Aquamarine Gemstone

Aquamarine Gemstone

Aquamarine is derived from the Latin AQUA, ‘water’ and MARINA meaning ‘From the Sea,’ in reference to the transparent ocean-blue color of the Aquamarine crystal.

Aquamarine is of an aluminum beryllium silicate chemical composition. It occurs in a hexagonal prismatic structure. It is of a light-blue to dark-blue and blue-green colors. Aquamarine has a hardness ranging from 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs scale. It is transparent to opaque, with a glass-like luster and it occurs with an indistinct cleavage.

Aquamarine is part of the gorgeous Beryl family of minerals and share a similar chemical composition to other members such as Emerald, Morganite and Yellow Beryl. What sets Aquamarine apart is its soothing hues of blue with hints of green.

Beryl is created by the trace elements of chromium, iron and manganese. Aquamarine has the presence of minute quantities of iron. Emeralds are the green gem variety of the mineral beryl. The green color of Emeralds comes from the presence of trace quantities of chromium (usually) and vanadium, and sometimes both. The pale and peach-pink in Morganite is produced by traces of manganese.

The most valued Aquamarine is the lovely deep blue color with no visible color zoning. The Aquamarines mined in Santa Maria de Itabira in Brazil are the most priced and sought-after. However, the mine has been depleted and thus no longer producing Aquamarine. Today the term Santa Maria refers not to the original mine in Brazil, but to a particular coloring of the gemstone. Similar gemstones have also been found in Mozambique and Zambia, and these are known as Santa Maria Afrique to differentiate them from the ones found in Brazil. Another lovely and much sought-after Aquamarine is known as the Double Blue found and mined in Madagascar.

Some if not all of the Aquamarine gemstones are pleochroic meaning they change color when viewed from different angles. You notice this in the deep blue Aquamarine where the color changes from deep blue to almost colorless.

Aquamarine is regarded as a semi-precious stone and is expensive. Be wary of unethical sellers who may trade Blue Topaz as Brazilian Aquamarine or Nerchinsk Aquamarine; and Blue Zircon as Siam Aquamarine.

Santa Maria Aquamarine can also be confused with the less valuable Espirito Santo Aquamarine and Santa Maria Topaz.

All Aquamarines sold in the gemstone market are eye-clean, with no blemish or inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. It is usually transparent and blue in color. The Aquamarine that does come with inclusions are generally cut en cabochons or fashioned into beads or shaped into fancy carvings.

Aquamarine gemstones were used by the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was the Roman writer Pliny who said that Aquamarine “seems to have come from some mermaid's treasure house.”

Ancient writers also speak of Aquamarine being a powerful amulet and sacred stone to be taken to sea for a successful voyage and a safe return back home.

In ancient lore, Aquamarine is said to be the treasures of the mermaids who gifted these treasures to sailors.

Aquamarine was also used as a decoration for their ships and vessels in order to have a successful and safe sailing.

Aquamarine was believed to be connected with the moon as it had influence over the waters of the oceans.
Thus, Aquamarine is the gemstone of those born under the zodiacal sign of Pisces. It is also the birthstone for March.

As it was believed that Aquamarines had the ability to calm the storms at sea, it could also calm the storms at home. For this reason, Aquamarine gemstone was given to wives by their husbands.

In ancient Rome, Aquamarine was the symbol of pure love and thus it was the perfect gift exchange among lovers. Today Aquamarine is the 19th wedding anniversary stone and is now used as an alternative for engagement rings.

The ancient Romans also believed that frogs carved from Aquamarines bring peace to warring parties.

Aquamarine is a stone of serenity as the soothing blue hues evokes the calmness of the sea. It relieves stress and anxiety and is effective in quickly restoring the psyche to its equilibrium.

Aquamarine is powerful in getting rid of all negative, polluted and filthy energy that surrounds us. It is said that Aquamarine is so pure and potent that Evil cannot stand to look at it, or stand near its proximity. It is thus perfect for pregnant women, since it can protect both the woman and the baby from harm.

Aquamarine is a water element stone. As water, its reflective nature allows us to explore the deepest and darkest depths of our being. Therefore, it is a stone of prophets, shamans, healers, seers and mystics.

The most valuable Aquamarine is the dark blue color, also the one with a slightly greenish blue, but the deeper and darker the blue is, the better. Santa Maria Aquamarine is sought-after because of its deep saturated blue. Though the Santa Maria Aquamarine Brazilian mines have been depleted, other sources with similar dark blue saturation have been found such as the deposits in Pakistan and in Africa.

Aquamarine can be found in large sizes. Regardless, it is the color and clarity that is esteemed of value. For example, a small size Aquamarine that is transparent and is of a saturated deep blue color will be worth a lot more than a larger sized Aquamarine that is blemished, pale and contains inclusions.

The value of an Aquamarine gemstone is not tied to the place where it comes from. The determining factor is the color and clarity. Regardless, a certified Aquamarine from the deposits of Siberia is now very highly valued.

It was in 1723 in the mountains of Siberia that Aquamarine was discovered and first documented. These mines became the principal sources of high-quality Aquamarine up to 1796. In the 1880s in the Marambaia Valley, Brazil, a large deposit of Aquamarine was discovered. It was these mines that supplied the world with Aquamarine, including a 110 kilogram Aquamarine discovered in 1910. From this one specimen cutters faceted 100,000 carats of high-quality Aquamarine gemstones.

Aquamarine mines can be found all over the world. However, it is in the Brazilian mines that majority of high-quality Aquamarine gemstone are produced up to this day. Minas Gerais celebrated its 300 years of its existence in 2019 and is still producing gemstones till this day.

Lovely water-clear color Aquamarines have also been found in the mountains of Pakistan.

Other important Aquamarine mines are found in Madagascar, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria in Africa, China, Myanmar in Asia, Russia, Ukraine, and in Colorado in the United States.

Gemstones can be bleached, coated, dyed, filled, irradiated, and heated to enhance its color and beauty. Aquamarine is known to be heat treated in order to obtain a deep blue color. Though they are lovely as naturally occurring deep blue Aquamarine gemstones, heat treated Aquamarine are not as valuable.

Care should be taken with Aquamarines and they should be stored away from harder gemstones. Conversely, they should also be kept away from softer gemstones. It is also extremely sensitive to chemicals such as ammonia, alcohol and different types of acids. High heat can also damage its beautiful color. Thus, do not expose your gorgeous Aquamarine to prolonged sunlight.