The name beryl is from the ancient Greek beryllos for the precious blue-green color of sea water. This was originally applied to all green gemstones, but later used only for beryl. Some scholars believe the word beryl is related to the ancient trading city of Belur or perhaps has ancient Indian origins (being derived from the old Hindi word velurya or the Sanskrit word vaidurya).
Beryl is famous for its perfect, hexagonal prismatic crystals that occur individually or in clusters. These range in size from the microscopic to enormous giants of 25 feet or more. Understandably, only very small amounts of these enormous crystals are of a sufficient quality to be used in jewelry.
All beryl varieties can be faceted into various gem cuts, and some beryls display phenomena such as asterism (star effect), chatoyancy (cat’s eye effect) and an unusual effect in emerald called the trapiche. Trapiche emeralds are found only in Colombia.
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