March’s birthstone, the aquamarine, is from mermaids’ jewelry boxes
As the first of the spring birthstones, aquamarine (whose name means “waters of the sea”) possesses the healing qualities of the ocean, especially tranquility, serenity, and harmony. It’s known for its distinctive blue-green color as well as its clarity. Shades range from deep teal to a pale, crystal blue.
Throughout history, it’s been associated with legends about the ocean. In fact, Ancient Romans believed that the Sea God, Neptune, got the first aquamarine when it fell out of a siren’s jewelry box and washed up on shore.
6 Fun aquamarine facts
- The most valuable stones are darker-hued blues and greenish blues. The depth of the gem’s color depends on the amount of iron in the crystal.
- Many aquamarines are heat-treated to make their color more vibrant. A jeweler must disclose whether it’s natural or heat-treated (and treated stones are less expensive).
- It was originally referred to as “sea-green beryl.”
- Sailors believed having an aquamarine would protect them at sea and bring them home safely.
- One of the largest is the Hirsch Aquamarine, which weighs in at almost 110 carats!
- It’s first cousin to the emerald! They’re both kinds of beryl. Emeralds are much more fragile.
- Folklore has the aquamarine as having the power to increase youth, intelligence, courage, and happiness (that’s a lot for a single gemstone!).
- Some believe that this gem can alleviate stress, since it creates peace, calm, and tranquility.
- It’s believed to provide mental clarity and good health.
Caring for your aquamarine jewelry
- While they’re pretty durable, aquamarines can be scratched, so don’t store them with harder stones (like diamonds).
- Clean aquamarine jewelry in warm (not hot) soapy; avoid chemicals and intense heat.
- Avoid wearing your aquamarine jewelry—especially rings—around chemicals, like alcohol or ammonia.
- Emerald or step-cuts are popular; their facets reflect the light and make the stone sparkle.
- It’s got a relatively hard Mohs Scale rating of 7-8, so it works well with any type of setting.
- Part of an aquamarine’s beauty is its clarity (like the Mediterranean), so make sure there aren’t any blemishes or inclusions.
- Its price is largely determined by its color. The most valuable is dark blue or perhaps a slightly greenish blue, but the richer and darker the blue, the better.