The birthstone for the month of March is aquamarine, a member of the beryl family, which is known for it’s namesake blue-green color. While all aquamarines tend to be fairly light in hue, the highest quality and most desirable aquas will have an even, rich color saturation.
Aquamarines are a sturdy stone, with a rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, giving it roughly the same hardness of emerald. The stones used in most jewelery are also nearly flawless, making them seem almost artificial in nature. Aquamarine can be found all over the world, occasionally in truly astounding sizes. One stone mined in Brazil weighed in at more than 200 pounds, producing over 100,000 carat weight in individual gems once it was cut.
Another interesting feature of the stone is that it’s color will deepen when heated to very specific temperatures. Therefore, most aquas are ‘heat treated’ to bring out a more brilliant color. It is a fairly exact science, though; too little heat will not cause the stone to react, while too much will render the stone discolored and ruined. Needless to say, don’t try this at home!
Aquamarine was prized by sailors of ancient Greece for amulets and protective talismans, for it was believed that the stone was sacred to Neptune and that, by wearing it, one would be protected while out at sea. Other legends tell that travelers believed the stone would protect them while far from home, whether at sea or on land, and would even protect them from being poisoned.
Although durable, aquamarine is not indestructible and can be scratched or broken. Protect the stone from sharp blows, scratches, and extreme temperature changes. To clean at home, use a mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the gemstone where dust can collect. Never use toothpaste to clean jewelry! It’s very abrasive and you will damage your jewelry. For the best cleaning however, bring your jewelry into the store to have us ultrasonic and steam clean it. We can also check the setting and prongs to make sure you are not in any risk of losing your stone.
Whether due to it’s colorful history, or it’s clarity and durability, aquamarine is a brilliant gemstone that can provide just a touch of blue, or accentuate a blue-green ensemble. Stop in this month and check out our collection.