Written on March 25, 2020 by Elena Petrova
In February, working at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2020, we acquired outstanding collection 0.1 to 1.0 carats of one of the most rare gems on the planet – red beryl –bixbite from the Ruby Violet (or Red Beryl) mine in the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah.
If you would like to see our bixbite collection, please visit our online stores and Mineral Gallery in Toronto.
1 In 2006, red beryl gemstone made it to the top of the rarest of rare gemstones in the market, selling at $75000 per carat, with only 100 stones cut in a month. For every 150,000 diamonds registered as gem, only one crystal of red beryl makes it to the market
2 Red beryl belongs to the beryl family with formula Be3Al2Si6O18 . The red beryls were formed from silica-rich volcanic fluids in the western United States. The fluids also contained beryllium, which again is uncommon but not rare in these places. The high concentration of manganese is the result of red color of these red emeralds. The intensity of the colour can be measured from its Mn+3 ion. To be precise, it is a beryllium aluminium cyclo-silicate found in volcanic vents of Wah-Wah Mountains in Utah.
3 Originally named bixbite by Alfred Eppler in honor of Maynard Bixby [1853-1935], miner and mineral dealer of Salt Lake City, Utah. Named changed to red beryl to remove any confusion with the species bixbyite, named for the same person.
4 Red beryl is known from deposits in Utah and New Mexico, but only in the Ruby Violet Claims in the Wah Wah Mountains of central Utah crystals occur large enough to be cut into Red Emerald gemstones.
5 Three reasons to call “red emerald” not just “red beryl”:
-red emeralds have more properties in common with green emeralds than they do with other gem beryls
- calling red beryl gems red emeralds, alert the jeweller to the fact that these gems should be handled as delicately as if they were emerald
- unlike pastel beryl gems, emerald and red emerald have surface reaching fissures. These fissures can wick up grease or water and may create a risk for damage
Like emerald, red beryl has a range of hues and tones, as well as a typically uneven color distribution that makes it a challenge to match.
6 Red beryl is a durable gooseberry red, carmine red, scarlet red color
gemstone with a hardness ranging between 7.6 and 8. It is usually given a Princess Cut in engagement rings. It is very difficult to cut them owing to the elongated hexagonal crystalline structure, generally measuring only about 10 mm, with a thickness less than 5mm. They are not given modern faceting.
7 The largest gemstone in red beryl family is a 54-carat item. Faceted gemstone weighed only 8 carats. The crystals are often small, average weight of cut material is 0.1 to 0.4 carats but may reach several carats. By weight alone, red beryls are priced 1000 times more than gold.
8 Production of red beryl over the past 25 years is estimated to be more than 60,000 carats, of which about 10% was facetable. there is more red beryl in the ground, but the difficulty of mining makes future production cost prohibitive. Previous operations had to move more than a ton of hard rock to recover a carat of rough. A carat-sized rough stone is not necessarily cuttable; yields are low, averaging between 8% and 15%.
9 The great rarity of this material and its popularity with collectors mean that almost any sized piece in any clarity and color grade can find a ready buyer. Most red beryl specimens are under one carat. A 2 to 3 carat stone would be considered very large. Some of the red gems being marketed as red beryl or bixbite are actually pezzottaite, a new gemstone variety that was discovered in Madagascar.
10 In addition to stimulants – other materials that resemble red emerald –there are laboratory-grown or Synthetic Red Beryl from Moscow, Russia. Hydrothermal synthetic red beryl has been produced for jewelry applications by the Institute of Crystallography and an affiliated company, Emcom Ltd., both in Moscow. Synthetic red beryls made now in other place as well.
Always purchase from a reputable sellers and competent gemologists.