Q. What is the birthstone for March? A. Aquamarine
Aquamarine: Jewel of the Sea
What Is Aquamarine?
Aquamarines have been a favourite of seafaring travellers for centuries. Their blue-green hue brilliantly captures the colour of pristine ocean water. In fact, the name for this stone is derived from the Latin “aqua,” which means “water”, and “marina” which means “of the sea.”
Aquamarines have played prominent roles throughout history. The Brazilian Tiara, a gift from the President of Brazil to Queen Elizabeth II, features a stunning collection of emerald-cut Aquamarines across its design. The Brazilian government also gifted Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt an 1,847-carat aquamarine in 1935.
When mined, aquamarines typically have a green undertone. Heat treatments are used to enhance this colour to the true blue that is favoured among the public. However, in recent years, an appreciation for untreated green-tinged stones is becoming more common. Today, most aquamarines in jewellery will range from a dark topaz blue, to a pale, almost translucent, blue-green.
Where Do We Find Aquamarine?
Brazil is one of the most common places to find aquamarines, but Nigeria, Zambia, and Pakistan are current sources as well. Recently, aquamarines were discovered in Vietnam. Another favoured location, Mozambique, is known for producing exceptionally coloured stones. These particular aquamarines, are a very rich shade of blue.
Aquamarines are scientifically named, Be3Al2Si6O18, and belong to a family of mineral called beryl. Other popular beryls found in jewellery are emeralds, morganites, and cat’s eye stones. Beryls can be found in a variety of rock types including granite, schist, and metamorphic. The highly prized and especially rare, red beryl, is found deep within the volcanic rock of the western United States.
Why Should You Wear Aquamarine?
Aquamarines are ideal for jewellery due to their clarity and brilliance. Aquamarines rarely have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. Inclusions are natural internal, or external blemishes which have formed in the gem throughout its lifetime. While inclusions in naturally formed gemstones should be expected, the unique clarity of aquamarine gives it a highly desirable glass-like transparency perfect for jewellery.
The gems clarity and hardness allow it to be fashioned in a variety of cuts that showcase its ability to reflect light. Popular shapes such as the emerald cut, oval, or round brilliant, allow light to dance among the facets, creating an unforgettable shimmering effect.
Aquamarines score a 7.5 to 8.0 on the Moh’s scale. This scale determines the hardness of a stone on a scale of 1-10, with diamond being the hardest (scoring at 10). This means that with gentle care, aquamarine jewellery will last for years to come. Aquamarines can be quite sensitive to perfumes and lotions, so it is important to limit their contact with such products, and clean them regularly with warm soapy water.
Did You Know?
- Aquamarines are the birthstone for the month of March.
- Aquamarine is usually found at high elevations such as the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan, which stand at 4.6 kilometres.
- Aquamarines were thought to protect an individual from foes. Legend says the stone can improve the intelligence of the wearer. Some believe that aquamarines will make their owner good-natured and victorious.
- The largest Aquamarine ever found weighed 110.5kg. It was found in 1910 in Marambaya, Brazil.