Red Beryl – Tucson 2014
Zajicek, who began working with red beryl in the 1980s, said the average faceted gem is approximately 0.08 ct. A 0.50 ct sample would be large, and anything above a carat would be exceptionally rare. This made the matched suites at his booth unique and potentially irreplaceable. Like emerald, red beryl has a range of hues and tones, as well as a typically uneven color distribution that makes it a challenge to match.
Zajicek said there is more red beryl in the ground, but the difficulty of mining makes future production cost-prohibitive. Previous operations had to move more than a ton of hard rock to recover a carat of rough. A carat-sized rough stone is not necessarily cuttable; yields are low, averaging between 8% and 15%.
Zajicek described red beryl as a beautiful, uniquely American product that is still relatively unknown. Intriguing combinations included a pendant comprised of red beryl mounted with benitoite (figure 2, left), and a red, white, and blue necklace featuring red beryl, Montana blue sapphires, and colorless diamond (figure 2, right).
If there were more viable red beryl mining locations in Utah, the increased production would boost demand and allow greater promotion. As it stands, few would spend money to promote a gem they probably would not be able to obtain in any quantity.