Morganite is one of the birthstones of October. It is named after J.P.Morgan for his financial supports for arts and sciences as well as his gemstone gifts to museums in New York and Pairs. Morganite is part of the Beryl family of gemstones, and is one of the more popular Beryl varieties, alongside other gemstones such as Emeralds and Aquamarines.
History and lore
Morganite was first discovered in Madagascar in 1910. It can form large crystals but is smaller in comparison to some other gemstones in the Beryl family like the Aquamarine. The largest Morganite rough ever mined is the ‘Rose of Maine’, unearthed in North America in 1989. It yielded several cut gems, including a 184 cts faceted piece on display at Maine State Museum. The largest faceted stone, however, is a 598.7 cts morganite on display at The British Museum.
Morganites colour come in a range from pink to orange-pink. Pink Morganites are generally more desired by the market than their salmon colour counterparts which showcases a strong component of orange. Colour in Morganites normally becomes more saturated as the size gets bigger. Morganite has also been known by some trade names such as ‘Pink Beryl’ or ‘Pink Emerald’ to tap on popularities of other members in the Beryl family such as Aquamarine and Emerald. Morganite is indeed a rare and beautiful gemstone, but its prices definitely do not approach the price levels of Emeralds.
Morganites generally have less inclusions and have more well-formed crystals than other precious gemstones such as Rubies or Emeralds. Finding an eye clean Morganite and an eye clean Emerald is on a completely different scale of difficulty, although they both belong to the Beryl family. This also means that Morganites are mostly faceted, because they have great clarity, allowing good brilliance when cut. Thus, when purchasing a Morganite, an eye clean stone is what you should be looking out for. Morganites with obvious inclusions can be bought, but at a discount rate proportionate to it.
Morganites can come from many origins such as Brazil, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Namibia and more. The majority of the Morganites available in the market today comes from Brazil, the best material however, still comes from the original deposit in Madagascar. Morganites from the original deposit in Madagascar may command a higher price in the market, as it is sought after by collectors and consumers alike.
Morganite is commonly heated gemstone to remove the orange or yellow hue, hence achieving a purer pink colour which is more desired by the current market. Heat treatment of Morganites are almost non-detectable due to heating process done in low heat. Morganites can also be irradiated to produce better colours, but such treatments are not stable and would fade over time. This treatment should be disclosed, and we personally do not recommend buying such stones.
Synthetic Morganites do exist but they are uncommon in the market as it is uneconomical to produce.
With a Mohs scale rating of 7.5-8, Morganites are durable gemstones for jewellery as long as it is treated with care, as required by any gemstone, to prevent against scratching and hard knocks. Cleaning of Morganites should be done using warm soapy water and a soft brush. It can also be cleaned in an ultrasonic machine provided that the gemstone has no liquid inclusions or fractures. Exposure to heat and sudden drastic change in temperature is also not recommended for Morganites.