This month’s birthstone is the aquamarine, which has been connected to the making of new friends, as well as love and affection, health and hope. As the name of this birthstone presents, it is a green-blue in color and has a rich, dazzling look. You can get aquamarine birthstones in a variety of shapes and scale, and you can also get this gemstone in wide range shades of green-blue.
The very name aquamarine brings to mind the limpid, clear blue tint of the sea. Legend says that Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to the mermaids, and from then on, it has brought love to all who have owned it. This elegant colored gemstone is also the symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples and thought to enhance the happiness of marriages, making it a good anniversary gift.
Aquamarines are found in a range of blue shades, from the palest pastel to greenish-blue to a deep blue. While the choice of color is largely a matter of taste, the deeper blue gemstones are more rare. The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues. Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings.
Remember that Aquamarine is a pastel gemstone, and while color can be quite intense in larger gemstones, the smaller aquamarines are often less vivid.
Quality 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.
Many aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut. For those who prefer a purer blue, these gemstones are heated to enhance their blue color permanently. Some aquamarine fanciers prefer the greenish hues, saying the greener tones remind them more of the sea. The color tones of aquamarine are subtle and varied. Their soft luster is a wonderful addition to any natural colored gemstone jewelry collection.
1. Beautiful Crystals - Aquamarine grows in beautiful six-sided prismatic crystals that on rare occasions can be more than a foot long.
2. Transparency - Faceted aquamarine is often exceptionally transparent with vitreous luster,
so it really sparkles.
3. Dichroic - Using a dichroscope, you can see aquamarine is near colorless and stronger blue in different crystal directions.
Assessment of the following characteristics determines amethyst’s value.
• Color - Aquamarine’s preferred color is a moderately strong dark blue to slightly greenish blue.
• Clarity - Most cut gems are eye-clean. Large examples are available without visible inclusions.
• Cut - Because aquamarine’s color is light, cutting is important and well-cut gems show brilliance.
• Carat Weight - Aquamarine crystals range from tiny to very large—some even up to 100 lbs.
This bluish-green aquamarine was given to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (right). The rough weighed a staggering 1.3 kilograms that yielded two gems when cut. The largest, a rectangular step cut stone weighing 1,298 carats, has an interesting political history. Courtesy of The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York. GIA (030215)
The Dom Pedro aquamarine obelisk by gem sculptor Bernd Munsteiner is the largest cut aquamarine. Eric Welch, courtesy Smithsonian Institution
The name “aquamarine” is derived from two Latin words: aqua, meaning “water,” and marina, meaning “of the sea.” It has been said that the mineral beryl gives the wearer protection against foes in battle or litigation. It makes the wearer unconquerable and amiable, and also quickens the intellect.