AQUAMARINE – A REMARKABLY BEAUTIFUL & VERSATILE GEMSTONE

May 06 2015 1 Comment

 Part of the beryl family and closely related to emeralds, the birthstone for March is the aquamarine. This alluring stone captures the fascinating blue colour of the oceans and is an irresistible temptation to those who adore and admire beauty! Found amongst both,  the most expensive jewellery in the world and in everyday accessories, aquamarine is a wonderfully versatile gemstone!

For many centuries, creative jewellery designers have been inspired by this gem, sometimes known as “the treasure of the sea”, and have relied upon aquamarines to add a sophisticated touch of colour to their pieces.
Highly prized in the jewellery industry, this gemstone is the true symbol of grace and elegance.

 


A guide to Aquamarines
Aquamarine is a beryllium aluminum silicate. It is named after the Latin word “aqua (water) and marine (sea)”. It is an exceptionally hard gemstone and has an outstanding vitreous (glass-like) luster. Aquamarines are best-known for its breathtaking sea-blue colour.
Following some gemological information about the gem: 
  • Chemical: Beryllium aluminum silicate
  • Mineral Class: Beryl
  • Crystal System: Hexagonal
  • Crystal Habitat: Prismatic
  • Hardness: 7.5 - 8.0
  • Refractive Index: 1.57 - 1.58
  • Cleavage: Imperfect, basal, almost never seen
  • Transparency: Transparent to translucent

 

 

Aquamarine Origin and Gemstone Sources:

 

Most of the Aquamarines found in the market nowadays are produced in Brazil, Gemstones Brazil homeland!

 Deposits of aquamarines are also found in Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in U.S.

 

 Aquamarine in History & the most famous stones!

 
As you may have guessed, most of the aquamarine lores are related to the sea. This gem was believed to protect sailors, to prevent the seasickness and to guarantee a safe voyage across stormy seas. A legend says it was originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids!
The Romans and the Greeks frequently used Aquamarines in their jewelry. They believed that a figure of a frog carved in the gem could help enemies to reconcile.
 
During the Middle Ages, Aquamarine was believed to protect the couples in love and also to be an antidote for poisonous. That is one of the reasons for the popularity of the gem among the royalty at the time.
 

 

 

 

However, nowadays the popularity of Aquamarine among the royalties remains. In 1953, the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth was given this necklace and matching pendant earrings in aquamarine, diamonds and platinum by the president and people of Brazil as a coronation gift. They were made by Mappin & Webb in Rio de Janeiro.
 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth liked this aquamarine set so much that, in 1957, she commissioned Garrards & Co. of London to create this matching tiara for her.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

The members of the Swedish royal family are also aquamarine admirers. For her 18th birthday, Princess Madeleine received this petite bandeau with a large aquamarine in the centre as a starter tiara. It has a historical link to the family, reportedly once having belonged to Queen Louise.

 

 

 

 


Here is Princess Margaretha, wearing the aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara at the wedding of her niece, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, to Daniel Westling in 2010.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most famous Aquamarines in the world was mined in my Dad’s hometown Pedra Azul! Called Dom Pedro, this 26 Kg Aquamarine was cut in Idar-Oberstein, Germany in 1992 by the amazing lapidary and designer Bernd Munsteiner.

 

 

 

 
Here is a great video by  the Smithsonian museum showing this fabulous piece of art!

 

 

 

 


 

A buyer’s guide  
How to determine an Aquamarine value ?

 

 

 

 

  1. Aquamarine Colour

The famous Aquamarine sea colour is created by the presence of the substance Iron in the gem. Aquamarine’s colour range can vary in blue, very slightly greenish blue, greenish blue, very strongly greenish blue or green-blue.

The slightly greenish and intense blue is the most valuable color. The more saturated the color, the higher the value. Santa Maria gems, mined in the village of Itabira, Minas Gerais, shows this perfect vibrant colour. However, it is good to point that the lighter natural colour is also very popular among Aquamarine lovers.

  

  1. Aquamarine Clarity and Luster

Aquamarines are very commonly eye-clean (GIA clarity list Type 1), unlike its “cousin” emeralds. Liquid inclusions, can be found in some gems but they are in general cut as cabochons or beads.  

  1. Aquamarine Cut/Shape

Aquamarine is celebrated among lapidaries due to its pleochroic characteristic, which means it shows different colors in different crystal directions. Also, thanks to the stone hardness and transparency, it is vastly used in designs and fantasy cuts.

However, the most common shapes are the emerald, round or oval cut. Specially the emerald step-cut is very in demand and particularly well-suited for Aquamarines.

 

  1.  Aquamarine Carat / weight

According to the GIA, Aquamarine prices per carat increases up to approximately 25 carats, tending to decrease for sizes above 25 carats. They explain this theory as a result of the difficult to use gems bigger than 25 carats in pieces of jewellery. I personally agree with this data when I think about the demand I have for this gem on my shop.

In the market, you can find Aquamarine crystals from very small to very large sizes. Many of the very large aquamarine crystals were discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

  1. Aquamarine Treatments

Most of Aquamarines on the market are heat treated to enhance the colour and to remove yellowish hues. Natural Aquamarines are usually lighter and more greener in color.

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

 

March’s Birthstone and 
16th & 19th Wedding Anniversary

 

Aquamarine was adopted as a modern March birthstone in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers. It is also suggested as a gem to give on the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries.


Aquamarine Meaning & Properties
Aquamarine meaning and properties are directly connected to the gems colour. The serene blue of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, calm, cleansing and level-headed.
Also, it is said to help to open the channels of communication, assisting to overcome the fear of speaking, relaxing and helping to better articulate and respond with clarity and conviction.

 

According to the old traditions, the use an Aquamarine helped a happy marriage. It was believed to be an ideal gem for loving married couples.

As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety, sinus conditions, arthritis, eye inflammation and allergies.

Disclaimer: Aquamarine “meaning and properties chapter heading” is not to be taken as guidance. This information does not replace the advice of your doctor. Gemstones Brazil does not guarantee any claims of healing under any circumstances.

 

 

Aquamarine Caring and Cleaning

 

Despite its hardness, it is important to be careful with your Aquamarine. Be cautious with harsh household chemicals - hydrofluoric acid, ammonium fluoride, and alkaline solutions, with extreme exposure to heat  and hard knocks.

Aquamarines should be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. Ultrasonic cleaners are safe except in case the stone has fractures or liquid inclusions.  

 

 

 

Gemstones Brazil Finest quality Aquamarines

Gemstones Brazil’s aquamarines are mined at the north of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The stones are cut in Teofilo Otoni, Brazil and in Jaipur, India.  We work with both traditional designs and cuts, always insuring a fine and brilliant finish.

Jewellers that we love and their marvellous Aquamarine jewellery designs

Whilst popular with royalty the world over, beautiful jewellery made with aquamarines is not just a privilege for queens and princesses – and this is what I love about the stone! Here are some beautiful and modern designs I picked made by some of my favourite contemporary jewellers and artists.

 

 

 

 

Two fabulous bespoke creations by Patience Jewellery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Fantastic ring by Ornella Iannuzzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Beautiful rings by Maike Browning Jewellery

 

 



 

 

 

 Sea Flower ring by Ileana Makri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Biel pictured at the Oscars 2014 with lovely platinum, diamond and aquamarine jewellery by Tiffany & Co. 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Cate Blanchett wearing a turquoise, aquamarine and diamond necklace from the
2015 Tiffany Blue Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will keep bringing my favorite aquamarine jewellery to this section. So, be in touch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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  • Hi thank you for this article. My great grandma bought an aquamarine ring in Brazil in the 1930’s or 40’s. I’m not sure but my mom has the ring now and she lets me wear it from time to time. I love it and think it’s beautiful. Its 11 carats and has 6 little diamonds around it. I would upload a picture for you to see but I’m not sure how I can on here. Anyway I found your article very helpful and informative. And loved all the pictures :)

    Rachel Krug on

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