Articles

Events

Web Links

Archive

About Minerals

Morganite

With pink a fashion favorite, morganite is a gem that is much in demand. It has a dazzling brilliance and soft color that ranges from clear pink to a lovely peach. If it reminds you of the beauty of aquamarine, that's not surprising since they are the same mineral: morganite is the pastel pink color and aquamarine is the pastel blue color of beryl.

There is something rich and dazzling about morganite. Although its color is pastel, it has a lushness rare in pink gems. And its brilliance makes it a dazzling addition to your jewelry wardrobe, adding a feminine touch to black, gray, earth tones, and navy. Like many other pink gems, morganite looks beautiful set in white gold. The warmth of its color means it also works well in yellow gold, blending beautifully with blue, celadon, peach, yellow, lilac and other rich pastels.

Morganite was first discovered in California in the early twentieth century. A rich gem find of tourmaline, kunzite, and other gems outside San Diego started a gem rush in the region. Morganite was an exciting new discovery, one that drew the attention of the world's most important gem buyer: George Kunz of Tiffany & Co.

Kunz knew that this rich pink gem was something exceptional and he bought all he could. He decided to name it in honor of his biggest customer: millionaire bank tycoon J.P. Morgan, who was an avid gem collector.

Although morganite was also discovered in 1908 in Madagascar and there are also deposits in Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Russia, it remains relatively rare. In fact, its rarity keeps it relatively affordable, since it isn't available in enough quantity to cut in standard sizes and use in manufactured jewelry.

Morganite remains a connoisseur gem, for those who are willing to seek it out for its unique combination of soft shades and dazzling brilliance.

The pink color of morganite is caused by manganese impurities. Morganite most often has a light, silvery-pink color, but other pink forms are also familiar. Its most desirable and valuable color is deep purplish-pink. Peach colored morganite is the next most desired. Gems with orange or yellow hues may be made a purer pink through heat-treatment. Pale pink morganite (as well as colorless beryl) can be irradiated to form blue beryl. Morganite was named by the gemologist George F. Kunz in honor of J. Pierrepont (J.P.) Morgan, who financed his expenditures on the study of gemstones.

Morganite is occasionally be found in large sizes: the largest faceted morganite is a 598.70-carat cushion-shape from Madagascar in the collection of the British Museum. With a hardness of 7.5, morganite is a durable gem perfect for everyday wear. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

from stoney statements 08/08