Beryl Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


BERYL: Brazil (yellow, 40.98; green, 18.42; peach, 9.06 // peach, 6.92; colorless, 11.25; green, 4.54; blue, 18.08 // green, 19.09; pink, 17.33), Africa (blue, 21.80); Brazil (20.00). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

The beryl family includes some of the most popular and expensive gemstones. Emerald and aquamarine are well-known and popular choices for jewelry, while red beryl is one of the rarest and most expensive gems. Beryls can range from colorless to black, and crystals can range in size from single carats to extremely large and flawless examples displayed in museums.

Beryl Value

Top values go to clarity first, with color a close second. Since beryls are available in large sizes, there is usually no incremental price increase for large beryls.  All beryls hold the same value above about three carats. (Red beryl is an exception).

  • Emerald: very strong bluish green to green, tone 3 to 8, saturation 2 to 5. Top color: vstbG 5/5; bG 5/5 or 6/5; vslbG 5/5
  • Green beryl: slyG 4/3
  • Morganite: slpR 3/4
  • Heliodor: Y 4/4

The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Aquamarine Value via Gem Price Guide
Top Color: GB 4/4
Faceted .5 to 1.5 carats 1.5 to 3 carats 3 carat plus
Dark to /ct to /ct to /ct
Medium to /ct to /ct to /ct
Light to /ct to to /ct
Cabochons All Sizes
Plain to /ct
Cat’s Eye to /ct

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Beryl Value via Gem Price Guide
Red .1 to 1 carat 1 carat plus
to ,000/ct to ,000/ct
Fine Color Morganite: slpR 3/4
Morganite 1 to 10 carats 10 carat plus
to /ct to /ct
Fine Color Yellow: Y 4/4
Gold & Yellow 1 to 10 carats 10 carat plus
to /ct to /ct
Fine Color Green: slyG 4/3
Green 1 to 20 carats 20 carats plus
to /ct to /ct
Goshenite All sizes
to /ct

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Emerald Value via Gem Price Guide
Prices assume colorless clarity enhancement, (no dyes.) Average brilliancy of 40 to 60%. Add up to 20% or deduct to 10% for other cutting. Prices for emerald cuts, round, ovals and pear. Add to 10% for marquis. Top Grade: very light inclusions, vstbG 5/5; bG 5/5 or 6/5; vslbG 5/5.
Top Grade .5 to .75 carat .75 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
VVS to /ct to ,900/ct ,000 to ,500/ct to ,000/ct
VS/SI to /ct to ,300/ct ,400 to ,600/ct to ,500/ct
SI/I to /ct to /ct to /ct to ,000/ct
Very Good Grade: very light to moderate inclusions, vstbG 6/5; bG 5/5, 4/5 or 6/4; vslbG 5/5, 6/5.
Very Good Grade .5 to .75 carat .75 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
VVS to /ct to ,100/ct ,400 to ,100/ct to ,000/ct
VS/SI to /ct to /ct to ,000/ct to ,600/ct
SI/I to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
Good Grade: very light to moderate inclusions, vstbG 4/5, 5/4, 6/4; bG 3/5, 4/4, 5/3, 6/3, 7/4; vslbG 3/5, 4/4, 4/5, 5/3, 6/4; G 4/5, 5/4,5/5, 6/5.
Good Grade .5 to .75 carat .75 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
VVS to /ct to /ct to /ct to ,000/ct
VS/SI to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
SI/I to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
Fair Grade: moderate to prominent inclusions, vstbG 3/5, 4/4, 7/4; bG 3/4, 4/3, 7/3: vslbG 3/4, 6/3, 7/3, 7/4; G 3/5, 4/4, 5/3, 6/4.
Fair Grade .5 to .75 carat .75 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
VVS to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
VS/SI to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
SI/I to /ct to /ct to /ct to /ct
Cat’s Eye .25 to 10 carats
Medium to Dark to ,500/ct
Trapiche Emeralds All sizes
to /ct
Cabochons .75 to 5 carats
Medium to Dark to ,600/ct

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Beryl Information

DataValue
NameBeryl
VarietiesAquamarine, Blue Beryl, Emerald, Goshenite, Heliodor, Morganite, Red Beryl, Riesling Beryl, Vorobyevite
Crystallography Hexagonal. Crystals prismatic, elongated or flattened, equant; often striated or etched; rolled pebbles; massive.
Colors Colorless, white, light green, olive green, blue-green to blue (aquamarine), deep green (emerald), pink or peachy pink (morganite), greenish yellow, yellow (heliodor), pinkish orange, red (red beryl/bixbite).
Luster Vitreous
Polish Luster Vitreous
Fracture Luster Vitreous to resinous
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Hardness 7.5-8
Toughness Good
Specific Gravity Goshenite: 2.6-2.9; Morganite: 2.71-2.90; Aquamarine: 2.66–2.80; Emerald: 2.68–2.78; Red Beryl: 2.66-2.70.
Cleavage Indistinct.
Dispersion 0.014 (low)
Stone SizesTo very large, red beryl rare over one carat.
Heat SensitivityMay fracture if liquid filled inclusions present. Some green will change color, orange and pink will fade.
Luminescence Most beryl: inert, LW and SW. Goshenite: inert to weak pink or yellow, LW and SW. Morganite: inert to weak pink or purple, LW and SW. Emerald: See “Spectral Properties” under “Identifying Characteristics” in the emerald entry.
Spectral See individual entries for beryl varieties.
Transparency Transparent to Opaque
Phenomena Asterism, chatoyancy
FormulaBe3Al2Si6O18 + Fe, Mn, Cr, V, Cs
Pleochroism Distinct in strongly colored varieties:
  • Aquamarine: blue/colorless (sometimes greenish)
  • Maxixe-type aquamarine=blue/blue.
  • Bixbite and Morganite: deep bluish-pink/pale pink.
  • Heliodor: brownish-yellow/lemon yellow.
  • Emerald: blue-green/ yellowish-green; rarely blue/ yellowish green.
  • Red beryl: purplish-red/ orange-red
  • Green Beryl: weak to moderate, two blue green and green or two tones of green
  • Yellow: weak, two tones of yellow or greenish yellow
Optics Uniaxial (-).  Refractive indices vary with composition.
  • Goshenite: o = 1.566-1.602; e = 1.562-1.594Birefringence = 0.004-0.008.
  • Morganite: o = 1.572-1.592; e = 1.578-1.600Birefringence = 0.008-0.009.
  • Aquamarine: o = 1.567-1.583; e = 1.572-1.590Birefringence = 0.005-0.007.
  • Maxixe beryl, rich in cesium: o = 1.584; e = 1.592Birefringence = 0.008.
  • Red beryl: o = 1.568-1.572; e = 1.567-1.568Birefringence = 0.004-0.008.
  • Emerald: Extensive variation.  See optics table under "Identifying Characteristics" in the emerald entry.
EtymologyFrom the Greek beryllos.
OccurrenceBeryl occurs worldwide in granite rocks, especially granite pegmatites; also in schists (emerald), metamorphic limestones (emerald) and hydrothermal veins. The occurrence of red beryl in rhyolitic volcanic rocks in Utah is unique.
Inclusions See "Identifying Characteristics" below.
Beryl - Aquamarine, Heliodor, Red Beryl and Emerald
BerylAquamarine, Heliodor, Red Beryl and Emerald

Comments

Beryl consists of the elements beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. Normally colorless, beryls take on colors from a variety of trace elements such as chromium and iron. Although beryllium is one of the rarest elements in the earth, beryl gemstones are fairly common. Many types of beryl make excellent jewelry stones and can take an exceptional polish. A well-finished beryl will often appear to have a much higher refractive index.

Beryl Varieties

Blue to blue-green aquamarine is a traditional favorite. In the past, the pure blues were preferred to those that were slightly green, so aquamarines were routinely heated to remove the green color. However, there is a growing demand for natural, untreated, blue-green aquamarine.

Heliodor is the golden variety of beryl, ranging from a pastel yellow to a rich gold, or sometimes a slightly greenish, yellow.

Emerald is acknowledged as one of the most desirable gemstones. Emerald’s green color comes from traces of chromium, vanadium, or a combination of both. Any green beryl that does not have the purity or saturation of color is simply a green beryl. (Editor’s note: some gemologists strictly define emeralds as those beryls colored green by chromium).

Red beryl, or bixbite, is exceptionally rare. The only place this raspberry to deep rose red stone is found in gem quality is the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah. Faceted gems rarely exceed two carats and are usually included.

Morganite is the pink beryl. While it is often a pure pink, top values go to the salmon/peach shades. Morganite is never dark, with a maximum tone of three.

Goshenite is colorless beryl and very common. There is little demand for this variety, so prices are always low. The same can be said for yellow beryls, though there is more demand for stones over 10-15 carats. Green and olive-colored beryls (those not considered emeralds) are not well known to the gem buying public.

Cat’s eye, star, and shiller effects in beryls are strange curiosities. Cat’s eye aquamarines and emeralds are sometimes rather large. Oriented ilmenite inclusions in pale green aquamarine from Gouvernador Valadares, Brazil, create a brown body color and cause a schiller effect or sheen. When such an aquamarine is carved into a cabochon, a star effect is created. Black star beryls have no fluorescence or distinctive absorption spectrum and are often confused with the latter.

BERYL: Aquamarine catseye, Brazil (18.37)
BERYL: Aquamarine catseye, Brazil (18.37). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Identifying Characteristics

All beryl varieties may have inclusions. Emerald, however, is almost always included, and its list of possible inclusions is extensive. Its inclusions can even help identify where it was mined. See the emerald encyclopedia entry for more details.

  • All beryl: liquid; 2-phase; negative crystals; “Chrysanthemum” inclusions are flat, snowflake shaped and have a metallic luster.
  • Long hollow tubes that run parallel to the long axis of the crystal. These may have liquid or gas filled inclusions. If the ends have been exposed, they may be filled with an opaque mineral powder.
  • Hydrothermal grown beryls, all varieties: nailhead spicules, minute 2-phase in parallel lines, parallel tube like cavities with 2-phase, seed plate, gold or platinum.

Synthetics

All colors of beryl can be produced by the hydrothermal method, and emeralds are also flux grown. Caution must be exercised when identifying these gems, as it is easy to mistake naturals and synthetics. However, synthetic production can create peculiar inclusions that can help distinguishing synthetic from natural beryls.

Enhancements

  • Heating: improves color in morganite, removes green component in aquamarine. Common, stable, undetectable.
  • Irradiation:  Turns goshenite yellow. Prevalence unknown, stable, undetectable.
  • Irradiation:  Produces Maxixe from aquamarine, goshenite, and light morganite. Occasional, fades in light, detection spectrum.
  • Fracture filling: using oils or resins, improves clarity, common with emerald, rare for other varieties, stability poor to good, detect with magnification or UV
  • Plastic coating: Adds color, rare, easily scratched and heat sensitive, detect with magnification.

Sources

Beryls are found worldwide. Detailed locations are listed for each beryl variety in its individual encyclopedia entry.

In the United States, goshenite is found in California, Maine, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, Connecticut, Idaho, and New Hampshire. It’s also found in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia.

BERYL: Aquamarine, Nigeria (3.10, 7.82, 2.81)
BERYL: Aquamarine, Nigeria (3.10, 7.82, 2.81). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Beryl crystals weighing many tons have been found in pegmatites but these are never gem quality. Aquamarines and green beryls, however, may be completely transparent and still be very large. A crystal weighing 243 pounds was found in Brazil in 1910 that was completely transparent. Another found in 1956 weighed about 135 pounds. Some very large gems have been cut from this type of material. Morganites are usually smaller, up to about 6 inches in diameter. Emeralds are notorious for growing extremely large. Red beryl occurs in crystals up to about 2 inches in length, and these are seldom transparent, even in small areas. The very few stones known are less than 3 carats.

Many famous, large, and noteworthy beryls are displayed in museums around the world. Detailed listings can be found in the individual encyclopedia entries for each beryl variety.

  • Goshenite: Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C): 61.9 (colorless, Brazil).
  • Other Colors: Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C): 2054 (green-gold, Brazil); 1363, 578, and 914 (green, Brazil); 133.5  (golden yellow, Madagascar); 98.4 (pale green, Brazil); 40.4 (pale green, Connecticut); 23 (green, Maine); 19.8 (brown, star, Brazil).

Care

Included gemstones like most beryls should be cleaned with mild detergent and warm water. Emeralds should never be cleaned in mechanical systems. Consult our gemstone care guide for recommended cleaning methods.