“A March born shall always be, soothed by Aqua, gem of sea.” Aquamarine gem is one of the two birthstones associated with the month of March (the other one being bloodstone). Its fresh blue hues that evoke the colors of the sea make it one of the most soothing gems to stare at. A mesmerizing jewelry centerpiece — it is a meaningful and thoughtful gift not only for those born in the third month of the year, but also for couples celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary.
Image by Sara Graves from Pixabay
Origin and Watery Hues
Aquamarine (blue) belongs to the beryl mineral family like emerald (green), May’s birthstone. Color varieties of beryl, such as the two mentioned, are among the most desirable gemstones in the world. The distinctive watery hue of aquamarine is caused by the presence of iron during its formation. Blue beryl, especially those that come in “dark blue to slightly greenish blue with moderately strong intensity” color, are considered rare in nature. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), aquamarine gemstones within this color range are the most valuable.
Rare aquamarines with deeply saturated blue color, regardless of origin, are dubbed Santa Maria — the name of the place where the first such fine quality gemstone was discovered (Santa Maria de Itabira in Brazil). Aside from Brazil, the world’s largest producer of colored stones, other countries in Africa and Asia like Pakistan are also known sources of outstanding aquamarine crystals.
Sign, Symbolism, and Nautical Tales
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin words “aqua” (water) and “marina” (sea). Given the color and the name of the gem, it comes as no surprise that aquamarine is the principal birthstone of Pisces. As a Pisces stone, the blue gem is said to provide a calming and serene energy that helps the water sign balance its emotional sensitivity.
In ancient lore, aquamarines were thought to have come from the treasure chest of mermaids and were believed to bring happiness, love, affection and care to those who wear them. Greek and Roman sailors used to take aquamarine amulets with them as protection from storms, rough seas, and seasickness during their long ocean voyages; and also to ensure safe passage to reach their destinations. Story goes that sailors tossed their aquamarines into the surging water as an offering to Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea.
“This mermaid’s treasured stone you wear,
Will bring happiness, love, affection and care.”
Aquamarine is also said to hold metaphysical properties that enhance one’s awareness and ability to better communicate. It also represents courage, hope, and eternal life.
Art and Jewelry Pieces
A number of fine, polished aquamarine art and jewelry pieces have been created throughout modern history. Some of the most astonishing pieces are now displayed at world-renowned museums; while some others are owned by private collectors and famous celebrities.
The largest cut-and-polished aquamarine known, the Dom Pedro, has been on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 2012. The sculpted crystal, fashioned by legendary artist Bernd Munsteiner into an obelisk-shaped gem, weighs 10,363 carats. It was cut from an enormous aquamarine that was found in Pedra Azul, Minas Gerais, Brazil in the 1980s; and named after Brazil’s first two emperors.
The Roosevelt Aquamarine ranks as the second largest cut piece of aquamarine. This stunning gift from Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas to US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936 is a 1,298 carat gem. It found a home in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York after the first lady decided to donate it to the museum in 1947.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Aquamarine Tiara is one of the British Queen’s most popular jewels. After receiving the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure (aquamarine necklace and earrings) from the president and people of Brazil in 1953 as a coronation gift, the Queen commissioned the headpiece from Garrard to complete the set. In 1971, the tiara was redesigned and “adapted to take four scroll ornaments from an aquamarine and diamond jewel” that was given by the Governor of São Paulo to the Queen in 1968.
Aquamarine has also been a popular engagement ring and wedding ring gemstone among celebrities. Justin Timberlake’s 6-carat diamond engagement ring for Jessica Biel is bordered by aquamarine stones. The ring, which he co-designed, is one of the famous aquamarine engagement rings in Hollywood.
The mesmerizing color of aquamarine makes it an excellent centerpiece for modern jewelry designs. For couples who opt for the non-traditional, the blue beryl gem can be a great alternative to the classic diamond or a stunning addition that will set your engagement or wedding ring apart.
Learn more about Aquamarine from our experts at Meycauayan Jewelries.