Aquamarine: Savior of Sailors

The name aquamarine comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea.

Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea.

The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. March’s birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages  and relationships. It’s pale, cool color beautifully complements spring and summer wardrobes.

Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones. Deep blue is the most highly prized color. Aquamarine gets its blue hue from impurities of iron.

Aquamarine is a relatively common gemstone, and is affordable in lighter colors. Deeper colors can command high prices. Some enormous transparent crystal masses of Aquamarine have been found, and exquisite gems weighing thousands of carats have been cut from them.

The Dom Pedro aquamarine obelisk by gem sculptor Bernd Munsteiner is the largest cut aquamarine in the world.

The Dom Pedro aquamarine obelisk by gem sculptor Bernd Munsteiner is the largest cut aquamarine in the world. – Photo: Eric Welch, courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

Light blue Topaz is easily mistaken for Aquamarine. The colors of these two gems can be identical, and their physical properties are very similar.

Topaz is generally less expensive, and some fraudulent dealers may sell their topaz as aquamarine, so it is especially important to purchase this gem from a reliable dealer.

Unlike Emerald, Aquamarine gems are often completely flawless. Aquamarines with visible flaws are rarely seen.

The costs of producing synthetic Aquamarine are very high when compared to the relative abundance of this gem, so synthetic Aquamarine is generally not produced for the gemstone market.

Most Aquamarines on the market today are heat treated. Natural stones are usually lighter and more greener in color, and heat treatment creates deeper bluer hues.

A near endless variety of cuts are available today to suite just about any taste.

Most Aquamarines on the market today are heat treated. Natural stones are usually lighter and greener in color, and heat treatment creates deeper bluer hues. While natural deeper bluish hues do exist, they are uncommon.

The gemstone industry considers it an acceptable practice to heat treat Aquamarines, although this information should always be disclosed to the buyer!

Brazil is the largest producer of gem Aquamarine; other important producers are Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, China, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, and the United States (Colorado and California).

Soapy water and a toothbrush

Warm soapy water and mild dish-detergent is the safest way to clean a gemstone!

It is usually safe to clean aquamarine in an ultrasonic cleaner, unless the stone has a lot of inclusions! A steam-cleaner is also usually safe.

The safest way to clean any gemstone is always the simple use of warm water and a mild dish-detergent, such as Ivory or Sunlight, in conjunction with a soft toothbrush.

We hope you found this article helpful in getting a better understanding of March’s birthstone Aquamarine.  However, if you have any additional questions about this or any other jewellery related topics, you can always: “Ask the Jeweller”

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This article was compiled from my personal knowledge as a gemologist, as well as numerous online sources, individuals and textbooks. If you have something to add to this article that you feel would be of benefit to others, please, do not hesitate to contact us.

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