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Trade Terminology

Morganite is a pink coloured gem quality beryl, orange/yellow morganite is sometimes also found, it turns pink upon high temperature treatment. Colour banding is common in morganite.

A number of USA gemstones from the Morgan collection: A: Emerald, B,C: Aquamarine, D: Emerald, E: Beryl Cat's Eye, F: Hiddenite, G: DiamondContents

  • JP Morgan
  • By the turn of the century JP Morgan (the famous financier) had become one of the most important collectors of gems and minerals and had assembled the most important gem collection in the USA as well as of American gemstones (over 1000 pieces). Tiffany & Co. actually assembled his first collection -- which basically implied that their "chief gemologist" George Frederick Kunz built the collection for JP Morgan -- which was exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris in 1889. The exhibit won two golden awards and drew the attention of important scholars, lapidaries and the general public.

    George Frederick Kunz then continued to build a second, even finer, collection which was exhibited in Paris in 1900. Collections have been donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York where they were known as the Morgan-Tiffany and the Morgan-Bement collections.

    One of the larger Morganites retrieved from the Elizabeth Mine in Pala, California, in 2005. Specimen shows attached matrix of Muscovite and Albite.

  • The discovery
  • Morganite was first discovered together with other gemstone minerals such as Tourmaline and Kunzite in California in the early twentieth century at Pala. This started a bonanza for these quite popular gemstones which drew the attention of George Frederick Kunz, knowing Pink Beryl was quite a rarity.

    It was George Frederick Kunz who suggested to name the pink variety of Beryl after his biggest customer JP Morgan in 1911: Morganite. . Ever since, the stone has held a certain popularity with Tiffany's though it still remains a relatively scarce gem.

  • Chemical and physical properties
  • Morganite is also known in the jewelry trade as pink emerald or pink beryl. Emeralds are frequently thought only to be found green in color. This is not so.

    The chemical composition of a pink emerald (morganite) or any emerald for that matter is: Be3Al2(SiO3)6 beryllium-aluminium silicate.

    Coloring agents for all beryl are minute amounts of metallic oxides. For pink beryl or pink emerald it is Mn3+ (manganese). Red and pink emerald are both beryllium aluminium silicates colored by manganese and chromium, among other things. The soft pink to violet beryl is also called pink beryl. Concentrations of chromium in beryl turn its color green. The name light "green beryl" is sometimes used to discribe green beryl with low concentrations of chromium.

    The word brilliance is probably derived from the ancient Greek word for beryl, berullos, which means crystal.

    The chemical composition of beryl is beryllium (14%) aluminium (19%) silicate (67%), usually containing alkali ions, other minerals, water, and gases. It crystallizes in hexagonal shapes in the dihexagonal-dipyramidal class, sometimes in well formed hexagonal prisms with pinacoidal (flat) terminations. It has refractive index values of 1.57 to 1.58 with weak dichroism. Cleavage is absent to poor in one direction. The hardness is 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale, and the specific gravity ranges from 2.66-2.83.

  • Different types of Beryl
  • In its purest form, it is a colorless mineral called goshenite. Green emerald is colored by trace amounts of chromium and/or vanadium and iron. Generally, the greater the amount of chromium or vanadium, the more saturated the green color. When there's more iron, the emerald has more blue; when there's less iron, the emerald is a more pure green.

    Red and pink beryls, colored by manganese with a slight amount of chromium, are called bixbite and morganite, respectively. But bixbite is hardly a common name, it is more commonly known as "red emerald." The only place where Red emerald is found is in the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah.

    Many who support the wide spread use of pink and red emerald nomenclature point to "corundum" and the definition of sapphire. Read's gemstone dictionary describes sapphire as colorless, blue, pink, orange, yellow, green, and purple. It has long been standard in the trade that "sapphire" used alone denotes a blue gem. All other colors of sapphire are preceded by the word "fancy" or the specific hue. "Red emerald," and "pink emerald" therefore, are as valid a term as yellow sapphire, green sapphire, purple sapphire, etc. Red corundum (sapphire) is the exact same chemical composition as that which is commonly known as ruby.

    Pink emerald is thought by many to actually be rosterite, found years before George Kunz named it Morganite. Several other names have been given to Morganite prior to its last name: from pink beryllium-aluminium silicate to pink beryl, rosterite, vorobievite, worobieffite, and morganite. This list is thought to represent the chronological order in which the mineral was discovered.

    On the other hand two other Beryls Aquamarine and Heliodor have not been renamed as "blue-beryl" and "golden-beryl". A certain ambivalence in nomenclature for the differing Beryls therefore persists.

  • Value as a gemstone
  • Pink emeralds (morganite) of "investment grade" are extremely rare, beautiful, scarce and are seldom offered for sale to the general public. Rare pink precious gemstones of extraordinary quality and size of over 50 carats are usually only available exclusively in gem collections of museums, private dealers and international gemstone connoisseurs. Pink emeralds are approximately 25,000 times rarer than green emeralds, 40,000 times rarer than rubies and sapphires and 125,000 times rarer than diamonds. Pink emeralds are even much rarer than the “pink diamonds” of J. Lo and Mrs. Kobe Bryant fame. There is probably only one pink emerald faceted on the planet for every 125,000 carats of diamonds that have been mined and faceted. There are currently no working gemstone mines anywhere on earth that are still producing morganite (pink emeralds) of fine jewelry grade quality, or investment quality, adding to their rarity and investment value.

    For the fifth year in a row, jewelry industry trade experts have declared the pink emerald as, “The Official Gemstone for Valentine’s Day 2007. In the top USA Jewelry Trade Publication: National Jeweler Magazine, Vol. 36 No. 12. there was a cover story that declared "Its Pink Emerald Now" basically immortalizing the name pink emerald and taking away the name morganite as a jewelry name for pink beryl forever and leaving the name morganite to be used the mineral trade.

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