On Aquamarine, the Colour-of-Sea Gem
Aquamarine, the birthstone for the month of March is a pretty blue beryl that matches in colour with no other gem known to us. The colour of aquamarine reflects the shade of the sea in which the sage of nature merges with the azure of ocean to create a sprightly in-between hue.
Etymologically, Aquamarine is a Latin word for seawater. Sailors chant the word to keep the waves calm during their journey across oceans. When separated, the name aqua and marine both refer to sea. Aquamarine, as we know it, is a namesake of the ocean, what with its colour invoking a certain quiet and calmness. Brazil is the largest accounted producer of aquamarine though large quantities of the gem also come from Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique and Pakistan.
History and Lore
There is no factual evidence surrounding the first aquamarine that came to us. However, legends have it that the stone was a talisman for sailors in their voyages. The blue-green tone of the stone is known to cool the temper of everything from individuals to things in nature.
Mention of aquamarine in ancient texts and scriptures lends evidence to its presence in those times. It was believed in the Middle Ages that aquamarine could neutralize poisons. Romans ventured out to befriend their enemies with their hopes cast on an aquamarine frog jewellery.
In other civilizations, the gifts of aquamarine were believed to touch hearts and mind. Parents and relatives blessed newlyweds with aquamarine bridalsets so that their bond lasted lifelong. Some even believed that the gem had the power to reawaken love in people.
Almost all the ancient civilizations in the world have sung praises of aquamarine and its supposed properties. The Sumerians, Hebrews and Egyptians believed that the stone could win battles for kingdoms engaged in wars. They sent their warriors to battles wearing aquamarine jewels for assured victory. Whether or not it helped the knights and foot soldiers in any way other than giving them hope is unknown.
Apothecaries and alchemists used aquamarine dust to whip up concoctions to cure infections and poisoning. Aquamarine was particularly very helpful in the treatment of eye disorders.
On a more moderate mood, astrologers and orb gazers believed the stone to be the key to restore mental health and wellness. It was considered as an aid for meditation, owing to the cool blue shade of the stone that evokes inner peace and tranquillity. In the same line of thought, aquamarine was believed to be the aligner of the physical and the spiritual. The stone was recommended to all suffering from spiritual disorientation or feeling out of harmony.
Aquamarines were not traditionally used as amulets or talismans. That would be an insult to the beauty of the stone. Instead, aquamarinejewelleries were worn to aid the spiritual wellbeing of the wearers.
Some of these faiths and lore have been passed on to this urban era. People still wear the stone as protection before litigation and other disputes. The stone is believed to pace up thinking and improve intellect.
A Look up Close
Aquamarine is a variety of mineral beryl. It comes in shades greenish blue to all blue. Aquamarines that appear more bluish than greenish is mostly affected by heat treatment.
The colour of the stone is arguably its best feature. It is rare how blue and green infuse together in the stone to create an entire new shade with the best of both. The temper of the colour in an aquamarine stone is very light and that, with its high reflectivity creates a brilliance that is not normally seen in other stones. Those with a little yellowish inclusion look brighter with the mild fire of the colour. The gentle blue shade coupled with the translucence of the stones lends the stone a vitreous lustre. If you view the stone under a dichroscope, you will see that the stone looks strikingly close to colourless. The blue in the stone is in fact scattered towards the vertexes of the crystals where it grows strong. Thusly, the halo from the corner colours the entire stone.
Crystals of aquamarine as found in nature are mostly well-formed and clean. That makes cutting and polishing unnecessary for mineral specimen collectors. Aquamarine crystals are normally, prismatic, six-sided and are about a foot long. The sizeable crystals make it easier for lapidaries to cur and polish them in large carats. Aquamarine statement pieces are spectacular to look at.
The beauty of an aquamarine stone lies in the fact that it looks perfect in all designs and settings. The stone makes a perfect addition to silver and platinum as well as gold and titanium. There is barely ever any design or metal that an aquamarine can go wrong with.
The best grade stones have no yellow in them, while the included varieties have only a touch of yellow which only brightens up the tone further.
Like all other gemstones, aquamarine is graded by the four standard earmarks of Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat. They are as discussed below:
· Colour: Starting with colour, the stone has a pretty narrow colour range. That is mostly because beryl on the greener side is emerald. So, this colour-of-the-sea stone range in colour between greenish blue to blue. Aquamarine, by general standard, is the rarest and most valuable in dark blue shade. Anything between light to intense greenish blue is also graded high in the scale, depending upon the tone of the colour. However, the grade goes up with the intensity of the blue colour content of the stone. But, you should be aware that most blue aquamarines found in the market are heat treated and, in all likelihood, are not naturally so blue. The larger stones over the weight of 5 carats are naturally saturated and hence, looks bluer than smaller stones.
· Clarity: Most aquamarines are clear enough to pass the naked-eye test. But, as we all know, that hardly means that the stones are free of inclusions. Instead, some beryl crystals have a moderate level of liquid inclusions. The market however does not scrutinize too intricately in the inclusions as they do for diamonds. In fact, the stones are graded based on their clarity to expert eyes. The aquamarines that contain inclusions visible to the eye are used as beads or made into carvings and cabochons. Low grade aquamarines have parallel inclusions that cannot be easily ignored. These liquid-filled or hollow inclusions run parallel along the stones.
· Cut: The beauty of aquamarine crystals is that it can be shaped as one likes. So, aquamarines are available in almost as gemstone cuts known so far. However, of all cuts, oval and round brilliant cuts are more common than others. That’s because in oval and round cuts, the brilliance of the stone manifests best. Designers and artists prefer working with aquamarine as compared to other varieties of beryl because of the transparency and hardness of the stone. Because it is tough, it can be easily chipped into any cut without much getting wasted. Aquamarine is often the chosen stone for new and fancy cuts for concept jewelleries. The reason why aquamarine makes a fitting stone for all cuts is because it is pleochroic. As mentioned before, the colour of aquamarine is concentrated around the corners and that makes the colour directional. That makes aquamarine nearly colourless with strong blue vertexes. Though that should technically make cutting a challenge, it works in favour of the carvers. The colours correspond with the orientations of the cut making every piece retain most of the colour and weight. The table of the stones are aligned parallel along the height or length of the rough crystal.
· Carat: Aquamarine stones are cut and shaped to sizes really small to large. Some stones are as large as 100 lbs while the smallest ones resemble the size of a sand bead. However, though smaller stones find an easy entry into jewellery designs, larger rocks are difficult to accommodate. Some collectors find it consolatory to own the stones without any metallic framing, others like to wear them in gold and platinum. For them, more reasonably sized aquamarines are produced to set in aquamarine necklaces and bracelets. Quite naturally, the very large stones lose some bidders to the affordable equivalents. Aquamarines over 25 carats are priced more reasonably than those below the mark. The largest Aquamarine mined so far is a Brazilian crystal which was recorded to be 244 lbs. This was in 1910.
A cloud of belief surrounds this stones in the sphere of astrology. Practitioners believe the stone to have powers and capabilities beyond human logic and rationale. Though health care professionals may not confirm these qualities of the stone, nor may gemologists, but the stone has known to worked wonders for its wearers in many occasions. Here are some of the uses of Aquamarine as assumed in astrology.
Physical Healer: Aquamarine is said to have intrinsic association with our respiratory system. It is the stone of breathing and is therefore known to cure sinus problems, frequent cold and cough, hay fever and even some allergies. The stone is recommended to those who suffer from bronchial conditions and frequent cold. In addition to this, aquamarine is also a gemstone that has certain cooling properties. Thus, it is considered effective in treating infections, sore throat, strep throat and such problems. It is known to normalise the functions of pituitary glands, thyroid glands, hormones, etc.
Emotional Healer: Aquamarine is the stone of water and that makes it a powerful cleanser of emotions. It eliminates negative thoughts and ambitions and replace them with positive thoughts and calmness. It opens up communication and invigorates reasoning. It propels the mind forward towards positive and productive thinking. But above all, it balances all the emotions on an even keel, particularly controlling anger, fear and anxiety. The stone is of great help for those going through changes in life. It helps reduce resistance and overcome fear and anxiety that come with transition.
Balancing Energy: Aquamarine radiates many different kinds of energies, one of which initiates the healing of chakra. The stone stimulates energy that surges from the heart and runs through the throat to the base of the spine. The exercise is known to open up all channels of communication with one’s self helping people to accept and absorb the truth within.
Spiritual Connector: Aquamarine is known to help attain spirituality, and more commonly reawaken the spiritual energy in its wearers. It brings vitality to life by nourishing the spirit within and reversing emotional numbness. It helps one to connect with their spiritual self and with that grow the power of compassion. It also lend people the courage to go forth into the unknown in search of spiritual fulfilment.
Divination and Meditation Aide: The colour of stone calms minds almost instantly. That is particularly why the stone has proven to be an excellent aid for meditation. It helps awaken the paranormal abilities in a person that meditation aims. It helps the wearers realize a state of complete calmness inside the mind and experience revelations in life. Some traditions even claim that the stone has ability to show a wearer his guardian angels through meditation. In divination, an aquamarine has multiple interpretation. Dreaming of the stone means you are likely to make new friends. The subject also interprets the meaning of the name as the indication to go forth with what you have than to wait for what you want.
Colour Energy: The colour of aquamarine has a certain energy too. The pale blue of the stone resembles the receding winter sky. So, aquamarine engagement rings indicate the beginning of a journey, a search for your own emotions and a reflection upon one’s true self. It relaxes the mind and conditions it to accept things easily without resistance. It helps develop patience and stimulates the will to reconcile differences or even go out and seek forgiveness from those one has wronged. The colour blue is also very effective in dealing with grief and letting go of what was.
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