmatites, although some have been known from metamorphosed mica schists and in igneous rhyolite deposits. Unlike some of its more famous family members like the emerald, precious beryl of equal quality has fewer flaws, making the stone more sturdy. However, large stones are exceptionally rare due to the formation process. Precious beryl is transparent and has a vitreous luster.

In rare cases, precious beryl gemstones can display chatoyancy (cat eye effect) or asterism (exhibiting a star-like effect). These materials are most frequently cut into cabochons to enhance the effect.

Precious beryl can be found in Brazil, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka and other places where other beryls commonly form--including rare, scattered finds in the northeastern United States.

Mineral Information Beryllium aluminum silicate, occasionally with some sodium, lithium, and cesium
Chemical Composition Be3Al2Si6O18
Color Pale brownish-green, bluish-green and gray
Hardness 7-1/2 to 8 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.63 - 2.92
Refractive Index 1.57 to 1.58

Proper Care of Beryl

Although precious beryl is a hard 7-1/2 to 8 on the Moh's scale, natural inclusions could make it vulnerable to breaking if exposed to extreme temperature changes or sharp blows. The best way to clean precious beryl jewelry is with warm water, a soft brush and pat dry with a soft cloth. Protect precious beryl from scratching and sharp blows that can fracture or shatter the stone. Avoid large temperature changes, ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners. Prolonged exposure to sunlight could fade any colors.

To learn more about beryl and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Beryl

The gentle pastels of precious beryl make it an ideal stone for feminine designs. Pair with color-compatible materials such as rose quartz and peach freshwater pearls--or work with more intense colors in the same hues by pairing blue-green precious beryl with dumortierite, sodalite or amazonite.

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Beryl Gemstone Beads

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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