Happy Birthday March! All About Aquamarine

8384530694_3548ec080b_s Photo by: Mauro Cateb

The name of the birthstone for the month of March, the aquamarine, is derived from Latin meaning ocean water or water from the sea. The belief behind the beautiful stone is that it protected sailors as they went away on their voyages. It was believed that the stone calmed the sea and kept the wearer levelheaded and calm. Aquamarines are mostly found in Brazil, but the stone has also been found in Ukraine, Pakistan, India, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia, and Mozambique. Aquamarines are hard stones and have been known to have a more intense color the larger they are. Like emeralds, aquamarines originate from the mineral beryl, or beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. The aquamarine crystal can be found in a range of sizes, and the largest known to date was found in Brazil in 1910 and weighed in at 224 pounds. There is a bigger demand for the smaller stones in jewelry, as the larger ones are harder to use in this industry.

Shape and Cut of the Aquamarine

Because the aquamarine originates from the beryl family, it usually appears as a transparent to pale green-colored crystal. Although beryls are best cut into rectangular and square shapes, the versatile aquamarine can be cut into any faceted shapes, as it makes beautiful jewelry. The most popular shapes for this stone are the emerald step cut and the round or oval brilliant cut, but the aquamarine can be also seen in the ever-popular cushion and pear cuts as well. The stone is naturally harder, so it is easier for jewelers to design many different styles around it.

Color of the Aquamarine

Most aquamarine stones are lighter blue in color, but they can also be found in dark blue, green-blue and blue-green. The stones that have more color have a higher value, and deep blue is the more sought-after and rare color of aquamarine. There are many people who love aquamarine with the lighter, more clear sky-blue color over the ones with deeper color, so both have value in the eyes of the jewelry designer. Some stones on the market are treated with heat to give them a purer blue color, but most aquamarines are untreated. Color and clarity are the two criteria that are most important when evaluating aquamarine stones.

Clarity of the Aquamarine

The best-quality aquamarines are clear and transparent, but because the stone is from the beryl family, it can contain inclusions that appear to be tubes that run through the length of the stone; however, most stones cut with facets look clear to the eye. When there are foreign minerals within the aquamarine, they can give it a cat's-eye effect. These stones cost much more and are extremely rare and very valuable because of their interesting and different look. Most of the stones that you'll see in the jewelry industry have a glass-like look after they are cut and polished. Aquamarines naturally have good clarity when compared to other similarly colored gems.

The aquamarine is obviously a very versatile and wearable stone. It is sturdy, clear, and beautiful, and those are only a few of its better attributes. Fortunately for the aquamarine admirer, the stone is just as attractive in any cut, shape, or color. Most aquamarine pieces have their own individual beauty, and everyone looks beautiful wearing the stone. Even if your birthday isn't in March, the aquamarine is a great stone to add to your jewelry collection.