Aquamarine is the birthstone for March. However, it is much more than that. It is a variety of the mineral beryl. Stones in the beryl group are known for being rich in chromium. Other precious stones in this group include diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. So, this gemstone is in good company. Aquamarine is an incredibly hard stone and has a superior glass-like luster. This cool blue stone not only comes in a variety of shades, it is desired due to its strength and durability. Keep reading to learn more about this beautiful stone.
A legendary stone
An old legend states that aquamarine originated in the treasure chest of mermaids and is considered a good luck charm for sailors. Some even believed that the stone has powers to ward off seasickness.
The shades of aquamarine, as its name suggests, are reminiscent of the sea. The blue shade of the stone is a result of iron impurities within the beryl crystals. As with the waters of the oceans, this stone has many variations in its color. It can range from a light, almost clear icy blue to a rich dark blue. Typically, the more saturated the color of the stone is, the more value it has because the deeper, darker blue stones are much rarer than the lighter colored ones. However, most people prefer the less valuable lighter-colored stones.
The leading producer of aquamarine is Brazil. This large country has aquamarine mines scattered all through it. Other countries that produce aquamarine include Australia, Myanmar, China, India, Kenya, and the United States to name a few.
Cut and shape
Aquamarine, like other beryls, are ideal for rectangular and square cuts. Generally, the most preferred cut for an aquamarine is an emerald step-cut. However, those who desire another cut for an aquamarine stone will not have a difficult time finding an oval, round, pear, or any other cut, as skilled gem cutters can fashion aquamarine into any shape.
Aquamarine is typically heat-treated to enhance its color. Heating the stone at a low temperature will help to eliminate undesirable green and yellow tones. When stones are heated at temperatures of 750º-750º F, it helps to enhance the blue shades that are present. If stones are heated at temperatures higher than that, it will result in discoloration.
Aquamarines are unsung beauties in the gem world. Although they do not get the same attention as the other beryl stones, they should. Their durability and versatility make them gems worth owning and showcasing on your finger, or around your neck. The next time you shop for a new gemstone, give aquamarine a consideration. You won’t be disappointed.