Known as the March birthstone, the aquamarine gemstone is used even today in spiritual and healing rituals.
March birthdays or sixteenth and nineteenth wedding anniversaries are often times commemorated by the giving of an aquamarine gemstone, either in pendant or ring form.
The aquamarine gem is a member of the beryl family. The beryl gems include the emerald, morganite and the heliodor. The gemstones of the beryl family crystallize within large grained igneous rocks on the earth’s crust. The largest deposits are found in Brazil, however, they are also found in other places too, such as China, India, Australia, Africa, the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia, making the gemstone an easily obtainable gift.
The name aquamarine comes from the word “aqua”, meaning water and “mare”, meaning sea. With the beautiful pale blue coloring of this stone, reminding one of the deep blue seas, it is easy to see why it received the name.
The most prized of these stones falls into the coloring category of the deepest blue or aqua color. These stones are colored by the trace amounts of iron in them and range from blue-green to light sky blue in a natural setting. The aquamarine gem often contains green, which is normally heat-treated to remove the lesser of the desirable colors.
The majority of aquamarine gemstones are flawless – unlike other gemstones. Some of these stones are heated to remove the color, some are heated to change the touches of blue-green or teal to the rich, pure blue most are seen to have. The heating process creates a permanent color change.
One particular vivid blue type of aquamarine stone is called the Santa Maria. The title originates from Brazil’s Santa Maria de Itabria Mine in which they come from. When purchasing an aquamarine stone, buyers should beware of the term Brazilian Aquamarine. Often times, these stones sold under this name are made with blue topaz instead of keeping with the high quality of the pure aquamarine gem. Siam Aquamarine is another name that falsely indicates a true stone, however it is normally a blue zircon that has been heat-treated to intensify the color.
Aquamarine gemstones fall in the 7.5 to 8 point range on the Mohs scale for hardness levels, compared to the diamond, which is a 10. The American Association of Jewelers adopted it in 1912 for the modern gemstone of the March birthstone.
On today’s market, the aquamarine gemstones are usually faceted. When cut as cabochon, they may display a cat’s eye effect, which is known as asterism. This stone is mentioned in the bible and is still today used in terms of spiritual rituals or healing practices.
Egyptians, Romans and Greeks believed that the stone evoked water spirits, insuring a safe journey via ship. Sailors relied on the stone to reduce seasickness and the idea that it would keep them safe.
In ancient times, it was thought to be most powerful when immersed in water. The stone was said to leave healing powers behind in the water. The water could then be used for medical purposes. Beliefs that it could assist in the healing of illnesses of the heart, liver, stomach, mouth, throat and could also reverse the effects of poisoning, made this one of the most desired gemstones available.
Even today, the stone is thought to have abilities to produce foresight, courage and happiness, with an increase of intelligence brought to the owner. Youthful looks and feelings are also attributed to the aquamarine stone. Many of those that use the stone to help heal ailments, find it is helpful in the healing of anxiety troubles, and have claimed a soothing, calming effect from the stone. The aquamarine has also been noted to be one of the stones to assist in sleeping well and curing eye trouble.