March birthstone: Aquamarine

Given that Aquamarine is known for it’s peaceful light blue colour, it may not surprise you to learn that the origin for it’s name is from the Latin words aqua meaning water and marina meaning the sea. Ancient Greeks and Romans used it as protection, for safe travel by boat and for good luck in catching fish. Similarly as it was thought to calm water and waves, it is also thought to help calm tempers, quiet the mind and reduce stress. It is also believed to have a soothing influence on relationships and will strengthen healthy marriages.

Aquamarine is the blue variety of the mineral Beryl. Did you know that Emerald and Morganite are also forms of Beryl? The gem’s colour is determined by what other minerals beryl comes in contact with when it’s forming. For instance, emerald is coloured by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium while aquamarine is coloured by iron. Aquamarine grows in many different places around the world, and often in large quantities making it quite accessible and affordable. It’s also fairly easy to find large size crystals, meaning it is a popular stone for gem cutters to create fancy or fantasy cut pieces from. 

It is most often light in colour, however this can be more intense in larger stones. Darker blue stones are rarer and much more valuable. This colour is called “Santa Maria”, named after the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, where the first deeply saturated blue aquamarines were found. This mine has been virtually exhausted now but as recently as the 90’s, a new source of the deep blue aquamarines was found in Mozambique. Stones from this region are called Santa Maria Afrique, named after their Brazilian counterparts.

Aquamarine rates a 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale meaning it is durable enough for everyday wear. As it is light in colour and fairly transparent, dirt or grime that accumulates on the surface of the stone is much more apparent. Regular cleaning with a soft brush and mild soapy water will help keep the cloudiness at bay. If there are no noticeable inclusions or fractures, it is usually safe to be cleaned in a jeweller’s ultrasonic or steam cleaners.

We can source aquamarine in different shades, sizes and cuts so get in touch with us if you’d like to get started on sourcing an aquamarine for your special piece.

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