Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aquamarine is the Gemstone of the Week

Since Aquamarine is my birthstone and the birthstone of those born in March, that is the gemstone for this week.

Aquamarine gets it name from the Latin words for sea and water. The colors range from pale blue to a greenish blue to a deep blue. The deeper the blue, the more valuable the stone. It is an excellent stone for any type of jewelry. On the Moh scale, it is a 7.5-8.

This stone is a member of the beryl family, which is also the family of emerald, goshenite and heliotrope. Aquamarine is the most common member of this family. Beryl is a mineral made up of beryllium aluminum silicate, a commercial source of beryllium. Unlike emeralds, aquamarines are often flawless and ones with visible flaws are rarely seen. Often, the lighter blue aquamarines are mistaken for blue topaz which is not as expensive a stone. Blue zircon is another stone it can be confused with, although aquamarine is a lighter color blue.

The bluest and most valuable stones are mined in Brazil. It is also mined in Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Ural Mountains in Russia.

The most common enhancement for Aquamarines is heat treating. This is done to the paler and more teal colored stones to permanently give a deeper blue color.

Legend has it that sailors used to wear Aquamarine to keep them safe and to ward off seasickness. It is believed to give the wearer foresight, happiness and courage. In the middle ages, it was believed that this stone would reduce the effects of poisons. It is said that this stone will work on healing nerve pain, glandular problems, toothache and it will strengthen the liver and kidneys. It is also said that it will help with depression and grief.

The photos below are Aquamarines that I have. The ring belonged to my mom. Both she and I have March birthdays. The chips are some I picked up, but haven't done anything with yet. The chips are a much deepr blue than the beads, so it's safe tosay that they are heat treated and the beads are not. The ring is old enough to be a natural blue, but I'm not sure  Here is also a link to some pictures of  rough Aquamarine. It holds as much fascination for me as the cut stones do.

1 comment:

one-eared pig said...

I *love* aquamarine, too. And it is my birthstone, too. :)