Discovered in California in the early 1900’s, and soon thereafter in Madagascar, this crystal was known as Pink Beryl until 1911 when, at the suggestion of George F. Kunz, the chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co., it was renamed Morganite in honor of the legendary financier and gem collector J. P. Morgan, for his gemological and mineral contributions to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Morgan was also an avid customer and collector for Tiffany’s, where much of the Morganite was sold at the time.
One of the interesting properties of morganite noted by Kunz was its intense red-colored fluorescence when exposed to X-rays, but no phosphorescence when the X-ray source was turned off.
It is said that wearing Morganite, especially in gem form, evokes a sense of peace, joy and inner strength.
Color: Morganite’s color range includes pink, rose, peach, and salmon. In today’s market, the pink and rose tints are more fashionable. The peach and salmon hues seem less popular, but some collectors value untreated peach-colored material more highly than heat-treated pink stones.
Clarity: Like aquamarine, another beryl variety, faceted morganite usually does not have inclusions that are visible to the eye. Less-transparent material is often carved or cut as cabochons.
Cut: Because morganite has distinct pleochroism—pale pink and a deeper bluish pink—it’s necessary to orient the rough carefully for fashioning. Strong hues in morganite are rare, and gems usually have to be fairly large to achieve the finest color. Morganite is cut in all standard shapes and sizes as well as in unique designer and fantasy cuts.
Carat Weight: Morganite comes in a variety of sizes, including large faceted gems and designer cuts.
The gem is almost always heat-treated to improve the pink color. The treatment is not detectable. Heat drives off the yellow or orange tinge, leaving a purer and more attractive pink. The resulting color is stable and won’t fade.
Morganite is the pink to orange-pink variety of beryl, a mineral that includes emerald and aquamarine. Beryl is composed of Berylium Aluminium Silicate; chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6. Morganite’s subtle color is caused by traces of manganese.
Hardness: Moderate to high scratch resistance. Rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Toughness: Good resistance to chipping and breaking.
Stability: No routine concerns for gem owners.
Cleaning: Liquid cleaner, or detergent and water are usually the safest.