Morganite, like the emerald and the aquamarine, is a variety of the mineral beryl. While pure beryl is colorless, its many varieties are distinguished by their different hues. In morganite, it is manganese that is primarily responsible for the gem’s characteristic warm peach hue. Traces of cesium and lithium also infuse color into this stone.
The discovery of this translucent, peach gem can be traced back to the end of 19th century. Morganite was then recognized and sold under various names, including pink emerald and rose beryl. In the year 1910, a stone with characteristics similar to that of a morganite was found in Madagascar. This discovery caught the attention of George Kunz, who was a renowned gemologist. He proposed the name ‘morganite’ in the honor of renowned American gemstone collector and banker – John Pierpont Morgan.
The largest known specimen of morganite was identified in the year 1989 in Bennett Quarry in Buckfield, Maine. Aptly named ‘The Rose of Maine’, this well-formed crystal had an orange hue to it and weighed more than 50 pounds.
Morganite is found all across the globe, including China, Madagascar, Pakistan, Namibia, Myanmar, Russia and USA, among others. In terms of perfection, size and color, Afghanistan has been delivering brilliant morganites for the past 17 years. Stones from this country are presently at par with cleavelandite, a spectacular crystal that belongs to the albite mineral family.
Morganite is often used in crystal healing to calm the mind and create a sense of tranquility. It is believed that the stone can help people deal with issues such as heart problems, nervous disorders and mental imbalances that arise due to a significant amount of stress. Meditation using the stone is often recommended to those who wish to achieve a balanced state of mind.
Wearing a morganite against the skin for long durations does not cause any ill-effects; hence a necklace with a pendant adorned with this gem has always been popular. In addition to releasing unhealthy emotional patterns, morganite is also believed to attract and nurture love. This quality makes it the perfect choice for an engagement or wedding ring.
The popularity of morganite continues to grow, even though there are no scientific studies to prove or support any of the above-mentioned benefits of this stone.
Hardness & Strength
Morganites have a good hardness rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, which makes them an excellent choice for all types of jewelry. In addition to its relatively high hardness, the durability and beauty displayed by this splendid gem have made it extremely sought-after by jewelry enthusiasts around the world.
The popularity of this gemstone is majorly attributed to its gorgeous hue. A morganite that radiates more of a peach hue, including tints of orange and yellow, has most probably not been subjected to heat. This gemstone is usually heat treated, at a relatively low temperature of about 400 degrees centigrade, to only enhance the color. A morganite that has a radiant pink shade is more likely to have been heated, as this process strips the stone of its orange or yellow hues. This industry-accepted standard treatment results in a stable color and does not decrease the value of the gem.
Quality & Grading
Morganites are typically very clean (considerably free from inclusions) and showcase excellent transparency. Apart from color, the value of this alluring stone is based on clarity and cut.
Pleochroic in nature, the morganite gives off a different color, often pale pink or a bluish pink, when viewed under artificial light. At times, it also radiates a weak purple fluorescence. Neutral lighting is hence required to establish its real color. Morganites are generally “eye-clean”, which means that their tiny inclusions (present in almost all morganites) are not visible to the naked eye.
As mentioned earlier, morganites (like aquamarines) do not have many inclusions. They are usually “eye-clean” stones with excellent transparency. When cut and polished, morganites display a vitreous luster. The less transparent gems are carved into cabochons. A morganite that’s free from all inclusions is considered to be of the highest quality.
In order to enhance the color and brilliance of a morganite, it is often faceted. The facets allow light to reflect from several angles. The British Museum collection is home to the world's largest faceted morganite from Madagascar, weighing nearly 600 carats.
This gem is also cut in standard shapes, such as cushion, pear, round and oval, along with distinct designer cuts like trillion, heart and briolette. Morganites that display a rare cat's eye effect are often fashioned into a cabochon (polished, but not faceted) to showcase its uniqueness.
In terms of dimensions, morganite crystals are frequently discovered in very large sizes. Therefore, the price of this gem is not highly influenced by its carat weight.
These factors translate into four main quality grades. Although not universally followed, these grades are the only standardization available when buying morganites and morganite jewelry.
Based on its properties, an aquamarine can be classified into the following categories of quality:
The gemstones in this category comprise of the top 1% of the extremely rare morganites. Peachy pink in color, they exhibit the “eye-clean” property and offer exceptional brilliance.
Almost 10% of all natural morganites available belong to this category. These gemstones are also “eye-clean” and showcase a warm peach hue.
In terms of quality, this category includes the top 33% of the available morganites. They are light peach in color and have slight inclusions.
Very light peach in color, this includes the top 75% of available morganites that have slight to moderate inclusions.
Morganites as a gem offer excellent durability. Minimal care is required to maintain the beauty and luster of this gem.
Always take off your morganite jewelry before exercising, cleaning or engaging in any kind of vigorous physical activity.
Keep your morganite dazzlers away from harsh chemicals.
Morganites can get scratched by harder stones and can also cause scratches to softer ones. It is advisable to store morganite jewelry separately.
For cleaning, use mild soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse well with water to remove any soap-water residue.
Avoid exposing morganites to high heat, as that can cause the color of the gem to fade.
Consider professional care for your fine morganite jewelry at least once in a year.
Morganite, with its high degree of brilliance and an absolutely enchanting hue, deserves to be cherished and cared for. In return, this gorgeous gemstone will sparkle and radiate a distinctive charm for many years to come.