In addition to the wide array of collectable minerals from the Hart’s Range, Beryl (Aquamarine) crystals have been highly sought after specimens from this region. Several of the Mica bearing pegmatites that were mined early last century also produced some fine Beryls in a range of colours from yellow through to greens and blues. Although heavily fractured, some of these specimens contained large gem quality sections suitable for faceting.
On one of our recent trips, we were interested in searching for some smaller pegmatites in the eastern Hart’s Ranges, hoping to locate some decent Beryl specimens. Our first expedition led us to a coarse-grained pegmatite showing signs of small, slender translucent aquamarines. After carefully prying away some of the fractured Quartz blocks, we located one particularly long slender Beryl encased in the white Quartz. Later the Quartz was able to be trimmed, exposing the 9cm partly gemmy Aquamarine (see photo right).
Further south in the ranges, we discovered several other pegmatites containing Beryl of varying qualities and colours. One particular location produced a number of unusual very dark blue Aquamarines.
These were found as small isolated crystals in iron-stained Quartz, associated with green Apatite and Chrysoberyl. Although many were only partial crystals and often fractured, we did however find one small gem quality, terminated crystal lying loose on the surface (see photo below left).
Of all the deposits located, one in particular will always remain a wonderful memory, for it isn’t too often one stumbles upon an untouched pegmatite containing large gemmy Beryls! It was towards the end of a 1 month stay in the Harts Range that we set out again to explore further into the ranges. Typically these walks would be at least 10km in return, often with no particular destination in mind, other than the constant lure of “I wonder whats over the next hill”. It was late in the afternoon when we spotted the pegmatite outcrop amongst the trees and as always, there is that hopefull feeling that maybe this one will be rich with specimens. As we began searching the area, something glassy and blue flashed in the sunlight and I remember the fleeting thought that passed through my mind “was that what I thought it was?!”. Sure enough, a jagged piece of Quartz was sticking out of the pegmatite and in one corner was a gem blue section of Aquamarine. This began a frantic search of the outcrop and within minutes we had discovered a weathered face of Quartz embedded with large weathered Aquamarine crystals of the most beautiful greenish blue hues (see photos below).
Many of these crystals were naturally fractured due to weathering, however careful extraction enabled the repair of some specimens, most notably a 14cm long terminated gemmy Aquamarine as pictured below.