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beryl_fig1_smBeryl (Be3Al2(Si6O18)), a silicate mineral containing 12–13.5% beryllium oxide (BeO) is one of the main sources of the lightweight metal beryllium.

World mine production is about 240 tonnes (2013), mainly from the United States of America. A further 20–25% of consumption is from recycling. 


  • The main use is for beryllium–copper alloys in electronics
  • Due to its extreme lightness it is used in aerospace, defence and science applications
  • Its neutron reflecting properties are utilised in nuclear reactor control rods
  • Gem varieties include aquamarine (blue), emerald (deep green), morganite (pink) and heliodor (golden yellow)

Beryl in South Australia


Selection of Beryl crystals from Olary Pegmatites

South Australia's total recorded production of 136 t was mined between 1941 and 1963 from 34 pegmatite bodies in Willyama Supergroup rocks in the Olary district, mainly as a hand-picked by-product of feldspar mining.

Additional reading 

Crooks AF and Abbot PJ 2004. Beryl in South Australia. South Australia Department of Primary Industries and Resources Report Book 2004/25.

Olliver JG and Steveson BG 1982. Pegmatites in the Olary Province. A review of feldspar and beryl mining north of Olary and the results of reconnaissance sampling of feldspar. South Australia. Department of Mines and Energy. Report Book, 81/74.