The aquamarine birthstone
“What is my birthstone” is a common internet search. The list of birthstones by month was officially composed by the Jewelers of America in 1912. If you’re a Pisces, born between February 20- March 20, you’re in luck: you might be drawn to this blue aquamarine stone, the stone of sailors and sea gods, as it is the March birthstone.
Aquamarines have a rich history that touches many cultures. They had practical uses: the aquamarine was clear enough for Medieval spectacles. They were also revered for their supposed mystic powers. Like the month of March itself, the aquamarine is a fascinating study of contrasts.
This article is about this precious gemstone- the aquamarine stone and its properties, colors, values and pricing, meanings, history, healing properties, care and cleaning, and iconic pieces of aquamarine jewelry. Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous gemstone and find the perfect gift for loved ones.
The aquamarine stone: the jewel of the sea
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The word aquamarine comes from the Latin aqua marina, meaning seawater. Ancient Greek and Roman sailors wore aquamarine amulets at sea. They believed that the “mermaid stone,” with its aquatic blue-green color, calmed the waves and ensured safe passage.
When the Romans ruled Egypt they imported the gem from India. Archaeologists have found aquamarine stones inside Egyptian tombs and burial sites.
Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder claimed that staring at an aquamarine would cure ailments of the eye. During the Middle Ages, fortune tellers gazed into the translucent stone to “see” beyond the ordinary realm.
Despite its storied history, the aquamarine was not officially documented until 1723, when a huge deposit was unearthed in the mountains of Siberia.
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Like emerald, aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl. Different variants of beryl have different colors, blue ones are called aquamarine, dark green ones called emerald, golden or yellow ones called heliiedor, pink or red ones called morganite, browns ones called dark brown beryl, and transparent ones called goshenite.
The aquamarine stone naturally forms in hexagonal crystals that can be up to 1 meter long. It’s a hard and durable stone with a radiant glassy shine, transparent to translucent, hardness 8 out of 10, refractive index 1.567-1.590, birefringence 0.005-0.007.
The aquamarine color: the aquamarine blue
The aquamarine colors include sky blue, aquamarine blue, greenish blue, yellow and white, with the most valuable variety being a brilliant and intense blue color.
This gem derives its aquamarine blue color from iron ions. Fe²+ ions produce the classic pale blue hue, while a large presence of Fe³+ ions adds a greenish tint. The rare “Santa Maria” aquamarine color has a more saturated, brilliant blue appearance.
Aquamarine is a dichroic gem, meaning that it can have two different colors–blue or clear—depending on the angle.
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Places of origin
Aquamarine stones are found inside granite pegmatites–clusters of interlocked crystals.
Most of the world’s aquamarine stones comes from Marambaia, a region in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil. The stone is also commonly mined in the African nations of Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Nigeria.
The gems are quarried in countries across Asia, from Russia to Myanmar to Sri Lanka. In the U.S., crystals have been found in the Rocky Mountains, particularly atop Colorado’s Mount Antero.
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Aquamarine prices and values
Aquamarine gemstones are valued based on their clarity and intensity of color. Raw stones are heat treated to intensify the blue hue.
Because they often come in large sizes, these gems’ value does not increase progressively according to their weight. However, larger aquamarines–those above 5 carats–typically display a more vivid blue, which boosts their value.
Rare “cat’s eye” aquamarine jewels reflect a vertical beam of light that resembles a cat’s pupil. These gems are beloved by collectors and often fetch high prices.
What does aquamarine mean? Aquamarine is the stone of sailors and sea gods. As an amulet, it is thought to protect its wearer and ensure a safe journey.
Aquamarine also symbolizes courage, love and peace, and is considered the stone of courage, indicating that it can enhance one’s self-confidence and make us brave.
Aquamarine symbolizes truth, joy and eternal youth. It is also said that aquamarine absorbs the spirit of young love. So it’s a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding gifts.
Aquamarine healing properties
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1. Aquamarine physical healing properties
Since the aquamarine stone corresponds to the throat chakra of the seven chakras of our human body, it helps to improve our self-expression and speaking skills so that we can better communicate with others and understand the world.
In addition, it is physiologically effective for the health of the throat and the tonsil and for the balance of the lymphatic system.
Aquamarine can also help us to calm down, get inspired and express ourselves better when we think or write. So it is recommended for many to put an aquamarine crystal on their desk, which helps to stay cool and keep focused.
2. Aquamarine emotional healing properties
The aquamarine crystal has a calming, soothing, refreshing effect on the mind, helping the wearer to face his or her underlying emotions and to express himself or herself correctly, as well as helping the wearer to improve himself or herself.
Holistic healers have used it as an all-purpose healing stone.
In Western folklore, the gem also heals relationships. Legend has it that a frog carved on an aquamarine stone can turn enemies into friends. Therefore, friends or lovers can give this gemstone as a gift to each other to maintain the bond between them.
3. Aquamarine spiritual healing properties
Aquamarine crystals improve the wearer’s personality by making us more open-minded, helping us to not judge others, to get rid of conformist ideas, to treat ourselves better and to develop a positive mindset.
Famous aquamarine jewelry
Source: Getty Image Tim Graham.
In 1953, the president of Brazil gave Queen Elizabeth II an aquamarine necklace and earrings as coronation presents from the Brazilian people. The gift was not unprecedented. In 1936, he had bequeathed First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with a rectangular step cut aquamarine that weighed more than 1,000 carats.
Some time in the 1980s, Brazilian miners excavated the world’s largest aquamarine. Before it was cut, the stone was more than 3 feet long and weighed 100 pounds. The “Dom Pedro” aquamarine, named for the historic Brazilian emperors, is currently on display at the Museum of Natural History.
Tiffany & Co. designed aquamarine jewelry reminiscent of the Jazz Age for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 production of “The Great Gatsby.”
In 2014, pop star Justin Bieber outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a 13.05 carat aquamarine designed by Italian luxury brand Bulgari.
Aquamarine cleansing and purification
The standard way to purify and recharge the aquamarine stone is to use kosher salt, since it does not contain common additives such as iodine.
How do we do it? If you use large grains of kosher salt, then simply put the salt on a plate or dish and then bury the stone within the salt for about 24 hours. Reminder, it can be longer than 24 hours, but not shorter. This is very effective and can last up to 3 months with a single purification, also called 100-day purification.
If we use small grains of kosher salt instead, we need to prepare a liquid in the ratio of 10 grams of kosher salt to 500 grams of water, and put the crystal into the liquid and soak it for 24 hours. Since the small grains of kosher salt are less energetic, you can carry it for about 1 month continuously for one purification.
Care and maintenance
With a ranking of 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, aquamarine is quite resilient. The gem does not require much upkeep. However, there are still several tips that we should keep in mind in order to make the most of our aquamarine jewelry.
Avoid collision and friction
The first thing to note about wearing aquamarine jewelry is that it should not be rubbed against other objects to avoid damage. Therefore, if you need to do sports, or house work, it is better not to wear aquamarine jewelry and store it away instead.
Avoid high temperatures and exposure to the sun
The aquamarine stone is brittle in nature and is likely to burst in a high temperature environment; therefore, it should not be placed in such an environment. Moreover, prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the color of aquamarine to fade. So it should be protected from the sun when worn in summer.
No acids or alkalis
Among all the chemicals, acid and alkali are highly corrosive. If the aquamarine stone is exposed to acid or alkali, they will erode the outer layer of the stone and damage the internal texture structure, thus reducing the value. Therefore, it is important to take off our aquamarine jewelry when we use something that contains acid or alkali.
Regular cleaning and care
Keep your aquamarine clean and wipe it with a soft cloth from time to time to keep its color bright. It is also important not to use detergents or cleaning instruments to avoid damaging it. Owners should consult a jeweler before attempting to mechanically clean an aquamarine.
Do you also know?
- Aquamarine is the designated stone of 19th wedding anniversaries.
- Blue beryl that’s darker than aquamarine is called maxixe[ma-SHEE-sha].
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helps you get the information needed. Feel to share your thoughts below or check other articles on birthstones by month that we have published: Birthstone chart: Birthstone, history, characteristics, meanings, care and cleaning.