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Aquamarine Gemstone Guide - ocean blue jewels

Aquamarine: The Beautiful Ocean Gemstone

Aquamarine, this precious stone, with its enchanting blue and blue-green hues, has captured the hearts of jewelry enthusiasts and gemstone connoisseurs alike. From the royal adornments of the past to the contemporary red carpet glam, discover why aquamarine continues to be a symbol of serenity, sophistication, and timeless elegance.

Aquamarine Overview

The term "aquamarine" finds its roots in Latin, with its name derived from the combination of two Latin words: "aqua," meaning water, and "marina," meaning of the sea. The name aptly reflects the serene and tranquil qualities associated with aquamarine. As a member of the beryl mineral family, aquamarine has a captivating color spectrum, ranging from pale sky blue to deeper aquatic tones.

Aquamarine Birthstone

Aquamarine holds the honor of being the birthstone for the month of March. Its association with the beginning of spring and its calming color make it a popular choice for jewellery gifted during this month, often representing renewal and vitality. This association with water aligns with the symbolism of March, a time when winter begins to recede, and water plays a significant role in the natural cycle of rebirth and growth.

Aquamarine Hardness

With a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the MOHs scale, aquamarine is a relatively durable gemstone, making it suitable for various types of jewelry, including rings and bracelets. This durability, combined with its captivating color, contributes to its popularity in both traditional and contemporary jewelry designs.

Aquamarine History

Aquamarine holds a rich history, dating back to ancient times. Aquamarine was cherished by civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans because of its beautiful and enchanting hues. These ancient cultures believed in the protective and calming qualities of the gemstone, associating it with various deities and using it in amulets and talismans to ensure safe travels and a harmonious life. Sailors believed that wearing aquamarine would bring good luck, protect against sea dangers, and ensure a safe journey. The gemstone's presence in royal collections and burial sites attests to its status as a symbol of power, protection, and eternal youth. Aquamarine continued to captivate throughout the Middle Ages, where it was often set in religious jewelry and worn by clergy for its perceived spiritual benefits. Throughout history, aquamarine has been linked to various maritime myths and legends. 

Aquamarine Origins

One of the most famous aquamarine mines is Santa Maria de Itabira, located in Minas Gerais in Brazil, which is known for its deep blue aquamarines and has been almost exhausted due to the mass aquamarines that have been originated from there. It can also be found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique. Aquamarines from Madagascar are highly regarded for their delicate blue to blue-green hues. Mines in the Ambatondrazaka and Ilakaka regions produce notable specimens.The Shigar Valley in Pakistan is recognized for producing aquamarines with intense blue coloration. The gemstones from this region are valued for their clarity and size. Mozambique has emerged as a significant source of aquamarine, with deposits in the Alto Ligonha region. The gemstones from this area often display a range of blue and greenish-blue tones.The Urals region in Russia has historically been a source of aquamarine. The gemstones from this region often have a distinct greenish-blue color.

Aquamarine Types

Santa Maria Aquamarine (Brazil)

Renowned for its deep blue and intense color saturation, Santa Maria aquamarine from Brazil is highly sought after. Named after the Santa Maria de Itabira mine, this type of aquamarine often displays a mesmerizing blue hue with a hint of green. Its exceptional clarity and vibrant color make it a prized gemstone for high-quality jewelry.

Santa Maria Aquamarine

Maxixe Aquamarine (Brazil)

Unique to Brazil, the Maxixe aquamarine is known for its rare deep-blue coloration. Unlike traditional aquamarines, Maxixe aquamarines can transform from a pale blue to a vibrant blue under exposure to sunlight. This phenomenon is attributed to the presence of trace amounts of manganese in the crystal structure.

Maxixe Aquamarine

Espirito Santo Aquamarine (Brazil)

Mined in the Espirito Santo region of Brazil, this type of aquamarine often exhibits a range of blue and green tones. Espirito Santo aquamarines are valued for their clarity and large crystal formations. The stones from this region can be cut into various shapes, allowing for versatile and creative jewelry designs.

Espirito Santo Aquamarine

Nigerian Aquamarine

Aquamarines from Nigeria are celebrated for their striking blue and greenish-blue hues. The gems from the Mursinka and Jos Plateau mines in Nigeria are particularly noteworthy. Nigerian aquamarines are admired for their clarity, brilliance, and unique color variations, making them a popular choice in the gemstone market.

Nigerian Aquamarine

Madagascar Aquamarine

Madagascar produces aquamarines with a delicate blue to blue-green color range. These gemstones often have excellent clarity and are commonly found in large crystal formations. Madagascar aquamarines are favored for their elegant and tranquil appearance, making them suitable for a wide range of jewelry styles.

Madagascar Aquamarine

Famous Aquamarines

The Roosevelt Aquamarine was gifted in 1936 to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt by the Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas. It is currently second largest cut aquamarine in history with 1,298 ct. It is housed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum.

Queen Elizabeth II's Aquamarine Parure has been a popular piece of jewellery because of its beauty and allure. In 1953, Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas gifted the Queen with an Aquamarine necklace and matching pendant earrings. In 1957, she requested a tiara be made by Garrard and Co. and more aquamarines were added after. In 1958, the President gifted her a bracelet and a brooch to add to the parure. Lastly, in 1968 she was gifted hair ornaments to complete the parure. She wore the parure in many occasion throughout her reign and has become a popular piece. 

Celebrities Wearing Aquamarine Jewellery

In October 1996, Princess Diana graced a fundraising gala in Sydney, Australia, adorned with a stunning cocktail ring featuring a captivating aquamarine, gifted by Lucia Flecha de Lima. The exquisite piece, complemented by Princess Diana's radiant blue dress, effortlessly became a standout in her wardrobe. She frequently chose to embellish her ensembles with this remarkable ring for various other events which led to it being a favorite in her collection. The aquamarine ring is still very present after her death, now in posession of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. She wore the stunning ring on her wedding day and has been seen wearing it frequently. 

At the 2014 Oscars, Jessica Biel made a memorable and stylish entrance, wearing exquisite aquamarine jewelry from the renowned Tiffany & Co. The actress wore breathtaking aquamarine and diamond necklace, paired elegantly with matching aquamarine drop earrings. The stunning pieces from Tiffany & Co. not only complemented Jessica Biel's radiant beauty but also added a touch of sophistication to her red carpet ensemble. 

Aquamarine at Augustine Jewels

Amethyst and Aquamarine Drop Earrings

Green Amethyst & Aquamarine Drop Earrings, Silver £250, 9ct White Gold £450, Como Collection

Aquamarine Necklace

Aquamarine Necklace, £650, Arctic Collection

Aquamarine & Diamond Stud Earrings

Birthstone Diamond Halo Earrings, £650

Bespoke Aquamarine at Augustine Jewels

Aquamarine Morganite Ring

Aquamarine and Morganite Ring, Bespoke

Aquamarine Pearl Necklace

Aquamarine and Pearl Choker, Bespoke 

Aquamarine and Diamond Baguette Ring, 18ct White Gold

18 ct White Gold Aquamarine and Diamond Baguette Ring, Bespoke

Top 5 facts about Aquamarine

  1. Variety of Beryl: Alongside emerald, heliodor, morganite, and others, aquamarine is a member of the beryl mineral family. Its colour results from trace amounts of iron within the crystal structure, influencing the gem's shades, which can range from pale sky blue to deeper, more intense hues.

  2. Large Crystal Formations: Aquamarine crystals can grow to impressive sizes, with some specimens reaching several feet in length. These large crystals are often cut into smaller gemstones, but some are kept intact for their aesthetic appeal, displayed in mineral collections and museums.

  3. Heat Treatment: While aquamarines are typically found in nature with beautiful colours, some stones may undergo gentle heat treatment to enhance or remove certain colour components. This treatment is accepted in the gemstone industry, and it helps bring out the best possible colour in the stone.

  4. Astrological Connections: Aquamarine is associated with the astrological sign of Pisces. It is believed to bring positive energy to individuals born under this sign, fostering creativity, intuition, and a sense of peace.

  5. Faceting Styles: Aquamarines are commonly cut into various shapes, including emerald cuts, ovals, rounds, and pear shapes. The gemstone's transparency and lack of pleochroism (the ability to show different colours from different angles) make it well-suited for a variety of faceting styles.

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