AQUAMARINE

Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is a cool plunge into a refreshing pool.

OVERVIEW

Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. March’s birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages. The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues. Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings.

Aquamarine is the green-blue to blue variety of the mineral beryl. (Emerald is the green to bluish green variety of the same mineral.) Its color is usually a light pastel greenish blue. Heat treatment usually gives it a more bluish appearance.

Aquamarine crystals are known to be large in size and relatively clean and well-formed, making them particularly valuable to collectors of mineral specimens.

WHERE IS IT FOUND ?

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has been an important source of aquamarine for the past two centuries. Travel there and you’ll find a changing panorama of landscapes: rocky hills, rivers and scrub brush dominate the central and eastern regions; savannahs, forests and streams checker the west; and lush green hills roll southward. Aquamarines are found in primary (hard rock) and secondary (weathered) pegmatite deposits in the eastern portion of the state, near the gem center of Teófilo Otoni.

Aquamarine is also found high in the Karakorum foothills of Pakistan. To reach the deposits, miners must climb steep paths to elevations of 9,800 to 13,000+ feet (3,000 to more than 4,000 meters) and work the sides of forbidding cliffs. Below this inhospitable rocky world lie fertile valleys, rushing rivers and small towns. Aquamarine from this area has been described as “water clear.”

CARE & CLEANING

With a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale, this March birthstone is durable enough for everyday wear. Caring for the gem is easy. Use warm water, mild dish soap and a toothbrush to scrub behind the birthstone where dirt can collect. Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaning are usually safe options as long as there are no fractures or liquid inclusions in the gem.

HISTORY

The name “aquamarine” is derived from two Latin words: aqua, meaning “water,” and marina, meaning “of the sea.”

It has been said that the mineral beryl gives the wearer protection against foes in battle or litigation. It makes the wearer unconquerable and amiable, and also quickens the intellect.

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.

BIRTHSTONE

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary.

FACT SHEET

Mineral: beryl
Chemistry: Be3Al2Si6O18
Color: greenish blue, light in tone
Refractive index: 1.577 to 1.583
Birefringence: 0.005 to 0.009
Specific gravity: 2.72
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 to 8.0

Source of Content : www.gia.edu