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Ruby Violet claims

Red beryl from Ruby Violet claims
Red beryl on rhyolite from Ruby Violet claims. / Parent Géry, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  In short

Red beryls belong to the rarest gems in the world. The only location that has provided a significant amount of these gorgeous gemstones is Ruby Violet claims at Wah Wah Mountains, Utah.

4.2 out of 10 stars 41.8%

GPS coordinates
38.2636 N 113.4522 W
Location, address
North America, United States, Utah, Beaver County, Ruby Violet claims
Alternate names
Violet claims; Violet Mine; Red Emerald Mine; Harris Mine
Gemstones
Red beryl, also other types of beryl, garnets, topaz

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WorldYellow In detail

Geology

Red beryl is a unique variety of beryl with an intense raspberry red color. Another excellent and very rare gemstone – pezzottaite – also was considered to be red beryl, but it has a different chemical composition, another form of crystals, and a softer hue. Since 2003 it is recognized as a separate mineral.

Red beryl, Ruby Violet claims
Red beryl, Ruby Violet claims. This sample could be the best piece of red beryl ever. / Rob Lavinsky, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Thus, true red beryl is found only in several locations of Utah and New Mexico states in the USA as well as in San Luis Potosi state in Mexico.

The only location in the world where this gemstone is found in a significant amount, is Ruby Violet claims in Wah Wah Mountains.

There these gemstones have formed in the fractures of Blawn Formation rhyolites – volcanic rocks that formed during volcanic eruptions of the middle-late Miocene period some 12 – 8 million years ago.

These fractures formed due to the cooling of the rock – but volcanic gases continued to flow through these fractures for a long time. These gases contained traces of beryllium and other substances. They mixed with the water vapor and on the walls of rock started gradual growth of beryl crystals. The unique color of the crystals was obtained from the manganese. Later fractures were filled with clay.

These unique conditions were quite local – beryls in Ruby Violet claims have been found in 900 by 1900 m large area.

Red beryls from Ruby Violet claims
Red beryls from Ruby Violet claims. / Géry Parent, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

History of Ruby Violet claims

Red beryl was discovered elsewhere – in the Thomas Range some 145 km to the north in 1905. Initially, it was named bixbite – but this name is not used anymore to avoid confusion with another mineral named bixbyite.

The find in Ruby Violet claims was discovered by Lamar Hodges in 1958 during the unsuccessful search for uranium ore.

Hodges family mined red beryls there until 1976 when the mine was purchased by the Harris family. They organized the mining of this extremely expensive gemstone – this was careful mining, searching the stones by hand and working for some months per year when the weather allowed this.

Extensive geological research in this area was done in 1994 – 1996 and the results were promising – under the ground are some more prospective fractured zones. But, even, with the extreme prices of red beryls in the market, digging of increasingly deep mines and sieving of the rock was too daunting and expensive. Thus, in 2001 – 2002 industrial mining activities ceased and mines were recultivated.

Only in the spring of 2021 the mining was restarted in a part of the find.

The most expensive gems?

In fact, no one can tell which gemstone is the most expensive. Some are too rare – only a few crystals exist and are not traded.

But red beryl definitely is multiple times more expensive than diamonds of similar size.

It is a beautiful and noble gemstone. Contrary to most gemstones, red beryl does not need artificial improvements, such as heating and irradiation. But the main reason for its extreme price is the rarity.

Many of the red beryls are not available and not known to a wider public (also a common thing in the premium gemstone market) but it is assessed that there are less than 300 faceted red beryls that are carat-sized or larger. The largest faceted red beryl is 4.5 ct large. The largest raw crystals were up to 5 cm long.

References

  1. Red Beryl, mindat.org. Accessed on 8th February 2022.
  2. Ruby Violet claims, mindat.org. Accessed on 8th February 2022.
  3. James E. Shigley, Timothy J. Thompson, and Jeffrey D. Keith. Red Beryl from Utah: A Review and Update, Gems & Gemology, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2003. Accessed on 8th February 2022.

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