Aquamarine - March Birthstone
Hello, fellow mermaids and lovers of all things aquatic!
March is here and with it the alluring Aquamarine; March birthstone, and gemstone of Piscis in the Zodiac. It is also the stone given for the 19th Wedding anniversary.
The subtly hued Aquamarine is the one that has always attracted me the mostout of all the"fancier" gemstones at gem and bead shows. It has a soothing and very appealing energy, especially when faceted into delicate briolettes or tiny rondelles. My preference is for the slightly more opaque varieties, although many of you may be more familiar with the crystal clear blues found in more traditional jewelry. Below we will explore both types and I will also share with you a few examples of Aquamarine jewelry in my current collection.
So come along as we take a deep (ocean) dive into the mysteries and properties of the Aquamarine.
Aquamarine Facts - History - Properties - Meaning - Lore
Aquamarine is a mineral in the Beryl family, where you also find Emerald and Morganite. These minerals grow in hexagonal shapes that can range in size from tiny to several feet in length. A famously large carved Aquamarine named the Dom Pedro is on display at the Smithsonian in DC.
Aquamarines range in color from light green to blue, the deeper blue variants being the most prized and expensive. Color variations in Aquamarine are caused by iron deposits. Aquamarines have a Mohs hardness of 7.5 to 8 making them durable stones and perfect for jewelry. They can be on the brittle side, however (most Aquamarines are heat-treated which causes this brittleness) so always take care to not drop or bang your aquamarines against other surfaces. Aquamarines react to heat which can affect their color and should be stored away from bright light. In fact, many Aquamarines have a green tint when mined that is later turned into blue by intentionally heat-treating them.
Aquamarine Properties and History
Aquamarines through History
Aquamarines were in use by the Egyptians, and have been found buried with mummies. The Sumerians, Hebrews, Greeks, as well as Romans, treasured these stones. The name Aquamarine means seawater from the Latin Aqua Marina, hence its relation to the ocean. It was attributed to Neptune, the God of the sea, and was believed to help fishermen and sailors by keeping the oceans calm when they headed out on long journeys.
In Greek literature, Aquamarine was associated with Mermaids, while the Romans etched glyptics and intaglios (carved stone jewels) out of them to use as gifts. Frogs were often used in these intaglios that were thought to preserve friendships and reconcile enemies. Aquamarines were also gifted to brides by their grooms, on the day after the wedding, to ensure the energy of young love in the marriage. Roman physicians used it to treat overeating and bloating. Chalices would be carved out of it and drinking out these vessels was believed to would bestow the powers of Aquamarine on the recipient while purifying the water poured into them.
During the Middle Ages, Aquamarine continued to be prized as a stone with multiple qualities. It was said that it could bring back a straying spouse and rekindle love in failing marriages. It was also useful as a protective amulet for soldiers. It became associated with the apostle St. Thomas who was known to travel by boat to spread the gospel.
It was during the Middle Ages that the stone began to be used by seers and fortunetellers, who often were advisors to the royalty and nobility of the time. It would be used in crystal balls and pendulums and was deemed most effective when used under the light of the moon. Another method used was dropping an Aquamarine into a bowl of water, this would generate ripples that a skilled mage could interpret.
Medicinally it was deemed to protect against poisons and was also used to treat eye, digestive, and dental problems.
Healing Properties of Aquamarine
Today Aquamarine is still in use as a powerfully protective stone.
It is a soothing and calming stone that brings happiness and healing energy to its wearer and can strengthen relationships by enhancing mutually respectful communications and promoting the idea of compromise. It is said to help remove emotional baggage by bringing old patterns to the surface so they can be released.
Aquamarine is a useful and protective stone to carry during travel, especially when by sea. It can also alleviate the fear of water.
In Buddhism, the Aquamarine represents love and mercy. It is associated with Quan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of ComapassionIt can be used as an aide during meditation and is said to allow communication with Guardian Angels.
Aquamarine is related to the 3rd Chakra, which is in turn related to the Throat. Therefore it is a stone that aids in communication and also in resolving conflict. Aquamarine is an excellent stone for people that have a fear of public speaking and helps those who already work as speakers in communicating clearly and truthfully. It is useful to carry when giving lectures and holding presentations. It guides energy from the Heart Chakra to the Throat Chakra making all communication true and heartfelt.
Aquamarines are found in Granitic Pegmatites as they become crystallized formations that push to the surface of the earth and are often discovered under shallow gravel, these discoveries can lead to larger deposits underground that become mining operations.
Check out this image of raw aquamarine to get an idea of what they look like before going through the various steps till they become gemstones or beads.
Aquamarines around the globe
The largest mining operations for Aquamarine are located in Brazil, especially in the Minas-Gerais area where most of the Aquamarine in the world today is mined.
Aquamarine is also found in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, and many countries in Africa including Madagascar. In Russia, the region of Siberia has been producing Aquamarines since the late 1700s.
Aquamarines in the US
Aquamarine is the Offical Stone of Colorado
Mount Antero and the White Mountain in Colorado yield some of the best quality Aquamarines in the world. This area used to be remote and only reachable by hikers up till the '70s when smaller-scale mining operations and tourist attractions started opening up. California also has a few locations where Aquamarines are mined.
In ancient times the greener versions of Aquamarine were the most prized but these days the deeper blues are preferred. I personally like them all, especially in my jewelry some of the beads are what would be considered lower grade, but to me, they are more interesting because they show the full range of colors as well as iron inclusions and the like.
Aquamarine does manifest more often in the green hues, and the deeper blues are commonly obtained via heat treatments and irradiation. True deeper blues straight out of the ground are the rarer and therefore the most expensive variants. In its medium blue iteration, Aquamarines are sometimes substituted by Blue Topaz which can look very similar but are a lot less expensive
If you'd like to read more and check out my Aquamarine info sources - all neatly rolled up and organized into a website click right here.
Coming up in April:
Check out our other Gemstone Deep Dives