How aquamarine inclusions happen
However, even aquamarine is not 100% infallible. Sometimes, the gemstone is exposed to gasses, liquids, and/or metals during formation, which results in inclusions. Inclusions are unique and interesting features of a gemstone. Many gemstones often do end up with a few inclusions, which jewelry crafters work hard to remove or reduce with cutting and treating the stones. If you see a piece of aquamarine that is cloudy or darker than normal, that means that it has many inclusions, and is usually not highly desirable. Again, though, because of the transparency of aquamarine, such major flaws will easily be noticeable and visible.
Common types of aquamarine inclusions
Specific types of inclusions found in aquamarine gemstones can be biotite, hematite, ilmenite, phlogopite, and pyrite. These inclusions are transparent and metallic. Aquamarine gemstones may also include crystals of apatite, cassiterite, epidote, garnet, quartz, and tourmaline. Lastly, aquamarine gemstones can contain what are called “snow stars.” These types of inclusions are liquid droplets found within the stone in the shape of a star. Overall, it is important to carefully examine any aquamarine stone for the different possible inclusions before deciding to purchase the gemstone.
Popular Cuts of Aquamarine
Every gemstone has specific cuts that suit its unique characteristics. In most cases, there is more than one cut that “flatters” each stone. The cut of a gemstone is usually named after the way it is shaped, though there are some that have names related to other characteristics, or after whoever discovered the cut. Each cut falls into categories: brilliant, step, mixed, etc. They are classified into one of the categories based on the shape of the facets. For example, the two most popular cuts for this precious gem are round and emerald, which are brilliant cut and step cut, respectively.
Brilliant Cut: Round Shape Aquamarine
Round cut stones are perfectly circular in shape, and they are perfectly symmetrical. It is one of the most popular cuts of almost all gemstones, and it is also one of the most expensive given its popularity. The round cut makes for a great aquamarine engagement ring. Bracelets are also popular choices for round cut aquamarine jewelry.
Step Cut: Emerald Shape Aquamarine
Emerald cut stones are named after, you guessed it, emeralds. Emeralds were and are commonly cut in this shape, leading to the name for emerald shape gemstones of all varieties. Rectangular, with slightly rounded corners, unlike the regular rectangle cut, which has pointed corners. They are popular because they are rather big, and they make quite elegant pieces of jewelry. They are beautiful in jewelry like an aquamarine and diamond ring, as well as necklaces.
Mixed Cut Aquamarine:
Some other cuts that are popular for aquamarine jewelry are:
- Oval - Can either be a wide or narrow oval shape. This cut makes for a stunning ring and can even make the finger appear slimmer. Not to mention, this specific cut does not contain any sharp corners, meaning there is less risk of the gem chipping.
- Rose - A rarer cut, with a domed surface that tapers to a point in the center. While not as popular today, the Rose cut is important to gem cutting history and dates back to the 16th century. This specific gem cut, however, has been making a comback recently given its more "vintage" look.
- Pear - Also referred to as a teardrop cut. Makes excellent necklace pendants.Like the oval cut, the pear shape aquamarine can make the finger appear slimmer when used in a ring setting.
A 1-carat aquamarine would cost approximately $675 per carat and a 2-3 carat aquamarine would be around $1,000 to $1,500 per carat. Depending on the metal and jewelry type, aquamarine can range in terms of cost for finished jewelry.
In the Beryl mineral family, aquamarine is created naturally in igneous rock in a formation called pegmatite and can also be found in alluvial deposits. Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil and Zambia are some of the countries where this gem is commonly found.
Gem labs and testers can ascertain the quality and the type of gemstone best. Aquamarine is generally in a sea-blue to green range and has crystal clear transparency and minimal inclusions.