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About Minerals

Birthstone of March

From the light blue of the sky to the deep blue of the sea, aquamarines shine over an extraordinarily beautiful range of mainly light blue colors. Women the world over love it for its fine blue shades which can complement almost any skin color, and creative. Gemstone designers are inspired by it as they are by hardly any other gem.

Faceted Brazilian Aquamarine

Its light blue arouses feelings of sympathy; trust, harmony, friendship and good feelings. The blue of aquamarine is a divine, eternal color, because it is the color of the sky, it is also the color of water with its life-giving force, and it really does seem to have captured the lucid blue of the oceans. When you consider that according to the saga it originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and since ancient times, has been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone. Its name is derived from the Latin 'aqua' (water) and 'mare' (sea).

It is said that its strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight, and according to the old traditions the aquamarine promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the woman who wears it joy and wealth.

Aquamarine is one of the most popular and best-known gemstones, and distinguishes itself by many good qualities. It is almost as popular as the classics: ruby, sapphire and emerald. In fact it is related to the emerald, both belonging to the beryl family. Much more often than its famous green cousin, aquamarine is almost entirely free of inclusions. Aquamarine has good hardness (7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale) and a wonderful shine. That hardness makes it very tough and protects it to a large extent from scratches. Iron is the substance which gives aquamarine its color, a color which ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. The more intense the color of an aquamarine, the more value is put on it. Some aquamarines have a light, greenish shimmer; that is a typical feature. However, it is a pure, clear blue that continues to epitomize the aquamarine, because it brings out so well the immaculate transparency and magnificent shine of this gemstone.

Aquamarine Crystal

The various color nuances of aquamarine have melodious names: the rare, intense blue aquamarines from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, which make every gemstone lover's heart beat faster, are called 'Santa Maria'. Similar nuances come from a few gemstone mines in Africa, particularly Mozambique. To help distinguish them from the Brazilian ones, these aquamarines have been given the name/Santa Maria Africana'. The 'Espirito Santo' color of aquamarines from the Brazilian state of that name is of a blue that is not quite so intense. Yet other qualities are embodied in the stones from Fortaleza and Marambaia. One beautiful aquamarine color was named after the Brazilian beauty queen of 1954, 'Martha Rocha'.

It can be seen from the names of aquamarine colors just how important Brazil is among the countries where aquamarine is found. Most of the raw crystals for the world market come from the gemstone mines of that large South American country. Some large aquamarine crystals of immaculate transparency are found with a magnificent color, a combination which is very unusual in gemstones. Arid occasionally, sensationally large aquamarine crystals come to light in Brazil, such as the crystal of 110.5 Kg found in 1910 in Marambaia/Minas Gerais, or for example the 'Dom Pedro', weighing 26 Kg and cut in Idar-Oberstein in 1992 by the gemstone designer Bemd Munsteiner, the largest aquamarine ever to have been cut. (Look it up on line!)

The beryl mineral family along with emerald and aquamarine contains golden beryl (heliodor), Goshenite, Bixbite and Morganite (or pink beryl.) Sources are Brazil, China, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia and the U.S. and Russia. Over 99% of all aquamarine is irradiated to stabilize and enhance the color and eliminate "green". This is a permanent process that does not harm the durability of the gemstone, so do not worry when this disclosure is made. Avoid ultrasonic or steam cleaning of jewelry containing beryl —use only warm soapy water and a soft brush.

PART OF ARTICLE FROM Awesome via Hellgate Breezes, 3/2007