With March around the corner, we thought we'd shine the spotlight on a seductively beautiful gem, which happens to be the birthstone of March - the aquamarine. As its name suggests, "aquamarine" has an ocean-related quality, as it derives from the Latin words aqua and marina, which mean water and sea respectively. Although not found beneath the sea, the stone has variations of a blue-green hue, much like the color of the sea.
The beryl mineral gives aquamarine its light blue to green-blue color. Beryl can also produce a darker green color, as it does in the emerald, but in the aquamarine the color is usually softer and lighter. Although aquamarine can be found in dark blue-green colors, these gems are rare and therefore much more expensive. As a rule of thumb, the darker, the more costly.
The aquamarine is a hard gem ranking 7.5 to 8.0 on the Moh scale (10 being hardest, like the diamond). Most of the gems have very few flaws and posses the same properties of the topaz, although they are more expensive than topaz. Aquamarine stones are found in granite rocks in large six-sided crystals, sometimes weighing over 50 pounds. They are found in the countries of Brazil, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Columbia. In the US, these gems are also found in Colorado and Wyoming.
There is a great deal of folklore that surrounds this lovely birthstone of March. In ancient times, aquamarines were given to sailors as gifts to protect them while at sea, as well as to maintain a sense of calm and serenity. These gems were also given to those in a relationship to rekindle love for each other. Ancient Egyptians prized the stone as a protecting force in battle. For some, even today, the aquamarine is believed to enhance mental processes and instill clarity of thought, helping one to think and speak articulately and succinctly. For others, folklore aside, just the mesmerizing, seductive beauty of this splendid gem is sufficient reason to own one.