Aquamarine is one of the Beryl family of minerals, generally the second most valuable after Emerald. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and used as the anniversary gemstone for the 19th year.
The name Aquamarine comes from Latin “aqua” for water and “mare” for the sea, seawater perfectly describes the stone’s pale greenish blue colour. Aside from the colour, or possibly because of it, Aquamarine has other associations with the sea, said to calm stormy waters and protect sailors, an ideal gift for the water lover in your life. It also is supposed to enhance happiness in marriage, so perfect for that something blue on a wedding day.
Aquamarine ranges from a very pale greenish blue, through to a saturated sky blue colour, usually the colour is distributed evenly throughout the stone, however Aquamarine displays an optical effect called dichroism where it appears two different colours depending on the direction you view it in, the two colours are colourless and blue or greenish blue, fortunately the desirable blue colour also coincides with the direction in the natural crystal that yields the biggest stones.
Aquamarine used in jewellery is usually without inclusions visible to the naked eye, but some stones can show interesting inclusions that look like rain falling from the sky, and liquid filled inclusions. If the stones are more heavily included they are often used for beads or carvings, and occasionally inclusions can be worked into the gemstone design in abstract pieces. If there are abundant needle or tube inclusions in an Aquamarine and it is cut as a cabochon with the inclusions aligned correctly it can show the optical effect known as chatoyancy or cat’s eye, where a band of reflected light moves across the stone. The best quality Aquamarine is a saturated true blue colour with no hint of green and free from inclusions.
Aquamarine is common in very large sizes, which makes it ideal as a centre stone for rings and pendants and can be more affordable for bigger jewellery than other stones. Similar in colour to some blue Topaz, Aquamarine when compared like for like with Topaz is considerably more valuable. Prices in Aquamarine can range from a few pounds per carat for smaller cabochons up to a few thousand pounds per carat for the highest quality. Whilst not an ideal stone to be worn in a ring every day, it will eventually start to wear on facet edges or the dome of a cabochon, it is durable enough to be worn regularly, and with care can last a lifetime. It should be stored so it cannot be scratched by or scratch other items and cleaned with warm water with a little gentle detergent or soap.Aquamarine is rarely untreated, modern stones are usually heated treated to improve the colour by removing the green element. The heat treatment is a permanent stable treatment that add to the beauty of the stone and make them more appealing and improve affordability. Unless otherwise stated all our Aquamarine, as with the majority on sale in the UK, will be enhanced in this way. Other treatments, such as coating, dying or impregnation are rare in Aquamarine.