Morganite is also known as pink or rose beryl and pink emerald. Sweet and incredibly feminine, this precious jewel is part of the beryl family of gemstones, which includes emeralds, aquamarines, heliodor and morganite. Morganite was named for J.P. Morgan who was an American banker, philanthropist, financier and a customer of Tiffany & Co. in the early 20th century.
Naming Pink Beryl
J.P. Morgan became one of the notable collectors of gems and minerals at the turn of the 20th century, amassing several noteworthy collections with the help of George Kunz and Tiffany & Co. A discovery in the early 1900s in California of the rare pink beryl piqued interest in the stone. The gemologist at Tiffany & Co, George Kunz, saw an opportunity to honor Morgan by naming the mineral after him.
The color of morganite is pink, but the range can run from a pale pink to a light violet. Some stones have an orange or light peach tinge. Morganite is the name of the mineral, but pink emerald is the name used by many jewelers and those in the jewelry trade. Morganite can have patches of yellow strewn through it, but much of it is almost clear and only tinged with color. This makes finding a deeply colored stone with few imperfections of great interest to gemologists and collectors. Since beryl itself has no color, it is thought the colors in the beryl family are caused by impurities and trace minerals in the stone.
Morganite is one of the most valued of secondary gemstones. If value were just about availability, then morganite would be extremely valuable, because finding it in its deepest pink color doesn’t happen often. But value is a combination of demand and availability, so demand for morganite is dependent on the fashion market and the knowledge of the buying public.
Treatments for Beryl
To bring out the pink in morganite, the stone is sometimes treated. Heat seems to generate a pink color in an orange stone. Natural heat from sunlight can change the orange stone to a pale pink, just like heating it with an artificial heat source. Irradiation is sometimes used, along with a second treatment of heat to create the pink color.
Morganite and Investment
Purchasing morganite as jewelry is different than purchasing it for investment purposes. Morganite purchased for investment is generally a rare specimen, and not a stone meant to be cut and sold as jewelry. It is generally larger and deeper in color. Stones of 50 carats of more that qualify in clarity and color are usually found in collections and museums.
References and ResourcesUniversity of California, Berkeley: Characteristics of Beryl
Gemological Institute of America Inc: Morganite Quality Factors