Aquamarine is the blue variety of the silicate-mineral beryl and is often called the "mother of gemstones". The gemstones of the beryl group come in a variety of colors. Such as the yellow beryl, for example. Likewise, a green beryl can signify as an emerald (*), a blue beryl is known as an aquamarine, and a pink beryl is described as a morganite.
The name of the aquamarine comes from Latin and is based on its beautiful seawater color. "Aquamarine" literally means "water of the sea" and is composed of the Latin words "aqua" (water) and "marinus" (belonging to the sea).
(*) Emeralds are beryls, which get their color from chromium and/or vanadium with more or less iron. Here, in the first place, no consideration is given to the color tone. Beryls that obtain their color only from iron ions are called "green beryls". This is the definition of large laboratories.
Read more about the beryl group and its color variations here in our blog post.
THE SPECIAL COLOR
Aquamarine comes in different shades of blue, from a soft light blue to a deep dark seawater blue. The most desirable is a deep blue. The more intense the blue, the more valuable it is, as the closest color to seawater is very rare. Aquamarine gets its color from traces of bivalent to trivalent iron ions. The varying iron concentrations give the gemstone an exceptionally beautiful range of colors, from delicate pastel shades to an intense deep sea blue.
The special feature of aquamarine is its dichroism. Depending on the angle of view, the color effect of the stone can change. Thus, the same aquamarine can appear almost colorless at first and deep blue at the next moment. In addition, aquamarines are characterized by their beautiful and even color distribution.
In order to increase the color intensity of stones with inferior color qualities, the stones are usually heated with high temperatures to obtain the desired color-intensive aquamarine blue. However, the temperature must not exceed 450 °C, otherwise the aquamarine may decolorize conversely. The aquamarine blue can also be obtained by neutron irradiation and gamma irradiation. However, the resulting coloration is not durable.
You can learn more about low temperature treatment and other gemstone treatment methods here in our blog post.
PURITY AND QUALITY
Aquamarines are purer than emeralds. They usually have no inclusions or cracks and are therefore transparent and eye-clean, so that no inclusions are visible to the naked eye at a distance of about 15 cm. This makes them more workable than emeralds. Even under magnification, aquamarines exhibit very high purity.
The quality description Santa Maria is given to particularly fine and deep blue aquamarines - named after a mine in Brazil. Santa-Maria-Africana stands for a fine aquamarine, mined in Mozambique (Africa). Maxix aquamarine is considered to be a deep blue aquamarine from Brazil, but it is faded in daylight and has been dulled by irradiation.
The precious gemstone occurs in its parent rock pegmatite, especially in coarse-grained granites, but also in metamorphic rocks such as gneiss and as a mineral soap in river sediments.
With about 660 known occurrences, aquamarine is a relatively common variety of beryl. Deposits of aquamarine are found on almost all continents of the world.
The most important exporter is Brazil. Aquamarines are mined there in many places of the country.
The once very important and famous deposits in Russia in the Urals are now almost exhausted. There are also other deposits in Australia, China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia and the USA.
One of the largest aquamarines of greenish-blue gem quality ever found was recovered in 1910 from the Marambaia River in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It weighed 110.5 kg and measured 48.5 cm in length and 41-42 cm in diameter, equivalent to 520,000 carats. The largest and heaviest known crystal to date, measuring one meter in length and weighing 400 kg, was discovered in 1992 in the Galilea pit near Governador Valadares in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
THE AQUAMARINE AS A JEWELRY STONE
It's not over yet, the aquamarine trend of recent years: classic octagonal, ideally eight to ten carats. Sparked by the 2018 royal wedding, where Meghan Markle wore Diana's legendary aquamarine cocktail ring on her finger, demand for such aquamarine rings remains high.
Aquamarine is a highly sought-after gemstone due to its stunning blue color, which is suitable for creating luxurious and alluring rings, necklaces and earrings. A single large aquamarine on a discreet necklace, two pairs of ocean blue aquamarines in a gold setting, or a pompous stone on a women's ring - aquamarine has many uses and will make any gown elegant and exquisite.
It comes in a variety of cuts - HC Arnoldi is known for classic cuts and aquamarines in particular. Staircase and scissor cuts with rectangular or long-oval shapes are preferred. Cloudy aquamarines are often made into cabochons. Aquamarine beads also work well for creating an elegant necklace or bracelet.
According to legend, aquamarine was a lucky stone for sailors. In rough and stormy seas, the crew would throw amulets containing aquamarines into the water to appease Poseidon, the god of the sea.
However, aquamarine does not only bring good luck to sailors. The gemstone has a calming and positive effect, which can have a healing effect, especially in case of problems. Wearing aquamarine has benefits not only mentally, but also physically. It is said that it can help, for example, with respiratory problems, skin allergies, hay fever, as well as pain in the neck and nerves.
Aquamarine is the birthstone of the month of March and is also said to have a positive influence on prudence and wisdom.
Book: Gemstones and precious stones, Author: Walter Schumann, Edition: 2020