The official birthstone of March, aquamarine, is a breathtaking gem that, like other birthstones, has history, folklore and a lot of interesting facts and characteristics. A member of the beryl family of gems, aquamarine appears in documented history as far back as the Greeks in 300 BC.
Aquamarine, named for the Latin phrase "water of the sea”, ranges in color from a faint light blue to blue and bluish-green, with lighter colored stones being the more common type.
Aquamarine is a relatively common gemstone and is affordable in lighter colors. Deeper colors can command high prices. Light green beryl can be transformed into aquamarine if heated to 750º F (400º C). The green hues in most Aquamarine can also be removed through heat treatment.
Unlike emerald and other gemstones, aquamarine gems are often completely flawless. Aquamarines with visible flaws are rarely seen.
Aquamarine is faceted into many cuts. It is a popular stone for rings, earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry forms. Translucent aquamarine displaying cat's eye effect and asterism are uncommon, but they do exist and are cut and polished into cabochons. Star aquamarines are even more rare than cat’s eyes and can command premium prices. Lesser quality aquamarines lacking good transparency are used as beads and as rough polished stones in bracelets and necklaces.
Most aquamarines on the market are heat treated. Natural aquamarine is usually lighter and greener in color, and heat treatment creates deeper bluer hues. While natural deeper bluish hues do exist, they are uncommon. The gemstone industry considers it an acceptable practice to heat treat aquamarines. In the past, this was done routinely. Nowadays, a more sophisticated public has started appreciating slightly green, untreated aquamarines. However, distinguishing this heating process proves impossible. This information should always be disclosed to the buyer.
Brazil is the largest producer of gem aquamarine; other important producers are Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, China, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, and the United States (Colorado and California).
Don’t assume aquamarines billed as “Brazilian” or “Madagascar” actually come from these sources. These terms may only refer to the color. Ask to see documentation to certify a gem’s origin.
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.
Blue topaz is easily confused with aquamarine. Blue Zircon is also very similar to aquamarine, although its color is usually a deeper blue. The colors of these two gems can be identical, and their physical properties are very similar. Topaz is generally less expensive, and some fraudulent dealers may sell their topaz as aquamarine.
Aquamarines do not require any special care. Of course, you can always use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water to clean your aquamarines safely.
Aquamarine is not only the birthstone for March, but the gem is also given as a present on the 19th wedding anniversary.
Aquamarine is considered an all-purpose healing stone that can help with many kinds of physical and mental disorders.
This is one of the best stones for getting you through high-tension periods, as it will dispel stress and improve communication between all involved parties. Aquamarine helps balance excessive anger or fear, and clears past emotional, physical or verbal abuse. Aquamarine is useful for moving through transition and change.
Aquamarine is a stone of breath, the respiratory tract, and the lungs. It can heal sinus conditions and frequent coughing and is effective for hay fever and other chronic allergies. It harmonizes the pituitary and thyroid glands, regulating hormones and growth. It supports the healing of inflammatory and skin diseases of all kinds.