Aquamarine is the blue variety of beryl, Be3Al2Si6Ol8. It is the birthstone for March. The color for aquamarine runs from almost colorless through the various shades of blue to blue/green. The hardness of aquamarine is 7.5 to 8.0 on the mohs scale. The refractive index is 1.57 to 1.60 and the crystal system is hexagonal. The leading producer of aquamarine is Brazil, while Pakistan as well as some U.S. locations also produce some fine specimens. More information on aquamarine history and lore is here. To view our finished aquamarine jewelry, click here. We have the following loose aquamarine gemstones in our stock:
|Refractive Index||1.567 - 1.590|
|Hardness||7.5 - 8.0|
|Specific Gravity||2.66 - 2.80|
|Enhancements||Heat Treatment is Common|
The name aquamarine is of Latin origin meaning sea water in allusion to its color. As you might expect from a gem whose name means sea water, Aquamarine captures the beauty of the sea. This member of the beryl family, which also includes emerald, is found in a range of pastel blue and greenish blue shades, from the palest hint to a deep sky blue. The elegant icy color looks as fresh with earth tones as with other paste shades. And it is the perfect accompaniment to grey and navy. Aquamarine is always a pastel blue but the darker the color, the more valued it is. Connoisseurs also prefer a pure blue, with no green or gray in it. If you prefer a greenish tinge, you will find that these stones are less expensive. Greenish aquamarine is often heated to remove the yellow component of the color. Because the color is generally pale, fine aquamarine is expected to have good clarity. This gem is often cut in ovals and emerald cuts. More saturated colors are unusual in small sizes: usually it takes some size for the color to reach a darker shade.
The color of aquamarine is due to trace amounts of iron impurities in the beryl structure. The color ranges from pale green to pale blue to blue depending on the relative concentrations of Fe2+ to Fe3+ and on where the iron impurities are located within the beryl crystal structure. The beryl crystal structure contains channels outlined by rings of (Si-O)6 units. These rings are stacked upon each other leaving space within the channels for water or other impurities. Color influencing iron impurities can be present in these interstitial channel sites or substituting for aluminum in octahedral sites. When Fe3+ is present substituting for aluminum in the octahedral site a yellow color is produced. When Fe2+ is present in the interstitial channel site a pure blue color is evident. When both are present the typical blue-green color of aquamarine is produced. Heating green-blue aquamarine to approximately 300 degrees Celcius reduces the Fe3+ to Fe2+, thereby eliminating the yellow and green colors leaving only the pure blue color that is most popular today. Irradiation can reverse this process restoring the yellow and green colors.You will rarely see an aqua that is darker than a Swiss blue topaz and when you do the color is usually enhanced by the way they are cut.
Aquamarine is the birth stone for March. It is a popular gem that wears well, is readily available and moderately priced.
One of the most remarkable qualities of this gem are the sizes it is available in. Gems have been cut that weigh several hundred carats, way too large to be worn. Due to this, the price of aquamarine doesn’t vary in sizes above one carat. A 50 carat aquamarine will be worth the same price per carat as a one carat gem of equal quality. The price is dependent on its clarity, the depth of color and to a lesser extent the purity of color. Another interesting feature of this gem are its inclusions. Beryls, and aquamarine in particular, are known for having long, hollow tubes. This is a distinctive feature and will identify a gem as a member of the beryl family. If there are enough of these hollow tubes, cat’s eyes or stars can be produced with proper cutting. A cat’s eye aquamarine is a thing of beauty and is highly prized by collectors. Prices will be very close to that of a clean, faceted gem with the same coloring. Star aquamarine is even more rare than a cat’s eye and can demand a premium price.
For many centuries, oceanic energy was believed to be contained within the delicate semblance of aquamarines. When amulets made of this precious gem were worn, sailors believed that unmatched bravery would be instilled into their souls, giving them the power to overcome even the most powerful storm. Traditionally, aquamarine has been used as a charm by sailors for protection while at sea. Legends say that aquamarine is the treasure of mermaids, with the power to keep sailors safe at sea. Its powers are aid to be even stronger when it is immersed in water. In addition to calming the waves, in legend aquamarine also has a soothing influence on relationships, especially on married couples. Its power to ensure a long and happy marriage makes it a good anniversary gift. A dream of aquamarine means that you will meet new friends. It also is believed to preserve and enhance mutual love and to maintain a good marriage, and to ensure truth in relationships and business dealings. Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and make one youthful. As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and in the Middle Ages it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons. A legend says that sailors wore aquamarine gemstones to keep them safe and prevent seasickness. Aquamarine is said to release anger and negativity replacing them with mental peace and clarity, providing emotional and mental balance. It is also said to aid in meditation, and to give courage and to assist in self-expression. Aquamarine is said to help reduce dependence on drugs, to aid in digestion, as a remedy for swollen glands and to maintain the health of the jaws and teeth.
The astrological signs of aquamarine are Pisces and Scorpio.
Aquamarines are mined in a number of exotic places including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique, but most of the gemstones available today come from Brazil.
With a hardness of 7.5, aquamarine is a durable gem, perfect for everyday wear. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
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