The Gemstone Aquamarine

What Is Aquamarine

The name is derived from Latin: “aqua marina” meaning “water of the sea” and it is one of the most popular and well-known gemstones.
It belongs to the Beryl family of gemstones and the color ranges from very pale blue, or green-blue, to strong sea blue with the most popular color being pure, clear, blue.
The hardness of the stone is relatively high and it is therefore quite scratch resistant, so it could be used in an “everyday” jewelry.

In order to enhance the color to get even lower quality stones to attain the beautiful Aquamarine color, most Aquamarine stones are heat treated with a temperature of 400-450 degrees C. If the temperature is too high the stone will be discolored.
Also irradiation is used to enhance the color of Aquamarine.
The color is due to small amounts of iron that is included in the crystal structure.

Aquamarine is a favoured gemstone among designers as it has, usually, few inclusions and can be cut in many different ways to enhance the brilliance of the stone.
Especially the very lucid color of Aquamarine makes it easy to see any inclusions and designers are using this fact to design the cuts in such a way that the inclusions play a larger part in the appearance of the gemstone and can thus produce very special effects.

How Is Aquamarine Formed

Aquamarine is formed in the same manner as most other gemstones, in cavities that are formed when magma from deep inside the Earth is approaching the surface and begin cooling down.
When high silicate magma is slowly cooling down when it approaches the crust of the Earth, some of the molten material is crystallized into granite rock during a process that can take millions of years.

During the cooling down process, some parts of the rocks will be formed with “empty” cavities inside. Within some of these cavities, silica is present, or liquid containing silica is sipping in through cracks in the granite, and will, over time form quartz crystals.

Depending on the materials contained within the crystals, various colors will be visible to us, from yellowish, blue-green to blue.

Aquamarine contains iron ions Fe2+ and Fe3+ and the very rare Beryllium. The Fe2+ ions are responsible for the blue color and therefore, the more Fe2+ and the less Fe3+ there is in a stone the more blue it becomes.
The heat treatment is reducing Fe3+ ions to Fe2+ ions and the magic is presenting itself in the form of a deeper blue gemstone.

Where Can It Be Found

Aquamarine has been found in many parts of the African continent including Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania among others.

In Asia it has been found in Afghanistan, Burma, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam and also other areas.

In Europe it has been found in many parts from Norway and Finland in the north to Spain and Portugal in the south.

Aquamarine has been found in more than 20 states of the USA including Colorado where Aquamarine is the official “stone of the state”.
Also in Australia the Aquamarine gemstone is found all over the continent.

The leading producer, however, is Brazil, with many mines spread throughout the country, and many of the special Aquamarine gemstones are given Brazilian names as a result of this.
But it is also found in many other countries of the South American continent.

Aquamarines can grow to substantial sizes and have been found with a weight of several tons, but often of such low quality that they could not be used for cutting into finished products for the market.
The largest find of aquamarine in gemstone quality dates back to 1910. The "Minas Gerais" in Marambaya, Brazil, mined a stone of 243 lb (110.5 kg), 18 inch (48.5 cm) long and 15.5 inch in diameter that was cut in many loose gems with a total weight of more than 100,000 ct.

The “Dom Pedro” Aquamarine was cut from a 45 kg original stone in Idar-Oberstein/Germany in 1992 by the gemstone designer Bernd Munsteiner, and made it the largest Aquamarine ever to have been cut.
It was cut in the form of an obelisk measuring 36x10cm and weighing 10,363 carats.
This extraordinary gemstone was recently donated to the Smithsonian Institution and can be seen in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Is The Value Of Aquamarine

Aquamarine is not very rare, it is therefore not among the highest priced gemstones.
Darker colored stones are usually more expensive than lighter colored ones. Especially the very light blue to blue-green color of Aquamarine has a lower value because they may fade upon prolonged exposure to light. It is a good idea to get the advice of a reliable dealer concerning this issue.
In earlier times the greenish varieties of Aquamarine were the most popular unlike today’s preference of the bluish color.

As mentioned above, very large Aquamarines have been found and cut into beautiful gemstones weighing thousands of carats and with prices in the top range amongst gemstones.
The “Dom Pedro” Aquamarine mentioned above is probably the highest priced stone so far, estimated at US $10 million, but the exact price has not been disclosed.

Aligned traces of foreign minerals can cause a cat's eye effect or star effect (asterism) with six rays in a vivid sheen. Cat's eye Aquamarine and star Aquamarine can usually fetch a fairly high price if otherwise clarity and darkness of the blue color is good.

There is one important factor that may confuse customers with regards to purchasing Aquamarine. Some unserious dealers may try to pass a light blue Topaz as an Aquamarine as the color of the two types of gemstones can be identical in addition to the fact that their other properties are also very similar.
Topaz is generally less expensive than Aquamarine.

Most of the Aquamarines in the market are either natural, or natural and treated, or imitations. Imitations are usually very easy to spot.

Even though Aquamarine and Emerald is from the same beryl family they are very different with regards to flaws in the formed stones.
Whereas the Emerald usually has multiple cracks etc, the Aquamarine is often completely flawless. Visible flaws are not very common.

The costs of producing synthetic Aquamarine are very high when compared to the relative abundance of this gem, so synthetic Aquamarine is generally not produced for the gemstone market.

Below are Aquamarine stones with the same size and the same weight shown with the price variation, mainly due to the color differences, or the difference in saturation of the color.

0.45ct 5.00mm
0.45ct 5.00mm
0.45ct 5.00mm
0.45ct 5.00mm
US $192
US $83
US $57
US $38

Metaphysical Properties

In ancient times Aquamarine was thought to enhance love between married couples and also to absorb the atmosphere of young love.
The Aquamarine was believed to have originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and has been connected to sea and sailors in many ways.
It was believed that the stone ensured a safe and prosperous journey for sailors especially when crossing large open areas of rough seas.

In Christianity Aquamarine stones were identified with the apostle St. Thomas. He made long journeys by sea to preach salvation.
In medieval times poison became a very common way of getting rid of enemies and this was often used in royal circles. The Aquamarine gemstone was believed to be an antidote for poison and therefore became very popular among, especially, the upper classes for this reason.

The stone was also believe to be specially effective in fortune telling and often cut into the form of crystal balls to better enable people to tell the future. It was also believed to help anybody searching for hidden or lost items.
It was further believed to enable the wearer to control the weather as it would bring rain when needed and bring draught to enemies.

As a health remedy it would ease pain and cure problems like arthritis, toothaches, stomach and liver ailments and also cure yawning.
In ancient times Aquamarine was thought to enhance love between married couples and also to absorb the atmosphere of young love.

It was believed that cosmos is reflected in gemstones and Aquamarine is assigned to the planet Neptune.
This connection was revived in recent history through various religious and other belief groups dubbed as esoteric movements and gave the gem industry a welcomed boost.

Whether or not the healing powers and other believed influences of gemstones are real or just placebo effects, doesn’t matter actually, if it is believed to help make life better or easier in any way.
The effect is real for the person who experiences a larger degree of wellness through wearing a certain gemstone.

The effect on feelings between couples is a reality, in most cases. A woman receiving a beautiful gemstone from her husband or boyfriend will definitely feel happier and maybe more in love with, or tolerant towards, the giver.

So, boys/men/husbands, take my advice, save up for a gift of beautiful jewelry for your girl/woman/wife and your lives will improve……….

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