Aquamarine, the birthstone for March, gets its name from the Latin roots "aqua" meaning water and "marinus" meaning sea. Like the sea itself, aquamarine is found in a range of colors from pale blues to deep bluish-greens.
This beautiful stone is considered to be a calming stone. Aquamarine has an energizing quality that is said to bring peace, love, joy, and happiness to those who wear it. Wearing earrings of aquamarine is thought to bring love and affection to your life. It is also believed to help bring harmony and balance.
Legend refers to aquamarine as the treasure of Atlantis. In ancient Roman times, it was believed that the god Neptune acquired aquamarine when it fell out of the mermaid's jewel box and washed up on shore. These beliefs led to sailors using aquamarine as a talisman to protect them from drowning when they were out at sea. They believed that Neptune wouldn't want those beautiful stones to disappear back into the sea! Aquamarine is still said to be a good luck stone, and is believed to offer protection to those at sea. It is even popular to give aquamarine as a gift to ocean travelers.
During the middles ages, aquamarine was believed to hold powers of revelation. It was common for it to be carved into gazing balls for fortune tellers. People would also use an aquamarine crystal connected to a string suspended above water to divine messages as the stone touched letters that were carved around the rim of a bowl or as it touched and rippled the water's surface.
Other ancient civilizations such as Greeks, Egyptians and Hebrews also believed that by wearing aquamarine it would awaken a sense of clairvoyance. They also believed it would aid in healing infections, particularly of the eye.
Not only is Aquamarine the birthstone for the month of March, it is also considered the gem for the 19th wedding anniversary. Some believe that it can strengthen the happiness of marriages.
Aquamarine is part of the beryl family--a relatively rare silicate mineral found in igneous and metamorphic rocks around the world. Aquamarine is considered a sister to emerald.
The natural blue and green colors of aquamarine come from the amount of ferrous iron and metallic ions present in the stone. Aquamarine occurs naturally as a pale bluish-green color. It can be heat treated to remove yellow tones and brighten the blue hues.
Aquamarine is a semi-precious stone that is softer than a diamond, but is still a relatively hard stone. It is durable, and measures from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
Brazil is the top producing country of Aquamarine gemstones. They are also found in Pakistan, Madagascar, Zambia, Nigeria, Russia, and even in the United States. The most brilliant blue varieties come from Brazil.
The largest gem quality aquamarine ever mined was found in Marambia, Brazil and weighed over 244 pounds, was 19 inches long and 16.5 inches in diameter!
Evidence indicates that aquamarine has been used as decorative jewelry dating back as far as BC 500!
It is always safe to clean aquamarine with warm soapy water. It is usually safe to clean it by ultrasonic and steam cleaning methods. However, if the stone has liquid inclusions or fractures, cleaning with warm soapy water is best.
These stones can be prone to smudge marks and increased dullness, but with regular care, your aquamarine jewelry can stay shiny and new for as long as you have it.
Start by preparing a bowl of warm water. Mix in a small amount of mild dish soap. Let your aquamarine jewelry soak in the warm soapy water for about 30 minutes. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently scrub the stone. Be careful to not scrub too hard. Rinse the jewelry with clean water, and carefully wipe dry with a cloth.
Depending on how often you wear your jewelry, you can clean it as often as every few weeks, to only a few times a year. Remember that exposure to sweat, grease and dirt will increase the need for cleaning your jewelry. If you wear your jewelry frequently, you may want to consider taking it to a professional for cleaning once a year.
When you are not wearing your aquamarine jewelry, make sure to store it in a cool dry place in an enclosed space to avoid it collecting dust.