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Aquamarine

For ancient people aquamarine was a symbol of hope, happiness, good health, eternal youth and lasting love. In the Middle Ages it was used for decoration of statues of the Virgin Mary. At that time was seen as a symbol of chastity and the pure love.

aquamarine ring

The newlyweds in France exchanged silver rings with aquamarine and believed that it will bring them a long and happy marriage.

This stone is a mineral form of beryl. Its name derives from the Latin aqua marina - sea water, because the color of the stone reminds warm tropical seas. Its specific color is caused by the presence of iron. The color ranges from sea blue, green light blue to dark blue. This mineral shows dichroism, which means it looks blue from one angle and transparent from another. In order to remove the yellow shades the aquamarine is often heat-treated. Then it becomes purer blue. This effect is permanent and there is no danger of stones to fade with time. Unlike emeralds, aquamarines are almost without flaws. The more intense is the color of the stone, the more expensive is the gem. Most benign aquamarines are found in Brazil. There are deposits also in Russia, India and Africa.

aquamarine crystals
aquamarine monocrystals

Notable for the most intensely green-blue are aquamarines from several deposits. The stones mined there have developed their own names:

"Santa Maria" is quality designation for particularly valuable aquamarines, named after the mine with the same name in Ceará state in Brazil.

"Santa Maria Africana" - designation of quality for valuable aquamarines from Mozambique.

"Aquamarine-Maxis" – this stone has specific deep blue color and was discovered in the mine "Maxis" in Minas Gerais state in Brazil. However, the color of the crystals was unstable - in daylight it turned to yellow and reddish-brown.

aquamarine colours

In aquamarine sometimes are observed solids in white called "chrysanthemum" and "snow signs". They are layers of fine crystals or thin needle inclusions.

The sunlight gradually fades to almost colorless, and under indoor light becomes brighter. It is also believed that this stone changes color depending on the weather and the mood of its owner. May be that's why in ancient times it was used as a barometer: If the gemstone becomes cloudy and green this means that we should expect a storm. If the color changed in clear weather it was a sign that the owner is in a bad mood.

Natural crystals of this mineral are of record size. Perhaps the largest in the world crystal was found in 1910 in Brazil. It is beautiful colorless hexagonal stone 48.3 cm long and 41 cm in diameter. Its weight was 110.2 kg. It has azure hue which goes on the sides clear-green and in the transition zone to the yellow color.

aquamarine monocrystal
aquamarine cabochon

In jewelry it is very difficult to distinguish natural aquamarine from blue topaz, synthetic spinel and quartz, as well as the glass. Doublets are also used as imitation. But growing of synthetic crystals is difficult and not efficient.

The majority of currently produced aquamarine is treated by thermal processing. Temperatures up to 375 degrees can reduce or completely remove the green tint. More rigid scheme of heat treatment sometimes can significantly enhance the blue color. In this way even very low valued light green beryl can often be turn into a decent aquamarine.

And some final words. This gem is extremely beautiful. It is almost as popular but more expensive than traditional rubies, sapphires and emeralds. It doesn’t fit gold. However the precious stone inlaid in white gold or silver creates incredibly soft and irresistibly romantic jewelry. Women around the world love it - its amazing blue shades fits almost all colors of skin and eyes.

aquamarine gems

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