Published: August 2011
In a world where words like fiery, brilliant and flashy are used to describe a gemstone, the serene and tender pink color of morganite comes as a refreshing change. The gemstone lived much of its life in relative obscurity rarely receiving much attention from anyone, including collectors and gemologists. It was simply called ‘pink beryl’ as it belongs to the group of beryl gems which also includes emerald and aquamarine.
Radiant cor-de-rosa morganite comes from the African nation of Mozambique. The name cor-de-rosa is actually the Portuguese adjective meaning “pink” which accurately describes these beauties! Available in shades ranging from pastel pink to feisty fuchsia to subtle apricot, JTV® has a diverse mixture of cuts and shapes sure to satisfy our most discriminating customers, inlcuding calibrated gem sizes allowing for easy setting into hundreds of semi-mounts and castings.
Situated between the southeastern countries of South Africa and Tanzania, Mozambique’s entire eastern coast is bordered by the Indian Ocean. It has been an independent country since 1975 after almost five centuries of Portuguese control.
After surviving several decades of strife and civil war, Mozambique’s future is more promising than it has been in ages. Government officials are working hard to turn the economy around and make their country a world travel destination with self-sustaining industries. Gemstone mining plays a prominent role in their strategy.
Mozambique is the source for many precious gemstones, including morganite, zircon, tourmaline, corundum, scapolite, diopside, garnet, kyanite, apatite, dumortierite and quartz. Many geological experts sense Mozambique still has many undiscovered precious resources, including minerals and metals.
Currently, South African and Brazilian mining companies are very active in Mozambique. When they uncover morganite, it is often found in lithium-rich pegmatite veins associated with elbaite tourmaline, apatite, and kunzite. On occasion, rough morganite crystals may even contain tourmaline inclusions. Less frequently, morganite may be found as pebbles in alluvial deposits. Minas Gerais, Brazil has yielded crystals weighing over 50 pounds.
In 1911, morganite was discovered in Madagascar and was quickly hailed as an exciting gem alternative to pink tourmaline and kunzite. Around the same time, morganite was also found in San Diego County in southern California. These discoveries triggered a keen interest in collectors and jewelers, including George F. Kunz, Tiffany & Co.’s chief gemologist/buyer, and J.P. Morgan, the famous financier. Both avid collectors realized pink beryl was quite a rarity.
By the turn of the 20th century, J. P. Morgan had become one of the most important collectors of gems and minerals. With the assistance of Tiffany’s George F. Kunz, he had already assembled quite possibly the most important gem collection in the U.S. which included many American gemstones. The collection, with over 1,000 specimens and gems, was exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris in 1889 and received two awards. Again assisted by Mr. Kunz, Mr. Morgan subsequently built two more world-class gem collections, which were later donated to the American Museum of History in New York and included some of the finest gems ever seen.
Morgan’s contributions to the gem world were acknowledged when Kunz, instrumental in the naming of the newly found pink beryl, suggested the name “morganite” in his honor. With its newly acquired name, morganite finally began receiving the recognition it so richly deserved. The stone has ever since been favored by Tiffany’s designers even though it remains a relatively scarce gem.
A flawless stone and one of the world's largest pieces of cut morganite (from Madagascar in 1913) was placed on permanent display at the Vault at the Natural History Museum in London on November 2007.
The world’s largest faceted morganite is a 598.70-carat cushion cut gem from Madagascar and is currently housed in the collection of the British Museum.
Morganite’s fine pink tones radiate a charm and tenderness that is unmatched by any other pink gemstone. Its pink innocence is backed by an excellent hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. A good toughness rating makes morganite a perfect gem to use in jewelry. While some feel that it presents best when placed into white gold or sterling silver mountings, yellow gold also illuminates its pastel beauty. The gemstone will exist side by side in perfect harmony with the metal, never overpowering it and never getting lost in the design. Whether the gem is transparent or translucent in appearance, morganite’s soft pastel hues bring out its inherent beauty.
Morganite is available in many fine pink hues. Some morganite stones are decidedly pink while others tend more toward a lilac or light violet color. Sometimes there may be a hint of orange. When everything is said and done, Mother Nature has provided in morganite the right gemstone color for every type and each skin color. Morganite’s color always emanates charm and vitality with a touch of tenderness thrown in for good measure.
This gem has a wonderful gift—even in times of great stress it points one toward life’s brighter aspects. Just the sight of a beautiful morganite is often enough to put one in a good mood. A person who chooses this gemstone opts for “la vie en rose” (lively in pink) even in the bleakness of everyday life. So it's easy to see why morganite is often used in gemstone therapy for stress-related problems, radiating a pleasant feeling of relaxation, calm and joy for life.
When valuing a colored gem, color is most important. Morganite owes its beautiful pastel coloring to the presence of manganese. While some gems are completely natural in color, other morganite gems may be heat treated and/or irradiated to remove any salmon or orangey tones that are present leaving only delicate, light pink color. When purchasing a morganite gem, it is important to note that you should select one in as large a size as possible. The beauty of morganite’s color really comes to life as the stone size increases.
Unlike many stones that can be quite included, especially including morganite's cousin emerald, inclusions in morganite are rare. Pair excellent clarity with skilled cutting and you have a winning combination that allows morganite’s subtle color to shine at its best.
The limited availability of morganite cannot sustain high market demands and intensive mining could quickly deplete existing resources. Lack of awareness among gemstone lovers helps to keep prices at modest levels. Any gemstone expert would confirm that the beauty and durability of this gemstone is worth far more than its price tag would suggest.
Two major sources of morganite are Brazil and Madagascar, though other notable sources include Afghanistan, China, Mozambique, Namibia, Russia and the United States.
Morganite is believed to encourage love, patience and enhance communication skills as well as bring about the brighter side of life. Morganite is said to promote peace, calm and relaxation.
Although morganite leans toward the pastel spectrum of color, its brilliance will make it a dazzling addition to your jewelry wardrobe. This gem is one of the few which is both affordable and yet rare at the same time.