This month we are celebrating March birthdays and exploring the wonderful world of aquamarine. Evoking feelings of warmer weather and seaside retreats, aquamarine is a color we can all embrace, regardless of our birth month!
What is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is a sibling of emerald, morganite, golden beryl, and bixbite – all part of the beryl family, aka aluminum beryllium silicates. The different varieties of beryl are distinguished by their color, and they differ significantly in their transparency and clarity.
Aquamarine is named for its seawater-like color and gets its hue from traces of iron. Gem and jewelry lovers value aquamarine that is medium-dark blue to slightly greenish blue with moderately strong intensity.
Where is Aquamarine Found?
The traditional source for aquamarine is Brazil, but it can be found in many other places around the world including Pakistan, Africa, China, Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine and the United States. Aquamarine is partial to higher altitudes. Mines in Pakistan can be found at 9,800 – 13,000 feet. Mines in Colorado are found in the Mount Antero area at around 14,000 feet! Aquamarine also happens to be the state gemstone of Colorado.
History and Lore of Aquamarine
Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater, and ancient mariners claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. In addition to sporting attractive aquamarine jewelry on your ocean voyage, we also recommend consulting the National Weather Service prior to departure.
March’s birthstone is also thought to bring happiness to marriages. Hey, it can’t hurt – come buy her some aquamarine!
How to Choose an Aquamarine Gemstone
Aquamarine is pastel blue, greenish blue or green-blue. The preferred color is a moderate slightly greenish blue to dark blue. Fine stones are an even blue with no bands of color (called “zoning”). Most faceted aquamarines are free of eye-visible inclusions. Aquamarine is readily available in large sizes – with many fine gems 25 ct or greater. Aquamarine can be cut into almost any shape, and is often fashioned as emerald cuts, pear shapes, or round or oval brilliants. Nearly all the blue aquamarine in jewelry is produced by heat treatment of bluish green, green, greenish yellow and even brownish yellow beryl. The process removes the yellow color component and leaves a purer blue hue. The treatment is undetectable and appears to be permanent.
How to Care for and Clean Aquamarine Stones
With a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale, aquamarine is durable enough for everyday wear. Caring for the gem is easy. Use warm water, mild dish soap and a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dirt can collect. Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaning are usually safe options as long as there are no feathers or liquid inclusions in the gem.
See you next month when we visit April’s birthstone – DIAMOND.