Have you ever looked at the deep blue sea and wondered how beautiful it is? Has the colour of deep waters ever enchanted you? Here’s good news for you. You can wear the refreshing blue colour of the shimmering sea in the form of finely crafted jewellery. All you need is a gemstone called aquamarine. In fact, aquamarine rings, earrings, pendants, bangles, and bracelets are trending these days among jewellery enthusiasts.
Here, we offer you a comprehensive guide to this beautiful gem. Read on to learn more about its features, history, types, and buying and caring tips.
The name of the stone doesn’t need any explanation. Aqua and marine, you get it, don’t you? This semi-precious stone belongs to the beryl family of gemstones. This is the same family which emeralds also belong to. So, aquamarines are the semi-precious cousin of the precious gemstone.
And the best part?
It’s colour! The colour of this stone is usually a pale greenish blue, owing to the presence of iron impurities. Stones that are treated with heat look more blue than green. On the Mohs scale of hardness, aquamarine ranges between 7.5 and 8 making it a relatively hard gemstone. Raw aquamarine crystals are often large and hence ideally suited to statement jewellery.
History of Aquamarines
The aquamarine stone gets its name from the Latin phrase Aqua Marinus. In English, this means sea water. Given the pastel blue colour of this stone, it is easy to see how it got its name. The first documented discovery of aquamarine mines was in the early 1700s in Siberia. However, this stone was popular even during the Roman Empire. They believed that aquamarine stones carved with a frog could reconcile enemies. They were also popular wedding gifts for brides and talismans for sailors.
There are many famous pieces of jewellery with aquamarine stones. One such piece is Queen Elizabeth’s Brazilian Tiara. Like the sea, aquamarine stones are believed to have a calming and soothing effect. Brazil is known as the aquamarine capital of the world. Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria also have considerable aquamarine deposits.
Birthstones and Anniversaries
Aquamarines are the birthstone for March and associated with the zodiac sign Pisces. They are also deemed symbolic of nineteen years of a couple’s marriage. Indian Vedic astrology associates these stones with Throat Chakra. Aquamarine earrings, rings, and pendants with this stone are used to balance the said chakra.
Types of Aquamarines
There are natural and synthetic varieties of aquamarines. Natural ones are pale in colour. Synthetic stones, however, have a deep blue colour with impurities. Synthetic versions are created in a controlled setting using a hydrothermal process. They have the same chemical and physical properties as of a natural one. Yet, they offer you a cost-effective option if you are looking to buy these blue beauties without spending a fortune.
How to Identify Real Aquamarine Stones?
Aquamarine stones are easily available, but they do still command a price. If you are not careful, you may buy a synthetic or fake one. Hence, it is important to be able to identify a real natural aquamarine. Here are a few tips to help you.
The best way to identify a real aquamarine stone is by looking at its colour. In its natural form, they have a pale blue colour, which is similar to seawater. They may have a slight green or yellow tint as well. Naturally occurring gems have excellent clarity and transparency.
The hardness of the stone is another feature you can use to identify the stone. Aquamarine stones are hard and they don’t get scratches easily. However, they can easily scratch glass and other such surfaces. So, if you find visible scratches on the stone, rethink your decision to buy it.
Coloured glass is of the common materials used in place of aquamarines. There are three main differences to look for in such cases. Glass is warm to touch while aquamarine is usually cool. If the stone has bubbles, it is probably glass. The colour of a real aquamarine depends on the angle it is viewed from. Therefore, at one angle it may look very pale while from another it may display a deeper blue. Glass will have the same colour no matter what angle it is viewed from.
How to Buy Aquamarine Jewellery?
Like all other gemstones, the value of aquamarines is determined by its colour, cut, clarity, and carat. Whether you are buying gold rings or bangles or pendants studded with these blue beauties, here are the four factors you should take into consideration:
Colour: The colour of this stone may range from blue to green-blue. Light greenish blue aquamarines are the most easily found. On the other hand an intense blue is rare. Thus, the deeper the colour, the more valuable the stone will be.
Cut: Aquamarine stones can be cut in almost any shape. However, the round, oval and emerald cuts are the most popular ones. They can also be cut into ornamental forms. The size and the shape are not the only factors that jewellers consider when they cut aquamarines. Being a pleochroic stone, the colour of it greatly depends on the angle and light it is viewed under. Thus, the crystal must be cut in such a way that the table facet has the deepest blue. So, when you buy an aquamarine ring or pendant, look for one with deep cuts like the emerald cut.
Clarity: Most faceted aquamarine stones are clean to the eye and clear of any inclusions. However, translucent and opaque aquamarine is also available. These are usually fashioned into cabochons or beads. In some cases, inclusions may appear as parallel tubes. Such stones can be crafted to show a cat’s eye. Stones with cat’s eye and star effect are rare and highly priced.
Carat: Carat refers to the weight of the stone. It is quite common and easy to find large aquamarines. As a result, the price of the stone doesn’t incrementally increase carat. A stone weighing several carats and a stone weighing just a few carats may be of the same price if their quality remains the same. Hence, a large aquamarine need not be very expensive.
How to You Look After Your Aquamarine Jewellery?
When you own something as beautiful as aquamarine, it is important that you look after them properly. Here are a few tips for you.
Aquamarine is a hard gemstone and cannot be scratched easily. However, it can easily scratch other gemstones. So, don’t store it with other jewels where they can rub against each other. Instead, you can invest in a fabric-lined box with individual slots for each piece of jewellery.
Aquamarine stones are not affected by exposure to light. However, heat can alter the colour of the stone. So keep them away from heat.
They can also be damaged by certain types of acid. Hence, it is best to avoid wearing aquamarine bangles and rings while you clean the house.
Warm soapy water is the best cleansing agent for aquamarine gemstones. You can then brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any accumulated dirt.
One look at these blue beauties is enough to make you feel refreshed. Buy them. Wear them. And turn a few heads!