Gold looks great against the skin. Golden gems look even better. Perfect with earth tones and just the right contrast with hot bright pastels, golden beryl is a versatile addition to every jewelry wardrobe.
Although it isn’t well known, Golden beryl has an illustrious pedigree. Like people, gems come in closely related families. One of the most important gem families is beryl. With a trace of chromium to bestow a fabulous green, beryl becomes emerald, the rare and valuable green gem. If instead, nature includes a trace of iron in one valence state, beryl is aquamarine. You might not even realize that beryl comes in other colors.
If the iron in beryl has a different valence state, it isn’t pale blue: it turns a rich golden yellow. Golden beryl is as brilliant as aquamarine, with a warm sunny color.
Golden beryl was discovered in Namibia in 1913 in a pegmatite that also produced aquamarine. The mining company that found it named it Heliodor, after the Greek words for sun helios and gift doron , and commissioned a leading jewelry designer of the time, Lucas von Cranach, to create a fabulous jewelry ensemble for Kaiser Wilhem II of Germany and his wife in 1914.
These marketing efforts made golden beryl a sensation worldwide. Of course, a world war intervened and golden beryl was forgotten. It has not been as popular since.
Today golden beryl is also found in Brazil and Madagascar, although fine gems with an intense banana-peel yellow are rare.
Because golden beryl is largely unknown, it is much more affordable than aquamarine. Because the match of iron and beryl is a complementary, the crystals often grow large and lovely, so cut stones can be sizable. The largest faceted golden beryl, 2,054 carats, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
Golden beryl is a durable gem, excellent for daily wear. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.