Morganite’s subtle color is caused by traces of manganese. Because morganite has distinct pleochroism—pale pink and a deeper bluish pink—it’s necessary to orient the rough carefully for fashioning. Strong color in morganite is rare, and gems usually have to be large to achieve the finest color.
Similar to aquamarine, morganite grows in large eye-clean crystals and its main source is the pegmatite mine Minas Gerias in Brazil. Miners in Brazil have found crystals as large as 22 lbs. (10 kg). The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., includes two faceted gems weighing 236 cts. and 250 cts. in its collection. Morganite has been found in parts of Africa, Afghanistan, and the United States, as well.
Following the discovery rose beryl in Madagascar in 1910, George Kunz proposed the name morganite at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences to honor his friend and customer J.P. Morgan for his financial support and his important gifts of gems to New York and Paris' museums. Morgan was one of the most important gem collectors in the early 1900s – his collection was partly assembled by Tiffany and Company and their chief gemologist, Kunz.
On October 7th, 1989, one of the largest specimens of Morganite was uncovered. It was found in the Bennet Quarry of Buckfield, Maine, and it was somewhat orangish in hue and about 23 cm long and 30 cm across. This well-formed crystal weighed in at just more than 50 pounds, and was called ‘The Rose of Maine’.