It is found all over the world, though particularly in Brazil, in large quantities (for a gemstone) and in all sizes and qualities. This makes the aquamarine gemstone an affordable gemstone and for this reason very popular.
Not just the price makes it a popular gemstone, its unique soft blue color has elevated its status as well. To see just how beautiful these gemstones can be just take a look at the aquamarine video at the bottom of this page.
What is Aquamarine?
Aquamarines are a gem quality variant of beryl. Known and prized for its striking blue-green colours it’s no wonder it was once believed they were a treasure of mermaids.
Even the word itself links back to the sea: aqua marina in Latin means “water of the sea”.
Aquamarine stones are currently in the favor of designers all over the world, because the blue gemstone complements almost any type of skin and outfit. They can be found in large quantities and in all sizes making it easy to find the right stone to make their next masterpiece.
Aquamarine is a fairly common variant of beryl. Almost all mines that produce normal colorless beryl also produce at least a small quantities of aquamarine.
There are mining operations in the US, Brazil and Sri Lanka. Many other gem producing countries such as Madagascar and Tanzania also produce small amounts of aquamarine crystals.
The biggest aquamarine that was ever found weighed an astonishing 110 kg and had a diameter of 42 cm and was over 48 cm long! It was found in Brazil in 1910. The largest cut aquamarine is known as the Dom Pedro and weighs in at almost 25 kg and is displayed in museums all over the world.
Aquamarine is the modern birthstone of March.
Iron (Fe2+) is the cause of the blue aquamarine color, which can be surprising as iron is usually associated with brown or yellow tones. When both Fe2+ and Fe3+ iron ions are present in the crystal the color changes to dark blue. This type of aquamarine is called maxixe, not to be confused with the Brazilian dance.
Because it is a variant of beryl it is an excellent gemstone. It has a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on Mohs hardness scale. Due to its (virtual) lack of cleavage it is very hard to chip which together with its hardness makes it possible to wear it every day.
Because this precious gemstone was associated with water legend has it that sailors wore pieces of an aquamarine stone to keep them safe. Later during the Middle Ages it was widely known as a healing stone that could help against poisoning and when worn by a woman it promised a good marriage. Even today there are cultures where aquamarines are symbols of health and youth.
Aquamarines are used in gemstone therapy and prized for its healing properties in some circles. But other than its use as a gemstone there are no other known industrial uses.
How to Take Care of Your Aquamarine Gemstones
Aquamarines are excellent gemstones and are fairly easy to care for, still there are some things you should keep in mind when dealing with them. The tips below should help you enjoy your loose gemstones or jewelry even more:
- It’s best to clean it with warm water, soap and a soft brush (certainly not a metallic brush, using one could mean a trip to your local jeweler). Be sure to dry it with a soft cloth afterwards and let it air for a few minutes before storing it.
- A jewelry steam cleaner or an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner should be avoided, unless the person you bought it from specifically states it is safe.
- First put on your makeup, hairspray, deodorant, perfume and such. Only after that put on your aquamarine jewelry. This is because frequent use of these products can leave a residue of chemicals on the stone and aquamarines can react poorly to some of them.
- Keep it away from high temperatures, such as a fireplace, oven or when cooking. High temperatures can change the color of the stone and not in a good way.
- Some sources claim aquamarines should be kept out of direct sunlight. This is not true, aquamarines have a very stable color. A close relative, maxixe beryl, does fade under sunlight, but not aquamarines themselves.