Aquamarine, the March birthstone, is a bluish-green stone that gets its name from aqua marinus, the Latin for “seawater”.
This is in reference to the tranquil blue color of the gemstone, which has made it a favorite gem among celebrities, royalty and everyone in between.
The natural deep blue-tinted aquamarines are the rarest and most highly prized.
Chemically, aquamarine is a type of beryl, the same mineral group as morganite and emerald, and is characterized by expansive six-sided crystals that can grow to be as long as a foot. This makes aquamarine an ideal gemstone for producing large carat pieces that, when faceted or polished, make exceptional statements.
Another significant aspect of aquamarine that makes it so valuable is that it is often eye clean (visually flawless), given that there are rarely inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye, and it has fewer fractures than emerald. Moreover, aquamarines are very durable gemstones and can be cut into various shapes – some that perfectly mimic diamond – to suit every style and use of jewelry.
What is the color of aquamarine?
The color of the aquamarine stone ranges from blue to blue-green and can be pale to light-blue, dark-blue, green-blue, or blue-green (aquamarine blue). The bigger stones often have a darker tone, a trait that makes them more valuable; in fact, the more richly-colored the aquamarine, the higher its value. Conversely, the light blue aquamarines are often used to make inexpensive jewelry.
Aquamarine’s color can usually be improved through heat treatment, which is typically done to remove the green tints from the gemstone, though most aquamarines are, overall, left untreated. Some of the greenish-blue March birthstones on the market today were in fact altered from bluish-green or yellow aquamarine.
Naturally occurring deep blue aquamarine stones are hard to find, which has driven the demand for the gemstone, subsequently increasing its price. To compensate for this scarcity, gemologists occasionally use heat treatment to transform darker shades of aquamarine into more favorable shades of blue.
Etymology, History, and Lore of the March Birthstone
Aquamarine’s name was derived from two Latin words: aqua, which means “water”, and mare, which means “sea”, given that the color of the March birthstone resembles seawater. According to the ancient Romans, the aquamarine gemstones came from the treasure chests of sirens (mythical creatures who lured sailors to their demise), that were carried by the currents from the depths of the summer sea, to be washed up onto the beach, where they were found by lucky prospectors.
The March birthstone was deemed sacred to the Roman god of freshwater and the sea, Neptune. The association made it one of the most sacred gems for sailors who believed that wearing an aquamarine amulet would protect one from sea monsters and other perils. The Romans also believed that sailors undertaking voyages while under the protection of an aquamarine, would likely have a prosperous trip.
Aquamarine’s long-held reputation for protecting sailors from the dangers of the sea has endured into the modern era. During World War II, the US Navy christened one of its patrol yachts the USS Aquamarine, which was most likely an invocation for the protection of the gemstone.
The first people to use the bluish-green gemstone were the ancient Greeks. Aquamarines from between 480 and 300 BC have been found with the engravings of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, riding on a chariot. However, while the Greeks were among the first to record its use, Hebrews, Sumerians, and Egyptians are believed to have had an admiration for aquamarine and would wear it into battle to ensure victory.
For other groups, the meaning of aquamarine was more profound as they used it to symbolize long-lasting love and unity. It was thus used as a gift to brides; one that would not only facilitate long-lasting love but could also reawaken the love when it grew old. Today, aquamarine is considered a gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary; perhaps after nearly 20 years of marriage, it is time to reawaken and renew some things.
Queen Elizabeth of England currently has one of the most well-known aquamarine stones in the world. During her 1953 coronation as queen, she was gifted a beautiful necklace and earrings made of the stone by the then president of Brazil.
It is reported that she so loved the jewelry that she would soon get a matching tiara, brooch, and bracelet to go with her earrings and necklace.
The Brazilian government also gifted Eleanor Roosevelt, the former First Lady of the United States, with a 1,298 carat, rectangular step-cut aquamarine in 1936. The stone had been the larger of two cuts from a roughhewn stone that weighed an impressive 1.3 kilograms. Eleanor Roosevelt’s aquamarine is now part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in New York.
The largest aquamarine in the world is the 4.6 pound, 10,363 carat Dom Pedro Aquamarine Stone that is a star attraction at the Smithsonian Institute.
This aquamarine, which has a height of about 14 inches, was fantasy cut (concave cuts made on the back of gemstones) by Bernd Munsteiner, an innovative German lapidary, and designer who invented this method. It is currently the largest cut aquamarine crystal on the globe.
In the contemporary world, aquamarines have found use as engagement rings. In fact, it has become highly fashionable among millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) to wear aquamarine engagement rings set in rose gold. This makes for a unique combination that allows each element to shine through. Even the likes of Justin Timberlake could not be left behind, as he got two aquamarines for Jessica Biel’s engagement ring.
The biggest source of the March birthstone is Brazil, though you can also find high-quality stones in India, the island of Malagasy, Ural Mountains of Russia, and Colombia. In the United States, the best quality stones are found in North Carolina, Maine, and Colorado. Other sources include Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
What is the spiritual meaning of aquamarine?
Aquamarine evokes images of the sea – a serene and tranquil picture that can bring calm and peace to an owner, thus enhancing intuition and relieving stress. The stone has been associated with fidelity, friendship, health, hope, and youth for centuries.
It is also associated with eternal life since it combines the color of the sky and that of water. In some cultures, the stone was believed to have a soothing effect on marriages and relationships. This is because the stone is said to foster awareness and communication skills. In fact, this is one of the reasons that has made it one of the most popular anniversary gifts.
Healing Properties and Health Benefits of the March Birthstone
Since ancient times, the healing properties of the March birthstone have been acknowledged by healers and philosophers alike. The following are some of the healing properties of aquamarine:
Treatment of Eye Diseases
Damigeron, a healer in the second century BC and author of The Virtue of Stones, asserted that aquamarine is good for healing any damage to the eyes when mixed in water and drunk as a concoction. Pliny the Elder (Roman naturalist and philosopher) also praised the healing properties of the stone for curing serious eye conditions. According to Pliny’s Natural History, all one needed to do to heal eye conditions was wash the eye in water that held aquamarine gemstones. Modern healers also believe the stone is useful in maintaining eye health.
Treating Throat, Jaw and Liver Diseases
The ancient Romans believed that the March birthstone could heal a range of illnesses such as those of the throat, jaw, liver and stomach. Modern healers believe aquamarine can be used to cure conditions of the oral cavity. Moreover, it is associated with the throat chakra (the light blue energy node), as the light blue hue is believed to facilitate and enhance singing and speech. It is also believed that the March birthstone is effective in combating fluid retention issues and dealing with glandular disorders.
Psychological and Mental Healing
Aquamarine is believed to be useful in treating psychological and spiritual disturbances. It is thought to help calm nervous tension, as well as develop inner tranquility, due to its soothing and calming nature. Aquamarine is also effective for meditation, as it helps to quiet the mind and open it up to communication from higher spiritual planes.
The March birthstone invokes a high state of spiritual awareness and consciousness by clearing negative thoughts. It will also correct the misalignment between the physical and spiritual bodies, thus releasing intuitive communication.
Developing Purpose and Drive
According to modern-day healers, aquamarine can be effective in treating chronic procrastination. It is believed that the tranquil colors help one to think clearly and make decisions faster than they would otherwise. Moreover, wearing aquamarine is thought to make you bolder, a trait linked with decisiveness.
During times of intense emotional and physical release, aquamarine helps keep one on their life purpose and path. It does this by promoting psychic and spiritual awareness, thereby bringing about deep healing of the soul. Lastly, it will keep one true to their spiritual and inner selves, and avoid self-polluting, self-destructive behavioral patterns.
What is the durability of the aquamarine?
The concept of gemstone durability is comprised of three factors: hardness (resistance to scratching), toughness (resistance to chipping, cracking and breakage), and stability (resistance to chemicals, high temperatures, and light).
All varieties of beryl (aquamarine’s mineral group) have a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, where 1 (talc) is the softest, and 10 (diamond) is the hardest. Aquamarine’s hardness and toughness (rated as good), make it a highly durable gemstone for all jewelry applications. However, exposure to high heat and intense light can affect aquamarine’s color, and its surfaces can be attacked by hydrofluoric acid, a chemical found in rust removers.
Emerald, the sister stone of aquamarine, is usually oiled to fill fractures and improve color, but aquamarine rarely requires such treatments and it is suitable for all kinds of jewelry, including daily-wear rings. All crystals are susceptible to chips and cracks, and aquamarine is no exception; therefore, always take care to avoid bumps and knocks on hard surfaces.
Cleaning and Caring for Aquamarine
Warm soapy water and a soft brush is always a safe and effective method to clean aquamarine gemstones. Steam and ultrasonic cleaners may be used with March birthstones, except in the rare case that the aquamarine has liquid inclusions or fractures. Be aware: ultrasonic cleaners can not only cause and exacerbate fractures in gemstones, but they can also loosen settings and cause gems to fall out. Gemstones that have been fracture-filled should only be cleaned with warm soapy water.
The March birthstone is durable enough to survive the odd bump or knock on a hard surface; however, you should always take care to avoid such abuse. That is why it is always recommended to remove jewelry before physical activities, especially household cleaning or gardening.
Due to aquamarine’s hardness, it is important to protect softer stones from being scratched. Similarly, you will want to prevent scratches to your March birthstones from harder gems (sapphire, diamonds, etc.). Therefore, it is imperative to keep your aquamarine separate from all other gems of different hardness in a fabric-lined compartment of a jewelry box. Individual cloth jewelry bags are also suitable if you have limited space in your box.
Another space-saving method is to use acid-free paper envelopes, called “parcel paper envelopes” or “diamond papers”, to keep gemstones of the same hardness together and arranged in a parcel paper organizer box. Glass jars with foam or fabric inserts are perfect for those who want to showcase their loose gemstones and jewelry.
How much do March birthstones cost?
When shopping for loose aquamarines, it is important to have a purpose in mind. As this cool and elegant gemstone suits all types of March birthstone jewelry, one must first decide on a design.
March Birthstone Rings
Aquamarine rings, made famous by celebrities and royals alike, are a popular choice for engagement settings. A 6 carat, oval facet, light blue aquamarine, sized about 14 x 10 mm, is perfect for such a ring and costs just $1,000. Emerald cut and pear facet aquamarines of the same carat weight can be purchased for the same price.
March Birthstone Necklaces
Aquamarine necklaces are an excellent accessory that will add a cool and classy touch to any outfit. The vivid colors, especially when set against metals such as silver or gold, give a pop to a necklace that will always get compliments.
Pear facet aquamarines are perfect for use in necklaces and pendants. A 4.8 carat, pear facet, light blue aquamarine, would make a stunning feature for only $500. Lots of aquamarine are also available; a 7-piece set of 0.5 carat, pear facet, sky blue aquamarine, sized around 6 x 4 mm, is only $150.
March Birthstone Earrings
Aquamarine earrings are charming and elegant. They are light and will dazzle when worn against any skin tone. A pair of 1 carat, round facet, bluish white aquamarine, sized 7 mm, would make a sensational set of earrings for $130.
March Birthstone Bracelets
A classic bracelet design that is still immensely popular today is the “tennis bracelet”, so named for the Chris Evert, the tennis champion who made it famous. Though that bracelet was set with diamonds, aquamarine is a great alternative. Six-piece lots of 0.6 carat, round facet, sky blue aquamarine, sized 6 mm, can make such a piece and cost only $100.
Aquamarine cabochons are ideal as features on bangles and link bracelets. A 9.6 carat, oval cabochon, translucent, bluish white aquamarine, sized about 16 x 13 mm, would be a unique addition to a bracelet at only $75. Smaller sizes can be purchase for as little as $30. Consider a 1.3 carat, oval cabochon, transparent, light blue aquamarine at that low price.
Are there any secondary March birthstones?
Bloodstone used to be the primary March birthstone before it lost its popularity to aquamarine. Also known as the heliotrope, bloodstone is a dark green variety of chalcedony, a species of quartz, with flecks of red.
This secondary March birthstone is mined in Australia, Brazil, and India and typically found as pebbles in riverbeds or embedded in rocks.
Bloodstone is one of the most popular stones for religious carvings, such as Matteo del Nassaro’s statue “The Descent from the Cross”, which depicted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
This sculpture was carved in 1525 and is one of the most popular pieces of art created from this March birthstone. Moreover, the depiction is so carefully crafted as to make the reddish specks on the stone appear as drops of blood from the injuries suffered by Jesus on the cross. In Christian lore, it was believed that bloodstone was formed from these very drops of blood.
However, this March birthstone had been in use long before the legacy of Jesus, as it was a favorite of Roman gladiators, who used it as an amulet, and the Babylonians, who made seals with it. During the Middle Ages, Europeans believed the stone had healing powers. They would mix honey and egg whites with bloodstone powder to cure blood-borne diseases, hemorrhage, and tumors. Ancient healers would use these gemstones to stanch the flow of blood from a wound, cure blood poisoning, and treat anemia.
Today, bloodstone is a fairly popular choice for March birthstone jewelry and is used extensively in metaphysical healing. It is reported that legendary English footballer, David Beckham, counts bloodstone as one of his favorite natural gems.
Our world is mostly water; so too are our bodies. We have a natural affinity for images and symbols of water and the sea. Aquamarine is the quintessential gemstone to offer everyone – particularly those born in March – a physical and spiritual connection to the nature of water.
Available in hues descriptive of the various depths of the Mediterranean – light and dark blue, green-blue, and the namesake blue-green – aquamarine’s high durability, wearability and availability make it the perfect gem for March birthstone jewelry, and all others. The finest quality of aquamarine at the best prices only comes from reputable dealers like Gemselect. Visit our site and find everything you desire!