Aquamarine has long been among the most popular gemstones that people have worn. It is one of the big names, along side emeralds, sapphires, rubies and diamonds. All throughout history it has been mentioned. The name “aquamarine” comes from the Latin meaning “water of the sea” and is so named because of its beautiful blue-green colour. Aquamarine occurs in light blue to dark blue and blue-green, with a very intense blue variety named “Santa Maria” after the mine with the same name in Ceara, Brazil.
Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family, along side emeralds (green chrome/vanadium containing), morganite (pink), heliodor (golden yellow) and goshenite (colorless). The colouring agent in aquamarine is iron. Aquamarines are commonly subjected to various treatments, such as heating and neutron or gamma irradiation. This is done to improve the colour or remove the green from a stone. I think its a bit of a shame that the green is so often cooked from aquamarine to create a more bluer stone. It is this blue-green colour for which aquamarine has gained its name, and the blue-green colour is truly beautiful and clearly marks the gem as being an aquamarine.
Care must be taken with aquamarine as it can be brittle and sensitive to pressure, as well as being sensitive to high temperatures, so be careful when making jewelry as it can result in possible discoloration. Aquamarines are often cut in classic step (emerald) cuts or scissor cuts as these styles help enhance the stone’s colour.
In the past decade, Pakistan has been producing alot of aquamarine, both as facet rough and magnificent specimens that are popular with mineral collectors. This material is often quite pale but very clear and free of inclusions. Some of the best and richest coloured aquamarine that I have personally seen has come from O’Briens Creek near Mt Surprise, North Queensland, Australia. This location is famous for topaz however there is some great aquamarine to be found there as well. The colour of these crystals is as beautiful as it comes.
Aquamarine can be found in quite large crystals. One of the largest aquamarine crystals on record was found in 1910 at Marambaya, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This monster weighed 110.5kg (243lbs) and was 48.5cm (18in) long and 42cm (15.5in) in diameter. It was gem quality and believed to have been be cut into many gemstones with a total combined weight of over 100,000 carats! Thats alot of aquamarine… imagine finding that aquamarine crystal… not something you’d find everyday.
Aquamarine belongs to the family called Beryl to which emeralds, morganite and heliodor also belong.
Various shades of blue and greenish blue. Its name alludes to the colours of the ocean.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.
Aquamarine is the zodiac stone for Aquarius.
Aquamarine is the stone for the 19th anniversary.
Minas Gerais, Brazil; Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Africa; Sir Lanka, Madagascar; USA; India; Burma; Afghanistan; Pakistan; O’Briens Creek, NQ, Harts Ranges, NT, Australia
7.5 – 8
Aquamarine is sometimes heated to improve the colour or remove the greenish tint making it a pure blue.
1.564 – 1.596
2.68 – 2.74