Rare variety of beryl

Red beryl (ˈred bɛrəl red-BERR-al), formerly known as bixbite and marketed as red emerald or scarlet emerald, is an extremely rare variety of beryl as well as one of the rarest minerals on Earth.[1][2][3]: 19  The gem gets its red color from manganese ions embedded inside of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate crystals.[1] The color of red beryl is stable up to 1000 degrees. Red Beryl can come in various tints like strawberry, bright ruby, cherry, and orange.[4]

The largest crystals of red beryl are about 2 cm (0.79 in) wide and 5 cm (2.0 in) long. However, most crystals are under 1 cm (0.39 in) long.[1] Recently, the red variety of Pezzottaite has been sold in markets as red beryl by some sellers.[5]

Deposits and rarity

Red beryl was discovered in 1904 by Maynard Bixby in the Wah Wah mountains in Utah.[6] In 1912 the gem was named bixbite by Alfred Eppler after Maynard Bixby.[7] The old synonym "bixbite" is deprecated, since it can cause confusion with the mineral bixbyite.[8]

The greatest concentration of gem-grade red beryl comes from the Ruby-Violet Claim in the Wah Wah Mountains of mid-western Utah, discovered in 1958 by Lamar Hodges, of Fillmore, Utah, while he was prospecting for uranium.[9]

Red beryl is very rare and has been reported only from a handful of locations: Wah Wah Mountains, Paramount Canyon, Round Mountain and Juab County.[10][11] This gem is also a thousand times more rare than gold.[7]

According to the Utah Geological Survey they estimated that one red beryl is found for every 150,000 diamonds.[1] According to Gemmological Association of Great Britain a 2 carat red beryl has the same rarity as a 40 carat diamond.[12]

Red beryl is said to be roughly the same price or more valuable than emerald[11] although it is a hundred times rarer than emerald. Its rarity has made it less popular but red beryl crystals that are over 1 carat can sell for US$ 20,000.[3]: 123  In 2008, one carat can sell for US$5000 or more.[3]: 19 


Red beryl rough crystals can be easily distinguished by hexagonal crystal systems. This gem has been known to be confused with pezzottaite, a caesium analog of beryl, that has been found in Madagascar and more recently Afghanistan; cut gems of the two varieties can be distinguished from their difference in refractive index.[13] Like emerald and unlike most other varieties of beryl, red beryl is usually highly included.

Red beryl has inclusions like feathers and fractures. Some mineral inclusions include quartz, feldspar, hematite, and bixbyite.[12]


While gem beryls are ordinarily found in pegmatites and certain metamorphic rock, red beryl forms in topaz-bearing rhyolites.[14] It is formed by crystallizing under low pressure and high temperature from a pneumatolytic phase along fractures or within near-surface miarolitic cavities of the rhyolite. Associated minerals include bixbyite, quartz, orthoclase, topaz, spessartine, pseudobrookite and hematite.[15] The dark red color is attributed to Mn3+ ions.[16] Synthetic red beryl is also produced.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d "Red Beryl: One of the World's rarest gemstones - mined in Utah". geology.com. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  2. ^ 16 CFR 23.26
  3. ^ a b c Grande, Lance; Augustyn, Allison (2009-11-15). Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-30511-0.
  4. ^ "Red Beryl gemstone information". www.gemdat.org. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  5. ^ "Bixbite (Red Beryl)". National Gem Lab. 2017-03-04. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  6. ^ "Red Beryl Value, Price, and Jewelry Information - Gem Society". International Gem Society. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  7. ^ a b "Glad You Asked: What gemstone is found in Utah that is rarer than diamond and more valuable than gold? – Utah Geological Survey". Retrieved 2021-09-04.
  8. ^ "The Mineral Beryl". Minerals.net. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Red Emerald History". RedEmerald.com. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Red Beryl". www.mindat.org. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  11. ^ a b Oldershaw, Cally (2003). Firefly Guide to Gems. Firefly Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-55297-814-6.
  12. ^ a b DGA, Rona Bierrum FGA. "Understanding Red Beryl". The Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  13. ^ a b "Bixbite". The Gemstone List. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Red beryl value, price, and jewelry information". International Gem Society. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  15. ^ Ege, Carl (September 2002). "What gemstone is found in Utah that is rarer than diamond and more valuable than gold?". Survey Notes. Vol. 34, no. 3. Archived from the original on 8 November 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Color in the beryl group". Mineral Spectroscopy Server. minerals.caltech.edu. California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2009.