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Author Topic: Whats in a name: Green beryl vs. emerald  (Read 4108 times)
Barrett
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« on: July 10, 2011, 02:09:39 AM »

I would like to hear everyones thoughts ands opinions on what makes an emerald an emerald and a green beryl just a green beryl.  What is the criteria that defines exactly why one is called emerald and one green beryl.  Please be specific.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 08:35:01 AM by amguy » Logged

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Gaylon
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 08:45:14 AM »

I have asked this question before.The answers are varied, but it seems that to be an emerald there has to be trace amounts of chromium or in the case of African emeralds vanadium with no copper. Green beryl contains iron which gives it its' green coloration. I guess to truly identify one it would have to be tested, which to me would be an expensive option if it turned out to be green beryl.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 08:55:30 AM by Gaylon » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 02:20:21 PM »

Chromium and/or vanadium content is what I've also been told.

Seems a somewhat silly and relatively recent distinction/definition, though. Traditionally, no one cared or checked whether an "emerald" had chromium vs. iron. Though the mineral traces are great for pinning down origin, "emerald" has always simply been a saturated green beryl (no matter what was coloring it). Good, all-natural color should be most important, IMO. Chromium and vanadium just happen to be behind most of the richer colors. But if deeply colored iron-green beryl exist that would have been considered "emerald" in the past, I don't see that it should be denigrated to the category of "green beryl". By making the distinction based on trace mineral content, they haven't brought any clarity to the old color-based naming sytem, but rather have further complicated it by introducing another esoteric element to the mix. Our "modern" and "scientific" naming for beryls and other stones is just another illogical mess designed by agenda-driven committees.
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Barrett
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2011, 09:12:27 PM »

Thanks for the answers guys!  Glad to hear what others think. 
So..if we use color as the key for defining what an emerald is then would these 2 gemstones and 1 rough be considered emeralds?




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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2011, 10:01:38 PM »

On my monitor, top and bottom look in the range of "emerald green" beryl (grass green, slightly yellow to slightly blue). The middle has the blue-gray undertone that I associate with "iron green" beryls.

But we're living in a world where "colorless morganite", "yellow aquamarine" and such are sold everyday. I'd be satisfied if we were just to list the color ("green beryl", "yellow beryl", "colorless beryl", etc.), and with terms such as "aquamarine", "emerald", etc. used as adjectives merely to describe the hue of whichever color rather than nouns making them out to be sub-species of beryl.
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Jim A.
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 10:09:39 PM »

Bixbite?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 10:16:32 PM »

Hey let's not forget "Green Amethyst"!!!   Tongue  Man, I hate that term.  I keep tellin' people at the jewelry stores not to call it that!    Rant Pointing Finger
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 11:27:35 PM »

I would call them emeralds. Like R2 said earlier, they didn't test them when they were first discovered, and they were emeralds if they were beryl. I know mistakes were made in spinel and rubies, but it didn't change the fact that rubies are red and emeralds are green.
And I agree with CD, "green amethyst"? Give me a break.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2011, 02:15:04 AM »

Bixbite?  Roll Eyes
Yup, CIBJO deprecated that term (I recall, though, on the silly basis that it might be confused with bixbyite)…and then preferred the term "red beryl". So now we have 2 overlapping red-colored beryls (bixbite/red beryl and non-deprecated morganite) that are both colored by manganese. That's even worse than calling chromium/vanadium greens as "emerald" and iron-colored greens as "green beryl". I've seen bixbite that's pale enough, and morganite that's saturated enough, to make the distinction a joke. Of course, deprecation only means there is a preferred new term, it allows older terms to continue in use Roll Eyes

Hey let's not forget "Green Amethyst"!!!   Tongue  Man, I hate that term.  I keep tellin' people at the jewelry stores not to call it that!
Google returns some 2 million hits on "Green Amethyst", so lots of tellin' needs to be done. Also saw someone touting "yellow and golden morganite" and "blue citrine".
« Last Edit: July 12, 2011, 02:22:21 AM by rocks2dust » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2011, 10:33:43 AM »

blue citrine?  ok i think my head is starting to hurt.  Looks like I'm going to have to start "educating" people again...  heavy machine gun
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2011, 11:05:29 PM »

Well...I had addressed this issue a few years back on another forum and as I was doing the research I found some examples and pictures which I posted above.  The top 2 pictures, which are the cab and gemstone, are non- chromium/vanadium beryls.  No traces of either.  The lower light one(rough) is an emerald from North Carolina which is chromium bearing.  I used that because it was very light in color and I had a spectra ran on it.

I used to believe, when I wrote my little snippet on the other forum regarding the chromophores, that regardless of color if it had chromium or vanadium then it was an emerald.  Maybe I never thought about it or maybe I was nieve back then because nowadays I believe using color, regardless of chrmophore, should be the defining characteristic.  Due to my way of looking at things through the goggles of science I wanted them to fit in nice, neat, and cozy and by using chromium and vanadium rergardless of amount to define the emerald was a clean way of doing it.  You measure the "said" stone in hand..any chromium..any vanadium...=emerald.  That was the way I used to think it was/should but I was wrong then and I would be wrong now.
 I think color should be the way to determine if it's green beryl or emerald.  It used to be just chromium when they determined what the  chromophore was in emeralds back years ago.  That was fine and dandy...but then ole vanadium comes along..from where Nigeria???...suddenly vanadium colored green beryls look just like chromium colored green beryls.  So they are added as a chromophore that can be used to desribe an emerald.  Well this leaves out the only other chromophore that can make green in beryl…Iron.  That’s not fair to iron….how come 2 of the 3 get prestige status but ole Iron gets the back of the bus.  What two’s company and three’s a crowd???.  The chromophore used  by the beryl to get it’s green should not matter. 
The argument I have heard that when emerald was first talked about, coveted, and described many hundreds to thousands of years it was called an emerald due to it’s fantastic rich green color.  That was way before chromium and vanadium and chromophores.  That is a correct and plausible argument and one I can agree with to help further my belief in the way to describe emerald/green beryl.  My only concern with using color is the delineation mark between green beryl and emerald.  I read somewhere that the proper definition when using color was “yellowish green, green, or bluish green/ medium to dark green or vivid green” ….. That may be G.I.A.’s definition as I don’t remember where I got that from.  What is defined as a “medium green”?  Won’t one persons “medium green” be another persons “light-medium green” and be another persons “light-light-medium green“?  I put that rough piece of emerald crystal up because when I got it from a friend I thought it wasn’t an emerald due to the lightness of the color.  I had a spectra done on it and it is indeed colored by chromium.  From now on it won’t matter to me whether it’s colored by Fe, Cr, or V.  What matters is the color.  I would like to know what saturation of green would separate green beryl from emerald so I can use that as my new and proper way to define an emerald.   Any thoughts, examples, and opinions?
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Jim A.
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2011, 11:32:05 PM »

There's a chart you can order from GIA for color in emeralds.
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Barrett
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 11:56:18 PM »

These are also colored by iron.."green beryl".  I have seen many a emerald that was a lighter color.  These I would consider to light in color.







Jim you must have the chart!
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Jim A.
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 12:19:19 AM »

I do.
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Jim
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2011, 04:49:54 PM »

Also, medium and light green are actually defined colors and specific names for specific colors, no opinion needed. Use a Ral or Pantone color chart, all over online. They define colors with names and numbers and have been a standard for a very long time. Wink.
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