Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family and is considered to be a semi-precious gemstone. While not abundant in nature, Aquamarine is not rare and good size stones are available. Aquamarine is available in a narrow band of naturally occurring colors from a medium blue to a delicate blue to blue green with the fine medium blue colored Aquamarine gemstones from the Santa Maria mine in Brazil as well as the Santa Maria colored Aquamarines from Madagascar currently being the most sought after. Due to the rarity of these gems, Aquamarine jewelry made with these gemstones is very sought after amongst purveyors and collectors.
Medium blue through a delicate blue to blue green.
Typically transparent but if highly included, may be translucent. Aquamarine is a Type I gemstone and is usually virtually free of inclusions.
Aquamarine may exhibit the phenomena of Chatoyancy, a striking three dimensional effect typically seen in tiger eye quartz but this is rare and usually weak.
All sizes are available and 10 carat stones are common, faceted stones over 1,000 carats are known.
TYPICAL CUTTING STYLES:
Transparent: most cutting styles are available.
Translucent: cabochons, beads and carvings – cabochons will enhance the cat’s eye effect.
POSSIBLE ENHANCEMENTS & TREATMENTS:
Heat treatment is occasionally used to improve color and remove the green element from the color. This treatment is undetectable and has excellent stability.
7½ to 8 on the Mohs scale.
BEST USE OF THE GEMSTONE:
Aquamarine can be used in all types of jewelry.
CARE & CLEANING:
It is best to never expose colored gemstones to cleaning solvents or chemicals of any kind.
Common cleaning methods include: Ultrasonic: usually safe but not recommended, especially if stones have inclusions.
Steamer: usually safe but not recommended, especially if stones have inclusions.
Warm soapy water: safe
Reaction to Chemicals: can be damaged by acids.
Reaction to Heat: generally not heat sensitive.
Stability to Light: generally stable after prolonged exposure to sunlight or UV light.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS GEMSTONE:
The name Aquamarine comes from the Latin expression for seawater. Aquamarine is colored by trace amounts of iron. The more saturated the color, the higher the value, however, almost all have a light tone.
The largest find of gem quality aquamarine was in 1910 at the “Minas Gerais” mine in Marambaya, Brazil. The stone mined was 243 lb (110.5 kg), 18 inches (48.5cm) long and 15.5 inches in diameter and was cut into many gems with a combined total weight of more than 100,000 carats. The ‘Dom Pedro’, weighing 26 kg and cut in Idar-Oberstein Germany in 1992 by designer Bernd Munsteiner, was the largest aquamarine ever to have been cut.
Ancient sailors traveled with aquamarine crystals, believing that it would ensure a safe voyage, and guarantee a safe return; they often slept with the stones under their pillow to ensure sound sleep.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, Pisces (Feb. 19 – Mar. 20).