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Blue Water Shades of Aquamarine

It's no mystery how aquamarine got its name- the Latin "aqua" for water and "mare" for sea. With shades of the pale crystal blue of a freshwater island cove to a brighter ocean blue, aquamarine jewelry sparkles like the sun glinted off the ocean.

Aquamarine Jewelry: Physical Characteristics

Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family of minerals. It is composed of beryllium aluminum silicate. Traces of iron combined with these minerals are what give it its blue shades of color and differentiate it from other beryl stones, like the emerald.

Most stones are faceted which unleashes the brilliant sparkle, especially when light hits it. But, when stones are smoothed into a cabochon for a truly unusual piece, a chatoyant characteristic is sometimes exhibited. This is the look commonly referred to as "cat's eye." When light shines on the stone, the single thickened band of tiny fiber-like inclusions from top to bottom give it the appearance of a catís eye.

Because finding a clean stone, inclusion free, is fairly common, cutting these gemstones is also relatively easy. The cutter does not have to worry about the stone breaking when he makes a cut. It also opens up the possibilities of new and unique cuts for creating dramatic jewelry.

Aquamarine Jewelry: Where do they come from?

Beryl minerals are very common all over the globe. For the crystalline blue shades for an aquamarine necklace, the most significant deposits are in Brazil. Other South American deposits can be found in Madagascar. Asia and Africa also have several mines located in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to name a few.

This gemstone is plentiful in small accent pieces to very large stones for a dramatic pendant or ring. The largest single piece every discovered was 243 pounds. It was found in Brazil in the early 20's and was divided into several jewelry grade stones. Just imagine how many accessories could be made from this one rough stone! There is a flawless cut gemstone at the British Museum of Natural History that is 879.5 carats.

Celebrate with Aquamarine Jewelry

The cool rain falls, wakes up the earth and spring arrives in March. It is only fitting that March is assigned the aquamarine birthstone to commemorate the month. This gemstone is a part of the original birthstone chart devised by the American National Association of Jewelers back in 1912. It is also given to celebrate the 19th wedding anniversary.

With the sea of blue shades available, it is really a perfect gift for any occasion. And, because it is so much more affordable than its sister the emerald, it's ok to treat yourself to an aquamarine ring or two- no special occasion necessary.

Aquamarine Jewelry: Magic and Legend

Because they were believed to have come from the treasure chests of mermaids and its connection to water, it makes sense that sailors used them as a protective amulet while they were on the high seas.

Another belief that connects this gemstone to water is that when soaked in water, its healing properties leach out into the water. Drinking it is believed to heal the eyes and stop tics like hiccups. Wearing the stone may also improve mental acuity, increase motivation and boost bravery. It is also believed to create harmony in marriage because it instills feelings of trust and friendship.

Aquamarine Jewelry: How to care for them

Because it is a member of the beryl family, that makes it a relative of the emerald and its rank is a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. However, unlike its green sister, it is easy to find a clean inclusion-free and transparent aquamarine pendant. This makes it more durable because the inclusions weaken the integrity of the stone. It can still be chipped or cracked, so donít be too rough on the pieces especially an aquamarine bracelet or ring. These pieces are more open to being knocked around. They can be worn every day and should be, just donít wear pieces when doing hard manual labor.

As for cleaning, soak pieces in warm water with a gentle soap and scrub with a soft brush to clean the setting. Because many stones have been heat-treated to remove green undertones and to enhance the blue shades, avoid the extreme temperatures that are used in ultrasonic and steam cleaners.

Because of the pale to bright blue shades, a silver or platinum setting brings out the coolness of the pastel blue shades and brightness. Gold warms it up and adds a deep richness to the stone. It really looks great in any setting and in all types of jewelry. In a teardrop shape, it looks like a drop of rain. A faceted round cut is like a refreshing pool. Whatever shape and whether it is an aquamarine earring or a bold pendant, this stone can brighten any outfit- casual or elegant.