Thursday, November 11, 2010

Aquamarine - Water Of The Sea

The birthstone for March, aquamarine most often occurs in a range of light blue colors. It is in the same family of gems as emeralds. Its name is taken from the Latin words for seawater. Not only its name, but many myths about the stone have to do with the sea. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that sailors that wore the stone would be guaranteed a safe voyage over rough seas. Others considered it a preventive against sea sickness. It was thought to be the treasure of mermaids. In the Middle Ages it was thought to reduce the effect of poisoning. Aquamarine was also thought to have a soothing effect on new marriages, and helped the couple adjust to their lives together. The water in which an aquamarine soaked in was thought to heal eye disorders and cure hiccups.

Most highly valued aquamarines come from Brazil. It is also mined in many areas of Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Russia. The largest stone was found in Brazil in the early 20th century, and weighed 243 pounds. In The United States the gem is found in Colorado, and it is the official gemstone of that state. Some aquamarines are heat treated to enhance the color or clarity of the stone. The stone is relatively hard, and with reasonable care can be worn often. It has also been advised to keep it out of continuing direct sunlight, as the color may grow pale.

The ease of cutting the rough stone makes it highly desirable for jewelry designers. The gem responds very well to their imaginations and has resulted in some very unique shapes and cuts not found on other kinds of gemstones. But it is also still used for more traditional cuts and shapes. It is used alone, or combined with other gems to good effect. It is used with all the precious metals to make jewelry. But many prefer the 'white' metals white gold, platinum and sterling silver as being more complimentary with the stone's color.

Aquamarine can be worn formally or informally, and is available in a wide price range of jewelry. A nice stone in a sterling silver setting can be very affordable. This beautiful blue stone that reminded the ancients of the color of seawater can be enjoyed by all.

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