Aquamarine: meaning and characteristics of the sea-related gemstone
There are gems that are desired for their value and there are gems that are desired for their colour, which is absolutely unique: among these is the Aquamarine. This beautiful gemstone has seen its popularity grow in the jewellery market because of its blue colour and strong symbolic meaning: Aquamarine means ‘Water of the Sea’ in Latin, and like the sea it represents euphoria and relaxing calm; it encourages letting go of feelings, cleansing the mind of negative thoughts.
Aquamarine: the hidden meaning behind its beauty
Many legends tell stories inspired by the properties of this gemstone concerning water and the oceans. Both Greeks and Romans worshipped it and called it the ‘sailor’s gem‘: if swept up in a storm, sailors would throw aquamarine gems into the sea to appease the wrath of the gods, or wear them as amulets. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that such a stone, cut like a sphere, had divinatory properties: just as the sea becomes the mirror of the sky, so the aquamarine, by becoming a mirror, would allow one to discover the hidden meanings of reality. It is, in fact, a blue crystal of great significance to prophets, shamans, healers and mystics. The calming effects of the celestial stone are ideal for emotional, spiritual and physical healing.
Aquamarine: the characteristics
Aquamarine, from which beautiful rings, necklaces and bracelets are made, is a variant of the mineral Beryl and crystallises in a hexagonal system into beautiful blue crystals. These crystals can be up to a metre long and totally transparent. Aquamarine stone is formed from volcanic rocks and is found within granite pegmatites, in clusters of interlocking crystals; it also has properties that are particularly valued in the aeronautics and nuclear energy industries for its strength and low intensity.
The magnificent colour depends on the presence of titanium and iron and ranges from greenish-blue to blue, from turquoise to blue, from clear to opaque: ‘Milky’ aquamarines are milky due to the presence of regular inclusions.
Major deposits and varieties of aquamarine stone
Before the discovery of African deposits, the most valuable specimens were mined around 1830 in the Brazilian areas of Minas Gerais and the Ural Mountains. The Brazil is still one of the world’s largest exporters of this gemstone, although other countries such as Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia have also gained an important role in Aquamarine mining.
The varieties of Aquamarine are classified according to where they are mined: the Santa Maria Aquamarine is a rare aquamarine with an intense blue hue from the Brazilian site Santa Maria de Itabira; the Sao – Domingos Aquamarine has a classic pastel blue; the Santa Teresa Aquamarine has a brilliant turquoise blue. The Boca-Rica aquamarine is named after the Brazilian deposit where gems with exotic hues reminiscent of sea foam are mined. Pedra Azul is famous for its intense dark blue, as is the Maxixe aquamarine, mined in Madagascar.
Aquamarine jewellery: cost and value
The price of aquamarine depends on the size, the beauty of the colour and the perfection of the cut. The most common cuts are oval and rectangular: due to its characteristics and cut, aquamarine reflects a lot of light. An intense blue colour is considered more valuable than a pale blue aquamarine. Generally, larger aquamarines (above 5 ct) show a more vivid blue, which increases their value.
Among the most famous aquamarine jewellery is the necklace with aquamarine earrings that the President of Brazil gave to Elizabeth II for her coronation in 1953, in the name of the Brazilian people. But the most famous piece of aquamarine jewellery representing Rebirth and Victory is the ‘Asprey Ring’: the aquamarine and diamond ring that Princess Diana of England bought after her divorce from her husband Charles, in place of her engagement ring, for its soothing and calming properties.