What Is Aquamarine? | Bixler’s Gemstone Guide
Aquamarine is a Latin phrase that translates to “the water of the sea”. The name comes from the color of the water which is aqua for water and mare which is Latin for sea. It is a blue or blue-green gemstone that belongs to the Beryl family and features a chemical composition of Beryllium aluminum silicate. Some legends say that the aquamarine originated under the sea in treasure chests of mermaids and most sailors regarded it as a lucky stone. The gemstones were believed to bring calmness to the ocean and protect sailors and prevent seasickness. To know more about what is aquamarine, Scroll Down!.
The aquamarine is a March’s birthstone that is believed to provide happiness in marriages. When you dreamt about the aquamarine stone, it was said that you will meet new friends and form new alliances. Some cultures referred to the gemstone’s blue appearance as a life-giver because of the blue symbolism with water. Legends also said that if the food was poisoned, the aquamarine would magically overawe the poison’s effects.
What Color Is Aquamarine?
Unlike other valuable gemstones, the aquamarine’s color is quite narrow. It is available in either pale pastel, blue, greenish-blue, medium greenish-blue, or deep green-blue. However, the most valuable color of this gemstone is the pure and intense blue color. Most aquamarines are found in the lighter green-blue color. Aquamarines are available in a range of blue shades. The reason for the color variation is when the chemical composition is contaminated with iron impurities. This causes a change in its proportion and hence the different hues. Those who fancy the gemstone prefer the natural greenish-blue color of an aquamarine.
A pure blue gem is extremely rare and valuable. When the gem is heat-treated, it achieves a deep blue color that is rare. African mines including Madagascar, Nigeria, and Mozambique, are known to produce small yet well-saturated aquamarines. Generally, the deeper the color of a gem is, the pricier it is. The pale blue to blue-green colors of aquamarine tend to fade when exposed to light for too long. Since it features exceptional clarity and transparency, the aquamarine gemstone produces a lustrous sparkle under natural and artificial light.
What Does Aquamarine Look Like?
Aquamarines form from beryl crystals and in turn, they are found in different shapes and habits. Just like the emerald and the morganite, it features a durable design that makes it suitable for all types of jewelry. It is created in the igneous rocks to form transparent and flawless crystals. As a perfect creation, aquamarines present six-sided hexagon habit and each piece are in prismatic crystal.
It can also feature tubular crystals with compressed hexagonal plates. The beryl crystals feature a flat base that eliminates the pyramidal structure. It can also appear as columnar aggregates or as one-sided scratched crystals. The druzy and platy aggregates show thin and long bundles of crystals whereby the length may have linear marks. It features a transparent to a translucent appearance in the crystal habits making it an attractive gemstone. It features transparent or metallic inclusions and the long and hollow tubes identify this gemstone to be in the beryl family. The metal inclusions include hematite, biotite, ilmenite, pyrite, phlogopite, and rutile all in skeletal crystals.
Is an Aquamarine a Precious Stone?
Aquamarine is a gemstone that undergoes various processes to achieve a perfect and fashioned appearance. However, gemstones have two distinct categories which include precious and semi-precious stones depending on the evaluation. This evaluation was used in medieval times but today it is somehow different. A gemstone is considered precious depending on the quality, intermittence, and origin. It is a semi-precious gemstone and is a variety of beryl and so is emerald but the latter is considered precious. This attribute doesn’t make it less valuable as it depends on the rarity and quality of the gemstone. Some semi-precious gemstones are hard to find thus making them more valuable than other precious stones. The rarity of the semi-precious stones is because they are quite difficult to mine and form in smaller qualities compared to the precious gems.
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Where Are Aquamarine Stones Found?
Aquamarine grows in various locations that is why it comes in different blue hues. It is formed in a pegmatite that bears granite and also in hydrothermal carbonate dispositions and greisens. With a hardness level of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness aquamarine also forms in alluvial deposits. The vast majority of these come from Brazil. In 1910, Brazil mined the largest aquamarine at a place called Marambaia/ Minas Gerais. Also in Brazil, you will find large, clear and perfectly crystalized aquamarines in Bahia, and Espirito Santo. In Rio de Janeiro, aquamarine forms in granite veins that penetrate gneiss. Brazil is widely known for producing beautiful aquamarine.
Other areas where these come from including Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Central Madagascar, and Pakistan. Important and beautiful deposits are also found in some parts of the Ural Mountains in Russia (Mursinka and Shaitanka), Siberia, Tanzania, Zambia, Sri Lanka, India, Colombia, and Colorado. Mozambique produces a rare aquamarine that has an intense blue color. In Madagascar, the aquamarine gemstone is mined in large numbers. The aquamarine found in Pakistan originates from high elevations. Some traces of aquamarine have been discovered in some parts of Vietnam.
Can Aquamarine Break?
Aquamarine has 7.5 to 8 hardness on the Mohs scale which means, the gemstone is quite hard and durable. All gemstones, when handled with extreme care, remain with you for the longest time without getting a single scratch. However, the harsh treatment of aquamarine can break it. You shouldn’t expose it to too much heat and light since it can alter the color. When it comes in contact with hydrofluoric acid, the gemstone loses its stability and disintegrates. Since these may be full of fractures, it is important to observe extra care when cleaning it. Moreover, Ultrasonic cleaning or steam cleaners may cause it to break unless it includes liquid inclusions or fissures. Thus, the most suitable method of cleaning the gemstone is using warm and soapy water.
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