Heliodor Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

view gemstone encyclopedia

Cushion trilliant-cut heliodor, 2 cts. © Sarah McNaught Bespoke Faceting. Used with permission.

Heliodor is a member of the beryl family. This stone is known for its range of yellow colors — from pale yellow, greenish yellow, orange-yellow, to a deep golden orange. Heliodor can be faceted for jewelry use.

Heliodor Value

Start an IGS Membership today for full access to our price guide (updated monthly).

Red Beryl Faceted

.1 to 1 carat
Red Faceted
to /ct
1 carat plus
Red Faceted
to /ct

Morganite Faceted - Fine Color Morganite: slpR 3/4

1 to 10 carats
Morganite Faceted
to /ct
10 carat plus
Morganite Faceted
to /ct

Gold & Yellow Beryl Faceted - Fine Color Yellow: Y 4/4

1 to 10 carats
Gold & Yellow Faceted
to /ct
10 carat plus
Gold & Yellow Faceted
to /ct

Green Beryl Faceted - Fine Color Green: slyG 4/3

1 to 20 carats
Green Faceted
to /ct
20 carats plus
Green Faceted
to /ct

Goshenite Faceted

All Sizes
Goshenite Faceted
to /ct
View Beryl Profile

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

As with other beryls, top values for heliodor go to gems with high clarity first and good color a close second. Heliodors are available in large sizes, too, so there’s no increase in price per carat until 10+ carats.

faceted heliodors - Brazil

Heliodors, Brazil (20.00, 19.85 // 18.98, 3.20). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Heliodor Information

Data Value
Name Heliodor
Is a Variety of Beryl
Alternate Common Names Golden Beryl
Crystallography Hexagonal
Refractive Index 1.566-1.579
Colors Greenish yellow, yellow, yellowish-orange
Luster Vitreous
Hardness 7.5-8
Wearability Good
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Specific Gravity 2.68-2.72
Birefringence 0.005-0.009
Cleavage Indistinct
Dispersion 0.014
Transparency Transparent to opaque.
Formula Be3Al2Si6O18 + Fe3+
Pleochroism Less distinct than the other beryls. Brownish-yellow to lemon-yellow.
Optics Uniaxial (-)
Optic Sign Uniaxial -
Etymology From the Greek helios and doron for "gift of the sun," in allusion to the yellow color.
Occurrence Granitic rocks, especially granite pegmatites.
Inclusions Long, hollow tubes; needles; fingerprints; negative crystals; chrysanthemums; pinpoints; two-phase inclusions.
Typical Treatments Dyeing, Heat Treatment, Irradiation
Enhancements Heating, radiation, dyeing
Phenomena Chatoyancy
IGS may receive customer referral fees from the companies listed in this page. Learn more.
heliodor crystal - Brazil

Beryl (heliodor variety), 3.4 x 3.3 x 2.7 cm, Minas Gerais, Southeast Region, Brazil. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

What is Heliodor?

Heliodor is the beryl variety that receives its yellow color from Fe3+ ions. The name “heliodor” originated as a trade name for golden beryl from Rössing, Namibia but now encompasses any gem-quality, golden-yellow beryl.

heliodor - Brazil

Heliodor, Brazil. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Is There a Difference Between Heliodor and Golden Beryl?

Heliodor is also known as golden beryl. However, some gemological references distinguish between the terms heliodor and golden beryl, using “heliodor” strictly for beryls with a greenish yellow color and “golden beryl” for beryls with pure yellow to gold color. Other references, notably Walter Schumann, reject heliodor as a distinct variety of beryl altogether and consider heliodors as simply “weak-colored” golden beryls.

Does Heliodor Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

Heliodors make durable jewelry stones, whether faceted or cabbed.

20th century modern necklace

20th century modern necklace by Paul Binder, featuring a pendant with a fancy-cut heliodor and brilliant-cut diamonds. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Rago Arts and Auction Center.

These stones also occur in sizes large enough for carving.

turtle figurine

A 122.33-ct turtle figurine, carved from a single piece of heliodor from Ukraine by Hans Ulrich Pauly. (The eyes are black onyx wrapped in 18k gold). Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Hindman.

Identifying Characteristics

Green beryls are sometimes misidentified as heliodors.

Prismatic heliodor crystals may have etched faces. This results from changes in the chemical composition of the crystal’s growth medium due to overpressure during its formation.

golden beryl with etched faces - Zimbabwe

Beryl (heliodor variety). Note the etched crystal faces. 3.7 x 2.9 x 2.9 cm, Karoi (Urungwe) District, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Some cabbed heliodors may show chatoyancy (a “cat’s eye” effect).

cat's eye heliodors

The sharp cat’s eyes in these cabbed heliodors are caused by inclusions of growth tubes and fine, needle-like crystals. These cabs also contain inclusions of blue gahnite crystals. Left to right: 4.13, 4.18, 4.31, and 4.48 cts. © All That Glitters. Used with permission.

Are There Synthetic Heliodors?

Manufacturers can synthesize beryls, including heliodors, via flux and hydrothermal methods. You might find these lab-created stones in jewelry.

lab-created heliodors

Clip earrings with synthetic heliodors. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and San Rafael Auction Gallery.

Can Heliodors Receive Gem Treatments?

Treatments applied to heliodors include heating, impregnation, and dyeing.

Greenish yellow heliodors may be heated and turned into aquamarines. This is known to have happened with Ukrainian material. Better known by consumers, faceted aquamarines will generally sell for more than heliodors. However, aquamarines may also be irradiated and turned into heliodors. Reportedly, pale aquamarines from Vietnam may receive radiation treatments in Laos, only to be returned to Vietnam and sold as natural heliodors.

Some controversy surrounds so-called heliodors from Zelatoya Vada, Tajikistan. According to Dmitriy Belakovskiy, the curator of the Fersman Museum in Moscow, these heliodors, aside from their color, look like Pakistani aquamarines and Chinese beryls. Furthermore, he was unable to locate the purported source of these stones in the field. (See his chapter in Beryl and Its Color Varieties (2005) for more information). These heliodors may simply be treated aquamarines and/or colorless beryls (goshenite).

bi-color aquamarine/heliodor crystal - Namibia

Members of the beryl family, heliodor and aquamarine both receive their color from iron impurities. These natural, bi-colored beryl crystals have blue (aquamarine) bodies and yellow (heliodor) terminations. 5.4 x 4.8 x 4.0 cm, Erongo Mountain, Usakos and Omaruru Districts, Erongo Region, Namibia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Where are Heliodors Found?

Significant sources of gem-quality heliodors include the following:

  • Brazil: greenish yellow to fine, deep-orange colored material, much of it gemmy.
  • Madagascar: gemmy crystals.
  • Namibia: in pegmatites.
  • Russia: gemmy crystals.
  • Ukraine: gemmy crystals.

In the United States, Connecticut produces small but fine colored crystals, some gemmy.

heliodor - Connecticut

Heliodor, Roebling Quarry, Connecticut. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Maine and New Hampshire also produce some crystals.

heliodor - Maine, USA

Trilliant-cut heliodor, 5.4 cts, 12 mm across, 7.3 mm deep, Maine. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Nest Egg Auctions.

Other sources:

  • Afghanistan; Cambodia; China; Finland; India; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nigeria; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Zambia; Zimbabwe.
golden beryl - Finland

Beryl (heliodor variety), 5.0 x 4.5 x 3.5 cm, Karelia Beryl Mine pegmatite, Kannatsalo, Southern Karelia, Etela-Suomen Laani, Finland. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Ukraine has produced rough that has yielded faceted heliodors up to 2,500 cts in weight.

Notable, sizable heliodors in museum collections include the following:

  • British Museum (Natural History) (London England): 82.25 (yellow).
  • Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Ontario, Canada): 77.8 (yellow, step cut, Brazil).
  • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 2,054 (greenish yellow, rectangular step cut, Brazil); 133.5 (yellow, Madagascar); 43.5 (golden cat’s eye, Madagascar); 17.5 (yellow, Russia).
heliodor - Afghanistan

55-ct heliodor, 23 x 20 x 16 mm, Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Jasper52.

How to Care for Your Heliodor Gemstones

Heliodors free of inclusions can be cleaned using mechanical systems. Have a gemologist examine your gems first to identify any potential weaknesses. Of course, a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water will always work safely.

Consult our gemstone jewelry care guide for more recommendations.

golden beryl

3.6-ct, emerald-cut heliodor. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.

Ready to learn how to identify gems on your own?

Join our mailing list below to download a FREE gem ID checklist tutorial. See what’s inside…

• Discover the 17 practical steps to gemstone identification (even if you’re just getting started with gemology)

• Learn how you can use specific tools to gather data, make observations & arrive at an accurate ID

• Explore a range of gemological tests… not only will you get familiar with the process but also time-saving shortcuts!