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Aquamarine

>> Group(s) : beryls, silicates
See the pictures :

Its name comes from the latin "aqua marina", meaning "water of the sea", because of its seawater color, the dark blue is the most desidered color…like the ocean! Belongs to the beryl group, same as Emerald which is a deep green beryl.
Aquamarines have been since ages appreciated because they often show big crytals of perfect transparency and a pure color of water sea. For example a wonderful antical intaglio, set on a gold setting of the 9th century, one time poperty of Charlemagne and which represents Julie, daughter of the Roman Emperor Titus. The most valuable are the "Santa Maria" coming from Brazil because they are of a deep blue.
Gemologists identify them with the Chelsea filter : they turn green or blue.

Exploited sites

The most productive are located in Brazil. The mines of the Cerara, where the stones have a deep blue color, so called "Santa Maria", and the one of the Maxixe mine which have a beautiful color but lighten when exposed to light. Nowadays, pegmatites of Medina, Maramabaïa, Fortaleza, Aracuai...in the Minas Gerais are still exploted, but also the mines in the State of Bahia (Veruga), Rio Grande Do Norte (Sao Tome), Espirito Santo (Itaguacu, Santa Teresa, Colatina). Other deposits are located in Madagascar (Tongafeno, deep blue aquamarine mined since the 19th century), in Australia (Queensland), Birmanie, India, China, Nepal, Afghanistan, USA, Kenya, Mozambique (Alto Ligonha, Monapo), Namibia, Zibabwe (Karoi, Mwani, Kariba), Zambia (Lundazi, Jogoda), Nigeria (Jos plateau), Russia (Oural).
However beautiful vivid light blue aquamarine come from the Shigar, Chumar Bakar mines and other mines located in the Pakistan Northern mountains.
Aquamarine crystals weighting a few tons have been found, opaque and grey, not suitable for cutting, the largest aquamarine of gemstone quality was found in Marambaya, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1910. It weighted over 110 kg (243 lb), was 48,5 cm (18 in) long and 42 cm (15,5 in) in diameter, and was cut into many stones with a total weight of 100 000 carats. A crystal weighting 15 kg was found in Murtaza and another of 4 kg in 1994. The Leningrad Shool of Mines owns several crystals, almost 30 cm long and 3 cm in diameter.

See pictures of the mines / other pictures

Use in jewelry

The cut is a step cut, and scissor cut, ovale or rectangular form, low quality gems are cut in cabochons or balls in order to set them as necklaces.
Aquamarine remains one of the most appreciated gems thanks to their non-aggressive color.
The term "oriental aquamarine" which was used to design light blue sapphires is forbidden, such as "Siamese aquamarine" which ws used for the blue zircons.
Aquamarine is the stone for the 19th wedding anniversary.
According to the old-time traditions, it would facilitate fidelty and happiness in love and the matrimony, it has often been the engagement stone.

Daily care and precautions

It is relatively fragile and sensible to chocks and heat. Cleaning with warm water and dishwashing liquid, then to be rinsed out with soft water (because marks can stay with hard water), then use alcohol.

Looking alike stones

iolite , kyanite , euclase , sapphire , topaz , tourmaline , zircon

Historical healing properties

Aquamarine which symbolizes innocence, youth, detachment, purity, altruism…would make people happy and would procurate wibes which turn the spirit into a mirror where the immensity of the mental activity will be refleted in, bringing light upon the more obscur corners. Its radiance would harmonize and balance the body and the mental, promoting a general weel-being, reducing aggressivity and giving hope.
It would ensure the power to be loved, it would increase tenderness in the couple.
It would keep sea travelers safe and would move away storms. It would be used to make enriched water, excellent way to link vibratory strengths together. It would clarify vision, making it clear, limpid.
In the Middle age, it was thought to ease toothache while wearing an aquamarine necklace.
It would be related to the throat chakra by stimulating it softly, providing calm and relax, allowing a lucid and independent thought. As water it symbolizes smoothness, purity and appeased immensity.

Imitations and treatments

Synthetic aquamarine does not exist because it is hard to produce, it is uneconomical. But can be confused with synthetic blue spinel, blue glass dyed with cobalt or beryllium, synthetic blue quartz, blue zircons and doublets.Aquamarine color is often improved by heating, wavelet and snowballs like inclusions allow to identify them. Treatments by irradiation are no longer used because the color change do not last, and the stones lightens when exposed to sunlight. Nevertheless treatment of beryls by irradiation with radio-cobalt is common, it produces aquamarine so called "marxiste" of a vivid blue, with an aggressive, non natural aspect, which fade in time. Those "marxites" turn pink under the Chelsea filter and are easy to identify.

Improvements

Heated to 400-500°C (725-850° F), the blue hue obtained is generally permanent but higher heat can lead to discoloration.

Chemical characteristics
Al2Be3[Si6O18]

beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate

Physical characteristics

Main color : blue

due to iron, pale to dark blue, or green blue. The dark blue is the most desidered color, it is a blue beryl.

Color of streak : white

Luster : vitreous

Hardness : 7.5 to 8.0

Density : 2.68 to 2.75

Cleavage : indistinct

Fracture : conchoidal

brittle, sensible to shocks

Optical properties

Transparency : transparent, translucent

translucent to opaque for non gem quality

Refractive Index : 1.565 - 1.595

Double refraction : 0.004

Very weak, uniaxial (-)

visible double refraction : no

Dispersion : 0.014 (0.009)

Pleochroism : definite

Number of colors : 2

Pale blue almost colorless, deep blue. (sometimes light green).

Absorption spectrum : 537 - 456 - 427

aquamarine spectrum system

aquamarine spectrum system

Fluorescence : none

Inclusions : inclusion of fine, orientated hollows rodscan cause chatoyancy or asterism.
Fine inclusions : ilmenite, feldspar, garnet, tourmaline, rutile…

Crystals

Hexagonal crystals, isolated or included in a gangue

cristaux

Crystal system : hexagonal

Other informations

Astrological sign : Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Capricorn

Chinese astrological sign : Ox

Month : march

For sale in our boutiques
18k White Gold Ring, Aquamarine €1,200 excl tax

Ring 18k White Gold
Aquamarine

1,200€ excl tax

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Correspondance
astrological
  • Taurus Taurus
  • Gemini Gemini
  • Virgo Virgo
  • Capricorn Capricorn

It is a relaxing stone, associated to the peace, serenity, good health, feminity. Its soft blue transparency symbolizes calmness and clairvoyance.

Chinese astrological sign :
  • Ox Ox

Aquamarine brings method, balance, resistance, gently. People become less jealous, sore loser, rigid and make them inspired.