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Kathy Feick

The mineral Beryl was known to a number of ancient societies. The element beryllium however, was not recognized until 1798 when French Scientist, Nicholas Louis Vauquelin discovered it as a component of beryl. This led to the element being named beryllium.

It is also suspected that the word brilliance is probably derived from the Greek word for beryl, berullos, which means crystal.

blue beryl

Blue Beryl. Unknown Locality. University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum Collection.


Beryl is often found in granites and granitic pegmatites but it can also be found in metamorphic rocks or in the veins and cavities of limestones and marbles.


Beryl forms hexagonal crystals which can be almost any colour depending on the type and amount of impurities.

  • Goshenite: A beryl which lacks colour. There are a number of impurities which can lead to this lack of colour. Goshenite can be found in many areas of the world but it is most commonly located where other various types of beryl’s are located.
  • Morganite: This variety of beryl gets its colouration from both manganese and iron impurities. The amount and location of these impurities can cause the beryl to be different shades of pink and yellow. Morganite is found in four different parts of the United States and in two other countries.
pink morganite beryl specimen

Beryl variety: Morganite. Minas Gerais, Brazil. University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum Collection.

  • Bixbite: An extremely rare variety of red beryl. No forms of bixbite have been found outside of the United States. The colouration is caused by inclusions of manganese. Bixbite forms in volcanic rocks which are rich in silica due to low pressures and temperatures. Can appear reddish orange to a purplish red.
  • Pezzottatie: A new variety of raspberry-red beryl which was first recognized in 2003. It owes its colouration to inclusions of lithium.
  • Heliodor: A yellow beryl which gets its colour from impurities of iron. The amount of iron in the beryl allows for a wide range of different shades of yellow. These shades can range anywhere from orange to green. It is most commonly found in a granite pegmatite.
yellow heliodor specimen

Heliodor. Unknown Locality. University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum Collection.

  • Emerald: Emerald is the most sought after type of beryl. It is a brilliant green colour which comes from inclusions of chromium and iron. Emerald is most often found in schists which occur in hydrothermal areas. Columbia is well known for its emerald deposits.
translucent green emerald gem

Emerald. Unknown Locality. University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum Collection.

  • Aquamarine: A light blue to blue-green variety of beryl owing its colouration to iron inclusions. The exact colour of the specimen is dependent on the impurities and where they are located within the structure.
light blue aquamarine beryl crystal sitting on baryte crystal

Beryl variety: Aquamarine. Chumar Bakhoor. University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum Collection.


In some applications, graphite, steel or titanium can be used in place of beryllium. However, it is a critical component of many military and aerospace applications, and even though it is expensive to produce, it is not often replaced by other minerals.

  • Gemstones
  • Mineral Collectors
  • As a source of beryllium, a hard silvery-white metallic element with atomic number 4 and atomic weight 9. It has a high melting point at 1287°C and is sometimes used in alloys to strengthen other metals. Some amounts of beryllium are obtained through recycling of beryllium containing scrap.
  • Beryllium alloys
  • Aerospace
  • Automobiles
  • Computers
  • Oil and gas drilling equipment
  • Telecommunications
  • Beryl salts
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • X-ray tubes
  • As a deoxidizer
  • In bronze metallurgy


Beryl is found in many localities world-wide. Some notable localities include:

  • Columbia (Emerald)
  • Africa (Emerald and other Beryl’s)
  • Brazil (Aquamarine and other Beryl’s)
  • Russia (Aquamarine)
  • Pakistan (Aquamarine)
  • California (Other Beryl’s)
  • United States (Other Beryl’s)
  • And many other localities for other beryl’s


The mineral Beryl

Beryl mineral data

Beryl-mineral properties and uses

Mineral photos-Beryllium