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Trade Terminology

Bixbite (also known as red beryl, red emerald, or scarlet emerald) is a red variety of beryl (emerald), Be3(Al,Mn)2Si6O18. It is rare and reported from the Wah Wah and Thomas Ranges of mid-western Utah; Mexico; Valle de las Plumas, Patagonia; Girona, Spain; Sitapar, India; and Postmasburg, South Africa. Bixbite was named after the Utah mineral collector Maynard Bixby. Other local or discredited names include sitaparite and partridgeite.

The greatest concentration of gem-grade red beryl comes from the Violet Claim in the Wah Wah mountains of mid-western Utah.

Bixbite occurs in topaz-bearing rhyolites. It formed by crystallizing under low pressure and high temperature from a pneumatolitic phase along fractures or within miarolitic cavities and rhyolitic magmas near the surface. Minerals it is found with include bixbyite, quartz, orthoclase, topaz, spessartine garnet, pseudobrookite and hematite. The red color is thought to be from manganese substituting for aluminium in the beryl structure.

Gem-quality bixbite is very rare, and the largest faceted gemstones are less than three carats (600 mg) in size.

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