In today’s modern culture, the Aquamarine is recognized as the birthstone for the month of March. However, in ancient Hebrew, Roman, and Arabic cultures, this gemstone was considered the birthstone for the month of October. This modern March Birthstone is a member of the beryl family of minerals and is a beautiful bluish-green or aqua in color. The coloration of this stone is a result of trace amounts of iron that work their way into the crystal. This stone possesses good hardness and luster and is an attractive and popular choice for many pieces of jewelry.
The mineral beryl, the family of which aquamarine is a member, even bears mention in the Bible in the book of Exodus in reference to different stones that were placed in the breastplate of Aaron. Pure beryl is actually colorless. When tinted with impurities, other colors such as green, blue, red, white, and yellow may occur. The beryl family of minerals gives us several beautiful gemstones including morganite, heliodor, and aquamarine. Emeralds are also a form of green beryl.
The meaning of Aquamarine comes from the Latin words that mean water and sea, or seawater. This gemstone is recognized as the Zodiac sign for Scorpio and the planetary sign for Pisces. It is also the assigned stone for the planet Neptune. In earlier cultures, it was thought that wearing Aquamarine would give the wearer beauty, honesty, happiness, loyalty, increased intelligence, and youthfulness.
There is much folklore and legend associated with this stone, especially among the seafaring population. This stone was believed to have origins from the treasure chests of mermaids. Legend states that ancient sailors would wear this gemstone to give them a safe journey and to help
ward off seasickness.
In the Middle Ages, this gemstone was thought to possess healing qualities that were effective for treating anxiety as well as reducing the effect of certain poisons. For centuries, this gemstone has been used by medicine men, healers, and shamans from a variety of cultures. Some people believe that this gemstone can help conditions such as varicose veins, sore throats, inflammation of the eyes, or arthritis if the gem is in contact with the ailing body part. There is no actual medical research to say if there is real evidence that this stone truly helps these conditions, or if it is merely a placebo effect.
Aquamarine gemstones can be found in Brazil, where the most valuable specimens are found. It may also be mined in Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. A few locations in the United States also produce this gemstone, but the largest producer worldwide is Brazil.
These stones are sometimes heated at extremely high temperatures in order to enhance their color and clarity. This can result in the blue-green color of the stone permanently changing to a pure blue color. These gemstones can be transparent to translucent and have a vitreous to the resinous luster. The hardness and durability make the gemstone a perfect choice for jewelry, along with the attractive blue or blue-green colors.