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Beryl var: Red Beryl

Posted by Harjo Neutkens  
Harjo Neutkens December 09, 2009 11:37PM
This article has been prepared for the Mindat Best Minerals project. The aim of this project is to present information on important localities and specimens for each mineral specie. As new finds are made and new knowledge is made available the individual articles will be revised to include this information. Readers are encouraged to contribute by posting a response in this thread. All revisions will be stored, thus ensuring traceability and availability of previously included information. A complete list of articles can be found in the list of finished Best Minerals articles. To cite this version: Neutkens, H. (2009) Red Beryl, A variety of Beryl. revision 1.0. Mindat Best Minerals Project, article "mesg-67-163097". Please be advised that the photos cannot be used without the consent of the copyright holder

Red Beryl, A variety of Beryl



Click here to view Beryl, here for Beryl var: Emerald, here for Beryl var: Aquamarine, here for Beryl var: Morganite, here for Beryl var: Heliodor, here for Beryl var: Goshenite

Red Beryl, 6cm specimen
Red Beryl, 6cm specimen
Red Beryl, 6cm specimen

Red Beryl is a low-alkali variety of Beryl.
The occurrence of Red Beryl is restricted to the Wah Wah mountains (Beaver County), the Thomas Range (Juab County), the Black Range in New Mexico (all in the USA) and according to Sinkankas to San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

In 1904, Maynard Bixby discovered red beryl in the Thomas Range located in Juab County, Utah. Bixby thought it might be a new variety of beryl, but the raspberry- red color did not correlate with any beryl known to exist at that time (green, blue, pink, yellow, and clear/white). W.F. Hillebrand, a geochemist from the National College in Washington, D.C., identified the mineral as a new type of beryl in 1905.
In 1912, Dr. A. Eppler named it bixbite in honor of its discoverer, now a discredited name. Laboratory analysis showed that manganese and small amounts of iron, chromium, and calcium create the raspberry-red color of red beryl. Like other beryl, red beryl has a hardness of 7.5 to 8.0
Red Beryl was first discovered in the Wah Wah mountains by Lamar Hodges in 1958. In 1977 Ed, Rex and Bob Harris bought the first claim for US$ 50.000, since then their "Ruby Violet" claim has produced gem rough and collectors specimen valued at over 35 million US$

Red beryl formation began with the eruption of a topaz rhyolite lava from volcanic vents. As the lava began to cool, shrinkage cracks formed, creating pathways for high temperature gases rich in beryllium to escape. Oxidized surface water also began seeping into these cracks and mixed with the rising beryllium gases. The gases reacted with the surface water, silica, alkali feldspar, and ironmanganese oxides from the lava to form red beryl crystals.
Red beryl probably grew at temperatures between 300 to 650 degrees Celsius. Red beryl is presently found at only three locations in the world: the Thomas Range and the Wah Wah Mountains in west-central Utah, and the Black Range in New Mexico.

In the Thomas Range, red beryl occurs primarily as short, flat, hexagonal crystals or more rarely as elongated, barrelshaped crystals. The crystals are generally up to 2 –10 mm long and 4 – 6 mm thick. Many of these crystals are too small to be faceted. They are found in cavities and fractures within the Topaz Mountain rhyolite that erupted approximately 6 to 7 million years ago from volcanic vents in the area.
Small crystals can be found in an area called "the Cove," where they may be attached to other minerals such as topaz, bixbyite, garnet, pseudobrookite, or hematite. Larger crystals that have been faceted into gemstones have been found in the northwest part of the Thomas Range near Wildhorse Springs.

The only known deposit of large, gem-quality red beryl in the world is from the Ruby-Violet claims in the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah. These are private claims and no collecting is allowed without permission from the present claim owners.
The crystals occur primarily as elongated hexagonal crystals that are up to 15 mm in length, and the largest crystal discovered to date is 14 mm wide and 34 mm long. Red beryl is generally found along large, near-vertical, northwest-trending fractures and clay-filled seams within the rhyolite member of the Blawn Formation. The rhyolite erupted approximately 18 to 20 million years ago from volcanic vents in the area.
The property has periodically been worked and continues to produce nice mineral specimens and stones suitable for faceting. Red beryl crystals from this location that have been faceted sell for an average of $2,000 per carat. For comparison, gold is currently worth $300 to $320 per ounce (one ounce is equal to 155 carats).

Red Beryl,
Utah, Beaver Co., Wah Wah Mts.

Red Beryl, specimen 6cm
Red Beryl, 6cm
Red Beryl, specimen 6cm
Red Beryl, 6cm
Red Beryl, specimen 6cm
Red Beryl, 6cm

The most important locality in the Wah Wah mountains is the "Violet claim" (see above). It produced fantastic specimens of deep red Beryl on Rhyolite matrix. Accessory minerals are Topaz, Pseudobrookite, Byxbyite and Spessartine Garnets.
Another locality that produces world class Red Beryl specimens is Jets Nos. 1-8 Claims (Harris Red-Beryl Quarry), Gillies Hill, although it might refer to the same claim of the Harris brothers. Maybe anyone with adequate knowledge can clarify that.......

Red Beryl,
Utah, Juab Co., Thomas Range

1,4cm crystal
0,9cm crystal
1,4cm crystal
0,9cm crystal
1,4cm crystal
0,9cm crystal

Similar finds of Red Beryl in and on Rhyolite like those in the Wah Wah mountains have been made in the Thomas Range.
Although good specimens have been found the quality never compares to the spectacular Wah Wah mountains specimens.
The paragenesis is similar to that of the Wah Wah mountains.


Revision no date description editor
1.02009 First Draft Harjo Neutkens

Click here to view Beryl, here for Beryl var: Emerald, here for Beryl var: Aquamarine, here for Beryl var: Morganite, here for Beryl var: Heliodor, here for Beryl var: Goshenite, here for Best Minerals B, here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Edited 12 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2015 09:38AM by Olav Revheim.
Rock Currier December 10, 2009 12:54AM
Thats a good one.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
David Von Bargen December 10, 2009 11:03AM
History of red beryl in Utah

Sinkankas (Shinkakas)
Harjo Neutkens December 10, 2009 03:51PM
Thanks Dave!
Michael C. Michayluk December 09, 2015 09:39PM
Red Beryl is also found in New Mexico, the best known locality being Paramount Canyon in Sierra Co. The crystals are commonly tabular hexagonal prisms, with the c-axis greatly shortened. Many micro and thumbnail size specimens, with Red Beryl crystals ranging from 1-6 mm wide, have been recovered. So far, no gemmy crystals have been big enough to facet, but perhaps they are yet to be found! Here is a link to the best specimen I have found to date. I understand if you would rather not use this in the Best Minerals article, but I thought the New Mexico locality was worth a mention. Cheers!

Michael C Michayluk

EDIT: Sorry I missed the mention of New Mexico in the article already.... nevermind! :)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2015 02:48PM by Michael C. Michayluk.
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