In Greek and Roman times, aquamarine was used to protect sailors! The stone was mounted as a pendant that sailors wore around their necks to protect them from storms, pirates, and to ensure a safe journey.
Aquamarine is a mineral of the beryl family. This family is also composed of emerald and morganite.
The name aquamarine comes from the Latin "aqua marina", which means "sea water", in allusion to the color of the stone.
Aquamarines are mainly mined in Brazil, where the largest deposits are found; however, they are also found in Pakistan, Australia and Asia. Santa Maria aquamarines are a particularly sought-after variety because they have a very attractive blue color. They come from the Santa Maria mine in northern Brazil.
The colors of aquamarine can range from transparent azure to lagoon. It is the iron which composes it, which according to its oxidation plays on the color.
Aquamarine has an identical composition to emerald since they are of the same stone family: aluminum silicate and beryllium.
Like other stones in the beryl family, aquamarine is quite strong and is rated 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs scale.
Almost all aquamarines are treated by heating. A heat treatment embellishes the color of the stone which sometimes tends towards yellow and produces the much sought after blue color.
Anniversary stone of the month of March, the aquamarine is also offered for the occasion of the 4th wedding anniversary.
In 1980, three prospectors in Brazil found an impressive aquamarine crystal in the shape of an obelisk by Bernd Munsteiner. This resulted in the largest and most beautiful cut aquamarine in the world: 10,395 carats, or over 2.07kg. This breathtaking specimen is on display in the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection Gallery in Washington, DC. The Brazilian government, proud of their jewels, offered aquamarines to Queen Elizabeth II on several occasions, allowing her to now possess a most complete and beautiful set.
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