Aquamarine, March’s Birthstone.
Aquamarine is the Birthstone of March.
Aquamarine derives from the Latin “aqua” for water and “mare” for sea. Many superstitions have associations with this gemstone. Believed to be the treasure of mermaids it is said to be especially strong when in water. When its powers began to dwindle, the gem would be placed in water on the night of a full moon.
It is part of the beryl family and gets its delicate blue colour from the presence of iron within the stone.
This gemstone is often credited with bringing harmony to married couples as it is thought to bring peace and clarity to all who wear it.
In past times, as a last resort, sailors caught in a bad storm are believed to have thrown their Aquamarine overboard to calm the Gods. They were said to have taken it to sea as a lucky charm to protect against shipwreck. Many people today wear it to prevent travel sickness.
Although the name refers to its beautiful blue colouring, the stone is actually dichroic, appearing blue in some lights and colourless in others.
The major source of aquamarine is the state of Minas Gerais, southeast Brazil, especially the mines around Aracuai. The Brazilian mines produce stones of characteristic colour with distinctive inclusions. Gemmologists can often determine the mine it came from just by a visual inspection.
The deepest and rarest of Aquamarine blues is the Santa Maria Aquamarine. The intensity of the Santa Maria will leave you immersed in a world of tropical beaches and mythical sea legends for it is now so rare that it has almost, itself, become a legend of the sea. If you ever see a Santa Maria it will capture your heart for ever.
Today, most Aquamarine is heat-treated to produce the favoured clear, blue colour.
This treatment reduces ferric iron content and thus removes any yellow tinge. The treatment is permanent, stable and acceptable in the market. However because Aquamarine is sensitive to heat, it should be protected from excessive sun and heat exposure.
A top-quality aquamarine should be clear and free from inclusions. Today the most popular stones are clear blue, avoiding a tinge of either yellow, green or grey.
In the 19th century, jewellery aficionados sought out sea-green gems.
Because aquamarine’s colour is usually pale, only larger specimens display any depth of pigment.
Smaller stones are lively and decorative, especially when set with diamonds. (See picture)
These gemstones are generally found in step cuts or as brilliants.
Aquamarine crystals of up to 1 metre (3 feet) long are not uncommon. It is sometimes found in stream gravels. It is generally free from inclusions which means it is a durable stone. This is why it is easy to cut.
Some Beryl crystals in some pegmatites can grow to very large sizes, even up to 10 metres (30 foot) long.
A beautiful gemstone and well worth adding to one’s collection.
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