The Aquamarine Birthstone
Those born in the month of March are lucky to have the aquamarine gemstone as their birthstone. The stunning stone comes in a variety of shades of blue with the gorgeous colours captivating the world since its discovery.
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin words for water and sea.
Aquamarine is well known for its distinctive blue-green colour. Shades range from deep teal to a pale, crystal blue. The depth of the colour is actually influenced by the amount of iron found in each gem’s structure.
Many aquamarine stones are heat treated to bring their colour closer to a vibrant blue. The colour change is permanent but the heat does not otherwise alter the stone. Heated stones must be labelled as such and often sell for a lower price. Natural deep blue aquamarine stones are rare, expensive and in high demand.
Back in the 19th century, the more green varieties of this stone proved to be the most popular, but since then, the more blue the stone is, the more valuable it is.
Aquamarine is known to possess excellent transparency and clarity. The stone harnesses the soothing spirit of the ocean and the healing powers of the water. It is known for helping to connect people with water. The stone is also a symbol of courage, friendship, faithfulness as well as youth, hope, knowledge and health.
Historically, sailors used aquamarine stones for good luck. The stone has also been associated with calming and soothing qualities similar to the waves of the sea. It was believed by the Egyptians, Romans as well as Greeks that the stone helped invoke the good spirits of the water.
The most common cut of aquamarine gems is an emerald cut followed by oval and pear shaped cuts. The stone can be made into innovative shapes and so the gemstone is highly flexible when jewellery making.
Aquamarine is made up of the mineral beryl, composed of beryllium aluminium silicate. The other member of the beryl family is emerald.
Aquamarine registers between a 7 and 8 on a Mohs scale. This is the unit of measurement that is used to test the hardness of different kinds of gemstones. Aquamarine is relatively hard and will withstand daily wear.
SOURCE AND SIZE OF AQUAMARINE
Found in many countries including Brazil, Zambia, Nigeria and Madagascar. The stones mined in Brazil are the ones commonly used in jewellery. Aquamine is usually found in cavities, granite pegmatite and alluvial deposits of gravel.
Aquamarine is found in a wide range of sizes. Smaller pieces are available for setting into jewellery. The largest Aquamarine gemstone ever found was found in Brazil in 1910. The stone weighted 243 pounds and was cut into smaller stones to make an incredible 200,000 carats!
JEWELLEY MAKING WITH AQUAMARINE
The nature of the aquamarine gemstone makes it ideal for faceting. Aquamarine has also been cut as a cabochon, with the stone particularly suited to a pairing with darker coloured stones.
Aquamarine can be used to make beautiful rings, pendants and earrings. The gemstone particularly looks stunning with sterling silver or when set in gold, rose gold and white gold.
CLEANING AND CARE
Caring for aquamarine jewellery is quite simple. The jewellery should be stored in a dark place, as extended exposure to the sun can cause the stone to pale in colour. Regular cleaning of the stone with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush will help to keep the sparkle.
Heat exposure is not recommended but the colour of the stone will not be affected by light exposure. Cleaning the stone in an ultrasonic cleaner is fine if you stone has no fractures. Stones with fractures should be hand cleaned only.