Aquamarine: The Sea’s Gemstone
Aquamarine, with its ethereal shade of blue, has long captivated the hearts of gem enthusiasts and jewelry lovers alike. Its name, evoking images of pristine waters and vast seas, perfectly encapsulates the gem’s essence. The allure of aquamarine lies not just in its serene hue, but also in the depth and clarity it often exhibits, reminiscent of a tranquil ocean on a clear day. Whether set in a delicate pendant or a statement ring, aquamarine’s timeless beauty ensures its place as a cherished gemstone across generations.
Aquamarine, the birthstone of March, derives its name from the Latin “aqua marina,” which translates to “water of the sea.” This is a nod to its serene blue hue reminiscent of the ocean. A member of the beryl family, aquamarine’s color spectrum ranges from pale green to blue, with its hue attributed to trace iron impurities within the beryl composition.
While aquamarine naturally exhibits a light color tone, some stones possess a yellow-green tint. To achieve the coveted pure blue shade, these gems undergo heat treatment. The deeper and purer the blue, the more valuable and sought-after the aquamarine becomes.
Beryl primarily forms in silica-rich granites and granite pegmatites, often accompanying minerals like quartz, feldspars, and muscovite. Within these pegmatites, beryl can manifest as aquamarine, heliodor, or morganite. Additionally, beryl can emerge in mica schists from metamorphic-hydrothermal deposits, resulting from the chemical interplay between pegmatites and neighboring basic rocks.
Brazil stands as the primary source of aquamarine. However, significant deposits are also located in Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the United States.
Properties and Enhancements
With a hardness rating of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, aquamarine is a durable choice for various jewelry pieces. As mentioned, heat treatment is employed to eliminate any yellow-green undertones, presenting a more pristine blue.
Lab-Created and Simulants
While lab-created aquamarines exist, they tend to be pricier than many other synthetic versions of natural gems. An alternative to genuine aquamarine is the lab-created spinel, which boasts a pale blue hue closely resembling aquamarine. Other simulants include blue cubic zirconia and various blue-tinted glass materials.