Red Beryl (#25)

A single lustrous gem to gemmy 7/16" x 3/16" x 3/16" crystal on grayish rhyolite.
North America Violet Claims, Wah Wah Mountains, Beaver County, Utah, USA 1 ½" x 1 ½" x 1"

 

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Red beryl is very rare, and the gem-quality material comes from the Ruby-Violet Claim in the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah. The crystals are not large, generally in the centimeter range in length, but the cut gemstones have about 1,000 times the value of gold and are many, many times rarer than diamond. The mineral has been found in just a few localities in Utah and New Mexico, but the Ruby-Violet Claim is the only one that produces gem-quality specimens.

Unlike other varieties of beryl, red beryl occurs in a volcanic rock called rhyolite. The beryl forms along clay-filled seams that were likely cracks that developed during cooling of the erupted rhyolite. These cracks allowed hot water and beryllium-rich fluids to react with the cooling rock, leading to chemical reactions that produced the red beryl.

The crystals exhibit only small volumes that are defect-free and suitable for cutting into the best gems, hence red beryl cut stones are quite small. Even so, their rarity makes such stones very pricey. Most mineral collectors who have red beryl specimens prize them as whole crystals, however imperfect, and would never consider allowing theirs to be cut into a gemstone.