Note: photo courtesy Gemological Institute of America
Those born in March have a very unique gemstone to celebrate their birthday, the aquamarine. Unlike many other stones, it doesn’t come in different colors, though it does show up in many shades of the same color. Made of beryl, the gem is blue-green or aqua colored, but the intensity of the hue depends on where it was mined (the amount of iron in the stone affects color) and the amount of heat applied.
We’re accustomed to gemstones appearing in crystals and aquamarine can form very large crystals. However, the most interesting stones are actually glass-like, occasionally with holes and beautiful formations, unlike other types of stones.
You can find aquamarine around the world and the original name comes from the Latin “aqua” which means water and “marina” which means sea. The most valuable pieces come from mines in Brazil, though Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia and Afghanistan are also good areas to find the gemstone.
The stones are quite hard and range in hues from a very pale, almost colorless blue to teal. However, the best stones are a rich aqua tone, which is frequently arrived at through the application of heat to the stone. It can also make the stones even bluer than usual and the treatment permanently changes the color.
Purchasing and Caring for Aquamarine
When deciding to buy one of these gemstones, usually set into a ring, pendant or bracelet, you’ll want to look at the color first. The saturation will determine just how strong the color is and this can affect the look of a piece drastically. You may also want something extra special . . . some aquamarines are cut in cabochon style instead of facets and these may have stars or cat’s eyes in them, making them quite original.
Cleaning your aquamarine jewelry is as simple as washing it in warm, soapy water. For resistant dirt, let the jewelry soak for ten minutes or so before wiping clean with a soft cloth. A toothbrush may also be used to clean out the grunge that can accumulate under the settings. Rinse with warm water and dry gently.
Give the Gift of Happiness
Aquamarine is thought to bestow happiness upon the person who wears it, as well as courage and foresight. During the Middle Ages, some people even thought it would help against poisonings and sailors used the stone as a safety measure against seasickness. Like many gems, there are a number of beliefs surrounding this beautiful, pale stone. It is also said to make the wearer appear younger and to boost intelligence, making it a lovely gift for anyone, even if their birthday isn’t in March.
Whether you are looking at a combination of aquamarine with other stones (they go particularly well with diamonds) or just a simple piece of jewelry that uses only this beautiful stone, it’s sure to be a welcome gift. Those born in March will love having their birthstone, but it makes a lovely gift for anyone from any birth month.