As we near the end of March, the days are getting a little longer and a little warmer, and we can be sure that spring is on the way. The birthstone for this month, aquamarine, is perfectly suited for the Austin jewelry transition from winter to spring. Read on to learn more about this beautiful gemstone!
Aquamarines are blue stones, usually ranging in hue from very pale, light blue to bright blue-green. Some aquamarines have a very deep blue color, and these are very valuable, especially because larger stones are more likely to have intense shades. This gemstone’s name is spot-on, coming from the Latin words “aqua,” which means “water,” and “mare” or “marina,” which mean “sea.” Like emerald, aquamarine is a form of the mineral beryl. It grows in rock seams in six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making this stone ideal for statement jewelry that features large gems. Aquamarine is sometimes called “the poor man’s diamond,” because it is a rather hard stone that can be cut similarly to how diamonds can be cut. Imperfections in aquamarines are relatively rare.
Aquamarines are mined around the world, including in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Mozambique, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Colombia. They are most abundant, however, in Brazil – a 240-pound aquamarine was once found there! Historically, aquamarines were associated with the Greek and Roman gods Poseidon and Neptune and were thought to make sailors’ voyages prosperous and safe. The Romans also believed that carving a frog into a piece of aquamarine would help one make new friends or reconcile with an enemy. The ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, and Hebrews wore the stone into battle to ensure victory.
During the Middle Ages, it was believed that simply wearing an aquamarine would protect one from poisoning. Soothsayers were said to draw their power from this stone, which they called “the magic mirror.” It has been thought to cure ailments of the stomach, liver, throat, jaws, and especially the eyes. Roman emperor Nero supposedly used a piece of aquamarine as an eyeglass, and later, the Germans used clear or nearly colorless aquamarines to make eyeglasses – today, the German word for “eyeglasses” is “brille,” which derives from “beryl.” Even today, aquamarines are associated with youth, hope, fidelity, and health, and they’re said to improve mental health and promote tranquility.
Aquamarine is a wonderful stone for jewelry, because its color contains little to no yellow, making it complementary to every skin tone and a great addition to any Austin jewelry setting. Like diamonds, these stones are evaluated by the four Cs: color, clarity, carat, and cut. The cut of an aquamarine is particularly important, as it can influence the depth or shade of color in the finished gemstone. (Note that deep blue aquamarines are sometimes faked by heating yellow beryl to change the color. If the monetary value of your stone is important to you, be sure to avoid these fakes!) As we mentioned above, more intensely colored aquamarines are often considered more valuable, but if you prefer to wear paler colors, then by all means, go with what you like best.
Aquamarine makes for beautiful jewelry any time of year, but it’s especially appropriate to celebrate a March birthday. If you’re in the market for this lovely blue stone, visit the Copeland Jewelers website or our store today! And remember, we are your number-one source for custom jewelry in Austin, and we’d love to help you create a fabulously unique aquamarine setting!