Red Beryl is the rarest form of beryl,
other varieties of which include emeralds and aquamarines.
The only crystals suitable for faceting are found in the Wah Wah Mountains
(the Violet Claims), near Beaver, Utah. Currently, this is the only place in
the world where gem quality Red Beryl is found.
Red Beryl was first noted in Utah in 1905, in the Thomas Range in Juab County,
Utah. The small crystals were found in a rhyolite host rock and were translucent
but rarely gemmy. It wasn't until the late 1950's that larger, better
quality crystals were found in the Wah Wah Mountains in Beaver County.
Consistent mining of the Red Beryl in the Wah Wah Mountains has only taken place
Red Beryl occurs as hexagonal crystals which is typical of beryl. The refractive
index is 1.564-1.574 and the specific gravity is 2.66-2.70. It's primary
chemical composition is Be3Al2SiO3,
but there are traces of many other elements. A more detailed examination including geological, chemical, physical and
gemological information can be found in the magazine
Gems and Gemology, Volume XX, Winter 1984.
Red Beryl is thought to have formed along fractures, in cavities or within the
host rhyolite from a high-temperature gas or vapor phase released during the
latter stages of cooling and crystallization of the rhyolite magma. Rhyolites
ordinarily lack gem minerals and beryls of any sort is extremely uncommon,
therefore the presence of Red Beryl suggests some unusual conditions for gemstone formation.
Red Beryl crystals range in color from orange-red to purplish-red with medium
tones. The largest crystal yet recovered was 14mm x 34mm and weighed
approximately 54 carats. The average faceted gemstone is .15 carats and the largest
faceted gemstone to date weighed 8.0 carats.
Red Beryl description and images provided by Tim Schmanski.