By: Diane Nicole Go, GIA Graduate Gemologist
If you love the calming color of crystal-clear blue waters on a clear summer day, an Aquamarine is your best bet.
Aquamarine is the embodiment of all things water—a connection to the sea and to the heavens— that comes in soothing shades of blue and greenish blue. This gem is the birthstone for March babies and can even be given to couples celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary. It was once believed to be the treasure of mermaids and was used as a talisman by sailors for good luck.
You can even give Aquamarine jewelry as gifts to protect the wearer on voyages across the sea, protect those who live near water. This meditative stone can help the wearer open up, communicate better, and be more trusting, as it inspires truth, trust and happiness.
The name Aquamarine comes from the Latin word “aqua marinus”— seawater— in reference to its pale blue color. Because of its color and association to the sea, the Greeks and Romans consider it as a “Sailor’s Stone” that would ensure a safe and prosperous passage across stormy seas.
Many myths and legends surround this stone, with the Romans believing that it can reconcile enemies when a figure of a frog was carved on an Aquamarine. Some even claim that it can join a couple in love or even rekindle a romance, hence why Roman brides would often give it to her groom after marriage. Sumerians, Egyptians and Hebrews consider Aquamarine as a stone of happiness and everlasting youth, while the Christians associate it with the apostle St. Thomas because he journeyed far and wide to preach about salvation, which was an apt description for the blue stone.
History has shown that Aquamarine was in great demand, especially across Europe, because it was believed to be an antidote for poison. All you had to do was wear it as a pendant or ring, and it would still work the same way.
During the Middle Ages, Aquamarine was considered as a popular and effective oracle crystal, as it was believed to have ties to the seas and heavens. It was often used for fortune telling or as a divining tool, where a stone was hung by a thread over a bowl of water that contained letters of the alphabet. The diviner would then swing it like a pendulum until the stone hit certain letters to spell out an answer—much like a Ouija Board.
Aquamarine made its presence in the battlefield as well, where it was believed to bring victory in battles and disputes and was even used in ceremonies to summon rain or bring drought to enemies. This gem of vitality was credited as a healing stone that could relieve pain, cure ailments and cure laziness. With all these uses and more, Aquamarine is a versatile stone that has made its mark in history.
Aquamarine is the blue variant of the Beryl family— a group of minerals made of beryllium, aluminum and some silicates. When pure, Beryl is colorless and classified as Goshenite. Trace elements give color to this stone, and iron is what gives Aquamarine its ocean-like hue.
Aquamarine comes in a narrow range of colors, from pale blue to light blue-green and even come with a green or bluish green tint to it. The most valued aquamarines come in a rich sky-blue hue. Although some people prefer the natural seafoam hues of Aquamarine, many stones have been heat-treated to remove the tinges of yellow and green to achieve a pure pastel blue. These heat treatments are usually undetected.
Aquamarine has a ranking of 7.5 to 8 in the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making it perfect for everyday wear. Aquamarine has a glass-like, vitreous luster as well.
They are often found in Brazil, with crystals weighing as much as several kilos, since Aquamarine can come in large sizes. You can also find Aquamarine in many places: The Soviet Union, Madagascar, Pakistan, the United States, Afghanistan, India and even in Nigeria.
Synthetic versions of Aquamarine can be created in the lab, and you can only tell it apart from a natural stone by sending it to the lab for testing. It comes in a wide price range, from affordable beads for everyday wear to more expensive faceted stones that grace the center of rings or pendants in necklaces and more. It is a versatile stone that is easy to cut, so you may often see it in innovative shapes and designs, as cutters love experimenting with new forms.
Some Aquamarines may even exhibit a cat’s eye—a long line in the center of a cabochon—or even a star that can appear when certain tubular patterns are aligned just right. These kinds of phenomenal Aquamarines command high prices in the market.
An even rarer variant called the Maxixe—often known as Blue Beryl— exists, but it isn’t sold in the market because its color is so volatile. It comes in a rich dark blue color, much like sapphire, but this can fade right away to a brownish yellow color when exposed to daylight.
Aquamarine is a cooling stone that cleanses emotions and encourages communication. By doing so, you improve your relationships and open yourself to love and compassion. It also aids in balancing excessive anger and fear and washes away lingering trauma and emotional pains. It even subdues aggression and helps you calm down. Aquamarine is a good stone to carry as a source of protection from manipulative and overly judgmental people.
Aquamarine is linked to the Throat Chakra, which encourages you to express your inner thoughts and feelings. It is a source of empowerment that strengthens and gives you courage to speak out and communicate your feelings properly. Being a meditative stone, Aquamarine also allows you to get in touch with your intuitive side, which will in turn allow you to understand yourself more.
References for Healing Properties