Typically known as the birthstone for March, and the 19th wedding anniversary stone, Aquamarine is in the Beryl family of gemstones. Some of the other Beryls include Emerald, Bixbite (a red Emerald), Morganite, Heliodore, and Goshenite. Unlike Emerald which is usually flawed, Aquamarine is very clean and clear. Registering a 7.8 on the Mohs Scale, it is soft enough to accommodate cutting, but hard enough to require no special care.
The name, Aquamarine, comes from Aqua which means “water” and Marina which means “of the sea”. Aquamarine colors may be almost colorless, sky-blue, sea-foam green, blue-green, or teal. The more even the color saturation, the darker the hue, and the more vivid the color, the higher the price. During history, different shades have been popular. Antique jewelry and early Aquamarine crystals will show up as blue green in color, as that was considered more precious. Today the sky-blue color is the most sought after.
To achieve the sky-blue color, some greenish colored Aquamarines may be heat treated to change their color and improve the clarity of the stone. The color changes are permanent. The treatment is almost impossible to detect and the price of the stone is increased due to the color change.
Aquamarine crystals are found in cavities, hydrothermal carbonate veins, granite pegmatite, alluvial deposits of gravel, or stream gravels. The natural colors of Aquamarine are caused by either ferrous (blue) or ferric (slight greenish hue) iron. The stone exhibits a pleochroic effect which means that depending on which angle you view an Aquamarine from, it may look blue, green or colorless. Aquamarines are often faceted with most being in the emerald cut followed by the pear, or round cuts. If it is cut in a cabochon, the stone may display a cat’s eye effect which is known as asterism.
Non-gem quality crystals have been found that weight up to several tons. The largest gem quality Aquamarine was found in Minas Gerais, Brazil in 1910. It weighed 243 pound and was cut into over 100,000 carats of polished stones. The world’s largest cut single piece of Aquamarine is the Don Pedro which is displayed at the Smithsonian. The raw stone was 100 pounds and around 3 feet tall. It was cut into an obelisk form which is 10,363 carats and measures fourteen inches by four inches. This is a good example of why cut gemstones cost more, as there is a lot of wasted material when stones are cut and polished.
Queen Elizabeth II received an Aquamarine necklace and earring set at her coronation in 1953 from the President of Brazil. She later added an Aquamarine bracelet, brooch, and tiara to her collection. Jessica Biel who is born in March received an engagement ring from Justin Timberlake with a large center diamond accented by two Aquamarines.
Some of the most valuable Aquamarines are mined in Columbia and Brazil. Other places where Aquamarine is found include Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United States (Colorado (Rocky Mountains) it is their state stone, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Massachusetts), Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Metaphysical Properties: Aquamarine has a rich lore associated with the sea and it does have a watery energy to it. The crystal calms fears and phobias. The protective energies of Aquamarine also inspire one to have courage to speak up. This is a great stone to carry for people who feel that no one is listening to their ideas especially in a work situation. Carrying this stone will give them the self-assurance to assertively, clearly, and concisely articulate their ideas and to have them heard by others. Aquamarine also enhances spiritual communication and a person’s aura. By calming an overactive mind, this crystal also helps deepens meditation. The green colored stones help one to speak from their heart.