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Red Beryl

Red Beryl is the rarest form of beryl, other varieties of which include emeralds and
aquamarines. The only crystals suitable for faceting are found in the Wah Wah
Mountains (the Violet Claims), near Beaver, Utah. Currently, this is the only place
in the world where gem quality Red Beryl is found.
It is difficult to determine which of the fabulous gem materials found on earth is the
rarest. Certainly, red beryl from the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah would be near the
top of any rare gemstone list. In fact, red beryl ( a beryllium silicate colored by
Mn3+) is so rare, most people don't even know that it exists. Gem beryl occurs in a
varitey of colors; green (emerald), light blue (aquamarine), yellow (heliodor), pink,
(morganite), and very rarely, a deep red with no accepted common name. Although
red beryl was first reported almost 100 years ago, from a deposit in the Thomas
Range of Utah, it wasn't until the late 1950's that Lamar Hodges discovered the
deposit now known as the Ruby Violet Mine. The red beryl crystals occur in fissures
in a host rhyolite. The gemmy crystals have been found in an area measuring only
about 900 x 1900 meters. In 1976 the Harris family of Delta Utah purchased mining
rights to the property and produced a small but steady supply of gem quality red
beryl. In 1994 Kennecott Exploration Co. (KEC) entered into an option agreement
with the mine owners to purchase the mine and surrounding claims. KEC performed
an extensive exploration
program of core drilling and
under-ground bulk sampling to
confirm the extent and richness
of the red beryl deposit. That
study showed the deposit would
yield approximately 1.25 carats
of red beryl per ton of ore.
Assuming a faceting yield of
10%, one ton of ore would yield
0.125 carats of finished
gemstones. Other companies
later evaluated the possibility of
large scale mining and
marketing of red beryl from the
Ruby Violet Mine, but that has
not yet happened. The Harris
Red Beryl on Rhyolite Matrix from the group once again controls the
Ruby Violet Mine, Wah Wah Mountains, mine, and plans to continue
Utah their small scale operation. The
red beryl that is produced is
sold as both mineral specimens
and faceted gemstones. The average weight of cut stones is about 0.20 carats. Only
10% of the cut gemstones exceed 1 carat in weight. To date the largest faceted red
beryl weighs 4.5 carats. A number of articles have been written about the history and
geology of the Ruby Violet red beryl deposit. If you would like further information
see "Red Beryl from Utah: A Review and Update," by James E. Shigley, Timothy J.
Thompson, and Jeffrey D. Keith; Gems & Gemology, 2003, V39, pgs. 302-313.

Red Beryl was first noted in Utah in 1905, in the Thomas Range in Juab County,
Utah. The small crystals were found in a rhyolite host rock and were translucent but
rarely gemmy. It wasn't until the late 1950's that larger, better quality crystals were
found in the Wah Wah Mountains in Beaver County. Consistent mining of the Red
Beryl in the Wah Wah Mountains has only taken place since 1978.
Red Beryl occurs as hexagonal crystals which is typical of beryl. The refractive
index is 1.564-1.574 and the specific gravity is 2.66-2.70. It's primary chemical
composition is Be3Al2SiO3, but there are traces of many other elements. A more
detailed examination including geological, chemical, physical and gemological
information can be found in the magazine Gems and Gemology, Volume XX, Winter
1984.
Red Beryl is thought to have formed along fractures, in cavities or within the host
rhyolite from a high-temperature gas or vapor phase released during the latter
stages of cooling and crystallization of the rhyolite magma. Rhyolites ordinarily lack
gem minerals and beryls of any sort is extremely uncommon, therefore the presence
of Red Beryl suggests some unusual conditions for gemstone formation.
Red Beryl crystals range in color from orange-red to purplish-red with medium
tones. The largest crystal yet recovered was 14mm x 34mm and weighed
approximately 54 carats. The average faceted gemstone is .15 carats and the largest
faceted gemstone to date weighed 8.0 carats.
Red Beryl description and images provided by Tim Schmanski.

Multiple Red Beryl crystals on Rhyolite matrix # RB03


Rare, multiple Red Beryl crystals, on Rhyolite matrix!

This very colorful, and attractive cabinet specimen features several well
formed crystals of Red Beryl on a snowy white Rhyolite matrix. Although they
are smaller in size, you can see in the pictures that the crystal quality is: quite
sharp; very gemmy and transparent/translucent; full of luster with the classic
gooseberry color!

Although I did see some Red Beryl specimens at the previous Denver &
Tucson Shows, I did not see any such as this one, with multiple crystals on
matrix. I acquired this piece several years ago.

The latest news on the Violet mine is that the lower pit which produced the
better quality specimens (like the ones featured here on my site), is now
defunct. Although the upper pit is still some what active, the quality does not
compare to those previously mined from the lower pit. This makes good
quality specimens much tougher to find.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in


Washington, D.C. refers to the Red Beryl it has on display as:
"The Rarest Beryls of them All"
These come from only one specific location on the entire planet earth:
Violet Claims Mine, Wah Wah Mountains
Beaver County (near Milford), Utah, USA

Measures in cm: 7.0 x 4.5 x 2.5Crystal size in cm: 0.4


Multiple Red

Multiple Red Beryl crystals on Rhyolite matrix # RB04

Click on photos to enlarge


Three Superb Red Beryl crystals on Rhyolite matrix!

This very colorful, and attractive small cabinet specimen features


one larger, and 2 smaller Red Beryl crystals on a snowy white
Rhyolite matrix. As you can see in the photographs, the crystal
quality is: quite sharp; very gemmy and transparent/translucent; full
of luster with the classic gooseberry color! All the terminations are
clean and sharp.

Although I did see some Red Beryl specimens at the previous


Denver & Tucson Shows, I did not see any such as this one, with
multiple crystals on matrix. I acquired this piece a couple of years
ago.

The latest news on the Violet mine is that the lower pit which
produced the better quality specimens (like the ones featured here
on my site), is now defunct. Although the upper pit is still some what
active, the quality does not compare to those previously mined from
the lower pit. This makes good quality specimens much tougher to
find.
Three varieties of beryl: morganite, aquamarine and heliodor