The Beautiful Aquamarine Stone
The Aquamarine stone is identified as a blue to green-blue kind of precious beryl. The beryl group of minerals is known to be the greatest among its kind because it is one of the most versatile and colourful gemstones available. It can be green, blue, pink and even yellow. As it turns out, Aquamarine is also known to be one of the precious gems of the world that goes with the likes of Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond.
Known to be the official birthstone of March, Aquamarine is remarkably hard and has an exceptional glass-like luster. It is widely known for its magnificent sea-blue colors which can vary from light to dark-blue. The term Aquamarine came from an old Latin phrase that means seawater.
It is a known fact that Aquamarine and Emerald exist in the same group, then again they are unexpectedly different. Both gems are beryllium aluminum silicates. As you can see, the color of emerald came from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium, while the color you see in aquamarine is the outcome of iron impurities that are inside a colorless beryl crystal. Both gems have the same specific gravity and refractive index, however an emerald looks hazy and full of inclusions, while an aquamarine has brilliant transparency and clarity. Aquamarine along with other kinds of beryl are very tough and solid. It ranges from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale when it comes to its mineral toughness.
What do most people look for when it comes to the colour of an Aquamarine stone? According to experts, the most popular and precious aquamarine looks dark and is deeply saturated blue.
Famous Aquamarine Stones In History
People have discovered Aquamarines that weighed more than a few tons. Unfortunately, they did not meet the requirements for cutting because of their feeble, grey or opaque color. So far, the biggest discovery of gemstone quality aquamarine dates back to 1910 when a mine called Mina Gerais in Marambaya, Brazil discovered a stone that weighed 243 lb., 18 inches and 15.5 inches in diameter. This particular aquamarine was cut into a lot of gemstones with a quantity weight of more than 100,000 carats. In 1992, the Dom Pedro weighed 26 kg and was cut in Idar-Oberstein, Germany by a well-known gemstone designer named Bernd Munsteiner. At the moment, it is considered as the biggest single piece of aquamarine to have been ever cut.
Origins Of Aquamarine Stone
It is no doubt that the leading manufacturer of facet grade Aquamarine stone is Brazil. They have a lot of mines stretched throughout the country. Countries like Australia, Myanmar, China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in several other U.S. locations are now known to produce other deposits of aquamarine. Not so long ago, Karur, India has become one of the largest providers of the Aquamarine stone.
Aquamarine Stone Specifications
Since it is part of the Beryl family, it has the same physical and optical properties. The specifications of the Aquamarine stone are:
- Crystal Structure: Hexagon (hexagonal prisms)
- Color: light-blue, dark-blue, blue-green and green-blue
- Hardness: 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale (what does this mean?)
- Refractive Index: 1.562 to 1.602
- Density: 2.71 to 2.90
- Cleavage: Indistinct
- Transparency: Transparent to opaque
- Double Refraction or Birefringence: -0.004 to -0.010
- Luster: Vitreous
- Fluorescence: Weak: Violet
How To Choose Your Aquamarine Stone
In order to find the perfect Aquamarine stone for your collection, there are a lot of factors to check:
Since Aquamarine was derived from the word, seawater, it can be in the shades of light-blue, dark-blue, blue-green and green-blue. Do remember that the more saturated its color is, the higher value it has. But also bear in mind that most aquamarines are in lighter blue color.
Clarity and Luster
Remember that the best qualities Aquamarine stones are those that are eye-clean and transparent. One of the most expensive aquamarines is the Cat’s eye; it has aligned traces of foreign minerals which is very rare. Another rare and collectible item is the Star Aquamarine otherwise known as the six-rayed specimens with asterism because it has a glass like luster when it is cut.
Cut and Shape
They are available in faceted and cabochon cuts. Beryls are always best when they are in rectangular or square cut but most prefer an emerald step-cut. Another popular cut are those that are long and are of rectangular shapes. Common cuts are the usual round, pear, oval and cushion. It will be a big challenge to find fancy cuts for larger sizes because they are very hard to find. You may also find aquamarine or other types of beryl to be carved into ornamental figures and animal gemstone carvings.
Usually, an Aquamarine stone is heat-treated to enhance it’s color but most are left untreated. If you see a darker shade of aquamarine or low quality stones, it is usually heated. They heat it to get the hue that they like. If you heat them in higher temperatures, it will most likely have discoloration.