Birthstone of the Month: March
By: Morgan Garrison
Welcome back to our Birthstone of the Month series! March’s gemstone is the light blue beauty Aquamarine. If you were in middle school in the mid-2000s (like me), the first thing you think of when you hear “Aquamarine” might be the 2006 movie about a mermaid named Aquamarine.
If that’s what popped into your head, you’re on the right track because there is a legend that this gem originally came from the treasure chests of mermaids. Whether you believe in mermaids or not, the stone has been associated with the ocean as far back as antiquity.
The name “Aquamarine” comes from the Latin words “mare” meaning sea and “aqua” meaning water. This name is fitting not only because of the gem’s blue color, but because Aquamarines can be “water clear” without any visible inclusions.
Beyond this, Aquamarine has long been believed to protect sailors and ocean travelers. Some Roman sailors even believed the stone could calm waves and rough seas. It’s also said that wearing Aquamarine can make the wearer pleasant and friendly; as well as bring calm and serenity. This is perhaps why Aquamarine is believed to bring happiness to marriages and is the traditional gift for the 19th wedding anniversary.
Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family of minerals which includes Emerald and Morganite. Aquamarine can range anywhere from a very light, almost white, pastel blue to a darker, greenish blue. Darker varieties are more rare and therefore more expensive. Most Aquamarines are a pastel greenish-blue. The gems can be heat-treated to remove the yellow tones and make them more cool-toned. This is a common practice and these treatments are undetectable.
Aquamarines can be cut and faceted into the standard shapes like round brilliant, pear, and princess. They are available in a variety of carat weights from very small to very large. Some specimens can grow so large that they’re used to make gemstone sculptures. A famously large Aquamarine of 1,298 carats was gifted to Eleanor Roosevelt from the Brazilian government. You can go see it at the F.D.R. Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York.
Aquamarines can be incredibly clear. Many faceted stones are free of inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye. In fact, a fairly new deposit of aquamarines discovered in the mountains of Pakistan have been described as “water clear.”
Other important deposits of Aquamarine are found in Mozambique, Zambia, and Brazil, specifically the state of Minas Gerais in the central region. In North America, they can be found in Colorado, where it is the state gem, and California. In Pakistan, Aquamarines are mined in the Karakorum Mountains where miners must climb to elevations of 9,800 to 13,000 feet to mines on the sides of cliffs. Dangerous work, but the gems coming from this area are some of the most beautiful specimens to be had.
Aquamarines have a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Moh’s scale. For context, a diamond is a 10. With that rating of 7.5-8, Aquamarines are safe to wear every day. Though, many experts rate Aquamarines as brittle and recommend using a setting that protects the stone from impact, like a bezel, for example.
At Fernbaugh’s we have some stunning pieces in the store you can come see in person and even more online. Currently in the store, we have this gorgeous matching pendant and ring (pieces sold separately) that feature oval cut, 5.80 carat, Aquamarines set in sterling silver. Either of these pieces would make the perfect gift for someone who loves a statement piece.
If a band isn’t really your style, perhaps something from our “This is Us: Our Life Our Story” collection will catch your eye. Available in all the birthstones, this line offers necklaces, slide-on charms, earrings, and rings that all match. This collection is available in sterling silver, gold vermeil and rose gold vermeil. These make a great Mother’s Day gift as you can add charms for all your children or family members.
If you’re looking for something a little more funky, check out this cool evil-eye ring. This ring is available in 14-karat white, yellow, and rose gold as well as sterling silver and platinum. As always, we can also customize a piece if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in the store or on our website.
We’ll see you next month!