What Is Morganite?

Morganite is a rare form of beryl found mainly in mineral deposits in Afghanistan, Brazil, California and Madagascar. Morganite is typically pink due to its manganese content, but varieties containing colors of violet, yellow and orange are also known. Due to pink morganite's popularity as a gemstone, it is frequently heat treated to remove any yellow coloring. Like other varieties of gemstone beryl, Morganite has a hardness between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs scale, giving it excellent wearing qualities.

Morganite can be seen as a close cousin to both emeralds and aquamarines because all three are forms of beryl. Emeralds are green due to chromium and vanadium atoms, while aquamarines are blue mostly due to iron. Samples of morganite of notable size and quality were first discovered in Madagascar in 1910. Following this discovery, the gemologist G. F. Kunz recommended that the gemstone be named after financier J. P. Morgan. In December 1910, the New York Academy of Sciences officially named the mineral, previously known simply as pink beryl, morganite.

One of the largest known specimens of morganite was found in 1989 at the Bennet Quarry in Buckfield, Maine. The rough crystal measured 9 inches long, nearly 12 inches across and weighed over 50 pounds. Since its discovery, it has been known as the Rose of Maine.