Morganite

 Brazil: the land of endless sandy beaches, lush rainforests, vibrant carnivals, seductive samba, world-class football and, let’s not forget, coloured gemstones. This South American country is one of the world’s most important producers of emerald, aquamarine, topaz, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, iolite and morganite, all set into magnificent Brazilian jewellery. 

Morganite has been flying under the radar for a long time but the increased popularity of pink gemstones has catapulted it into the well-deserved spotlight as a more affordable alternative to pink diamonds. Initially referred to simply as pink beryl, morganite only became a gemstone in its own right in 1911 when it was named after the banker and renowned mineral collector John Pierpont Morgan, founder of JP Morgan and one of Tiffany & Co’s biggest customers. 

While the gem was first discovered in Madagascar, dwindling deposits on the African island has helped establish Brazil as the main source of morganite. Most of the gemstones on the market today come from the pegmatite mines in the Minas Gerais district. Unlike the magenta-hued Madagascan morganite, the rough stones mined in Brazil often have a peachy-orange tone, with the soft pink colour only emerging after heat treatment. 

As a member of the same beryl family as aquamarine and emerald, morganite has a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. A high-quality cut is needed to bring out the subtle colour of the gemstone and the pale hue is best showcased in stones weighing more than two carats. The delicate tone also means that morganite pairs well with other stones from across the colour spectrum. When the gem is set into rose gold it creates a soft romantic look, while white gold or platinum has a more modern, icy effect.