Aquamarine - March Birthstone Guide
Aquamarines (Latin for water of the sea) are named for their stunning crystal clear colors of the ocean. For this reason they were thought to be the protection gemstone of mariners and to those that stayed on land they were thought to bring clarity, friendship and calm. These beautiful stones represent the birthstone for March, the 19th wedding anniversary and the astrology sign Pisces.
Aquamarine is a beryl mineral but unlike it's beryl cousin the Emerald, Aquamarines are often a completely flawless or almost flawless gemstone. And while aquas are not as hard (averaging around a 7.8 on the Mohs scale) as diamonds they are close, which is one of the reasons they are the second most popular stone for engagement rings and why there are so many wonderful vintage and antique aquamarines in the Scotch Street Vintage Aquamarine Jewelry Collection...they can stand the test of time.
100+ years ago the bluer the aquamarine the more valuable but as this stone's popularity grew immensely so did the desire for all the different shades of aquamarine available. There are "color grading scales" out there but they are NOT recognized by an gem organization and are really used to market certain stones as more expensive when there is no actual grounds for that. The value of an aquamarine is solely in it's crystal clear clarity, the color is a personal choice.
From the Very Pale...
(Click on Images Above for Product Information)
These aquamarines are the colors that they are when they come from the ground pale shades of blue in green.
To the Brightest of Blues...
Of the above first two are most likely their earth mined color while the aquamarine on the right has definitely been heat treated to bring out the deeper darker blue. (Heat Treating FYI - I am against most altering treatments of stones because most treatments are used to make a stone seem better than it is. However, I do not have this opinion on heat treating aquamarines which is only used to bring out different and brighter colors. For this reason I am ok with heat treated aquamarines.
What To Know... When Buying
Aquamarines are fairly abundant and it is actually more expensive to create a synthetic aquamarine than it is to mine aquamarines so unlike many stones no need to worry about buying a synthetic.
Sky Blue Topaz is easily mistaken for Aquamarine but is far less valuable (can you tell which of the above is an actual aquamarine? scroll over or click on the image to see if you are right). I have been fooled myself, which is why my vintage jewelry is thoroughly checked before I put it up for sale and why you should make sure whomever you buy from does the same.
So now you know, what you need to know about buying aquamarines come browse the Scotch Street Vintage Aquamarine Collection! To find information on other gemstone go to Scotch Street Vintage Gemstone Guides.
Happy Treasure Hunting - Lori