by Kristian Krawford
The beautiful sea-blue gemstone aquamarine gets its name from the Latin word aqua marinus, which means “water of the sea”. Its color ranges from pale blue to blue-green or teal. The darker, more deeply saturated blue stones are the most valuable and sought after.
Brazil is the world’s leading source of aquamarine but it can also be found in other countries, including the U.S. The largest cut aquamarine in the world, the Dom Pedro aquamarine, weighs 10,363 carats and is on view at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Aquamarines are almost inclusion-free. It’s a hard and durable gemstone making it ideal for everyday jewelry such as rings, though earrings best display its dazzling color, scintillation and clarity.
The aquamarine is steeped in ancient lore. It was said to be found in the treasure chests of mermaids and was used by early sailors as talismans to ensure safe travels across stormy seas. It was also believed to promote happy marriages and everlasting youth. Archaeologists have discovered the stone in many Egyptian and Sumerian tombs.
In its natural state, aquamarine is usually light blue to greenish-blue in hue. Heat treatments turn the gem to a more valuable pure blue color. Natural intense blue aquamarines are very rare and fetch higher prices than the more pastel, softer blues and green-blues.
Because aquamarines are relatively inclusion-free they can be cut into many wonderful shapes, with the emerald-cut being the most popular. Oval-cut is also a frequent choice. It is mined in a variety of sizes, some of them quite large. But due to low demand, the stone is rarely sold weighing more than 25 carats.
Whether large or small, intense blue or pastel-hued, this most coveted of semi-precious gems looks great when set and worn. And if you were born in the month of March, it is your birthstone. It is also the anniversary gem for 19th wedding anniversaries. But any occasion makes the beautiful aquamarine a perfect choice for jewelry buyers.