Morganite Gemstone History


Rare Pink Morganite, Madagascar

Rare Pink Morganite

The gemstone variety known as Morganite was first discovered in Madagascar in 1910. Morganite is the rare pink form of beryl, a mineral family that includes well-known gems such as emerald and aquamarine.

JP Morgan, financier and philanthropist

JP Morgan, American financier
and philanthropist (1837-1913) 

Morganite was named in honor of J.P. Morgan, the American banker and philanthropist, by the New York Academy of Sciences. George F. Kunz, the famous gemologist who headed the geological section of the Academy, said that Morgan was honored especially for his gift of several major gem collections to museums such as the American Museum of Natural History. In fact Kunz, as the chief gemologist at Tiffany & Co, had himself assembled the collection that became known as the second Tiffany-Morgan collection.

All the members of the beryl family are beryllium aluminum silicates by chemical composition. The different beryl colors are the result of trace elements. Emerald is colored green by chromium and vanadium, while aquaramine is colored blue by traces of iron. Golden or yellow beryl is also colored by traces of iron. Morganite derives its peach or pink color from manganese, though morganite specimens typically contain traces of cesium and lithium as well.

Salmon Pink Morganite
Salmon Pink Morganite

Morganite is quite a hard gem, with a Mohs rating of 7.5 to 8.0. Beryl has a refractive index of 1.577 to 1.583 and a density of 2.72. 

In general, morganite tends to have fewer inclusions than emerald, so eye clean specimens are common. Morganite colors range from a peach orange to salmon pink to a pure pink. The color is nearly always a soft pastel and saturated colors are rare. Some morganite is heat treated at low temperatures to reduce the amount of yellow in the stone. 

Morganite has been found in a number of locations in the world, including Madagascar, California in the USA, Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Golden Morganite
Golden Morganite

For other choices in pink gemstones, see our articles on Best Pink Gems

See our collection of Fine Morganite Gems