RED BERYL - Be3 All2 Si6O18


Examples of typical habits of Red Beryl from the Thomas Range.

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Red Beryl (Pink)

Red Beryl (Pink Rosette)

Red Beryl (Cluster)

Red Beryl (Prismatic)

Red Beryl (Topaz Combo)
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Crystal Description: Hexagonal

Physical Properties:
Color- Rose pink to deep red
Luster- Glassy
Hardness- 7.5 - 8
Cleavage- Poor basal
Specific Gravity- 2.6 - 2.8

Red beryl usually occurs in either slender hexagonal prisms terminated on both ends by the basal pinacoid or as small hexagonal tablets either as single crystals or clusters. Crystals have been found in the Thomas Range, near Wildhorse Springs, up to 1" (2.5 cm) in length and 5/8" (15 mm) in width, however, crystals are generally much smaller, usually less than 1/4" (6 mm). At one location on the west side of the Thomas Range they occur as tabular crystal ‘rosettes’ (rose-like) up to 5/8" (15 mm) in width. It sometimes occurs perched on topaz crystals.

Another mineral discovered by Maynard Bixby at the Maynard Topaz Mine is a peculiar rose red variety of beryl. Most people are familiar with beryl, the green variety being emerald and the blue variety being aquamarine. Bixby thought it was beryl, but the color was unknown at that time. He sent a few specimens to Professor W.F. Hillebrand, a geochemist at the National College in Washington D.C. Hillebrand described the mineral as a new variety of beryl and in 1912, the German mineralogist, Professor A. Eppler, named this new variety of beryl Bixbite, also in Bixby’s honor. This name, however, is seldom used any more because it is so often confused with the similar sounding bixbyite.

Red beryl is rare and only found at three locations in the world; the Wah Wah Mountains in south central Utah, the Thomas Range in the west desert area of Utah and the Black Range in New Mexico.

The most famous is the Violet Claims located in the Wah Wah Mountains in south central Utah. Here crystals occur in a highly altered white rhyolite. The beryl form elongated prismatic crystals exceeding 2 inches in length and 0.5 inches in diameter. They are a deep raspberry red color and are often of gem quality.

The second deposit is in the Thomas Range. Here the crystals are found either as elongated prismatic crystals up to 1 inch in length and 0.5 inches in diameter or as short tabular crystals up to 5/8" diameter by 0.25 inch in length. The color varies from dark red to a light raspberry pink. In the northwestern part of the Thomas Range, near Wildhorse Springs, elongated prismatic crystals have been found that were suitable for cut gemstones.

The smaller tabular crystals, while sometimes of gem quality, are seldom of sufficient size to be cut into gemstones. The red beryl in the Thomas Range form mainly as flat hexagonal tabular crystals. So far, the elongated crystals have only been found at Wildhorse Springs and one other small area on the west side of the range. At one location on the west side of the range they sometimes occur as flat tabular crystal rosettes resembling hematite roses. The tabular red beryl usually occur perched on cavity walls or occasionally even on topaz crystals. Various combinations of red beryl with bixbyite, red beryl with garnet, or red beryl with pseudobrookite have been found in the Thomas Range.

Recently, a third location was discovered in the Black Range in New Mexico. Here small red beryl (seldom exceeding 1/16" in width or length) occur in a highly altered rhyolite; very similar in occurrence to the Thomas Range. In recent years there have been a number of reports on a rhyolitic red beryl occurrence in Mexico. So far, none of these reports have been substantiated, however, the possibility is not too unlikely considering the similarity of the geology and mineralogy of this area with the Thomas Range. There are three areas within Topaz Valley where the red beryl can be found.
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