Bijoux Extraordinaire, your engagement rings experts. Bijoux Home Page Jewelry and Gemstone Galleries What's New at Bijoux Jewelry and Gemstone Articles

Aquamarine: Water of the Sea

By  Judith Anderson  GG, CGA

The fact, fiction, and love behind every gemstone makes it fascinating not only for its beautiful crystal forms but also from an historical perspective.

Aquamarine is one such fascinating variety of the species Beryl.   As a sister stone to emerald, it shares the same optical and physical properties, differing only in chemical impurities which cause color, and mode of formation which effects clarity.   Aquamarine derives its color from the chemical agent iron, whereas emerald exhibits a rich green hue because of the coloring agent chromium trapped in its crystal structure.

Since the name aquamarine comes from the Latin and Greek words for Water of the Sea, it has long been recognized by sailors as the gemstone which possesses calming effects and aids those who travel by water.

As the traditional birthstone for March, Aquamarine displays colors reminiscent of those reflected in many oceans and lakes around the world.   It can range from nearly colorless to greenish- blue to blue-green.   The most prized aquamarines, however, boast a pure blue which is neither too pale nor too green.

Aquamarine is generally found in nearly flawless, large crystal forms and is thus tougher than emerald.   Much of the aquamarine on today's market is mined in Brazil, however, several African countries (Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria) as well as Afghanistan, Russia and Sri Lanka offer strong supplies of fine quality stones.   East Africa has recently produced a good supply of fine blue stones which have not been heat treated.

Not all aquamarines have a pure crystal-like blue hue; stones with an inferior color are often heat-treated to reduce the coloring agent that causes a greenish cast.   This heat treatment, which is a permanent effect, results in a more pure blue color and thus commands a higher price.

Light-colored gems, like aquamarines, require frequent cleaning.   Thus, one must remember to clean aquamarine jewelry by scrubbing with a soft brush and commercial jewelry cleaner in order to maintain the stone's full brilliance, luster and color.

The pastel shades of aquamarine are most flattering for fair-skinned blondes and redheads.   Blue topaz, the most common substitute for aquamarine, offers a more affordable gemstone which displays hues from light aquamarine-like blues to dark intense greenish-blues.

|  Reading Room   |  Jewelry Galleries   |  What's New!  |

|  Bijoux Home Page   |  About Us   |  Services We Offer   |  Site Map  |

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please give us a call
(603 624-8672) or send us an email.

Or, if you prefer snail mail, our postal address is:

Bijoux Extraordinaire, Ltd.
P.O. Box 1424
Manchester, New Hampshire

© Copyright Bijoux Extraordinaire, Ltd.
1998 All Rights Reserved