As the birthstone for March, aquamarine is one of the more popular gems on the market today. But did you know that it’s more than a passing fad? Aquamarine has been popular for thousands of years among the rich and famous. It also has special significance for people of certain professions. So, what’s the history of aquamarine in general?
Aquamarine: what is it?
Aquamarine is a lovely blue variety of beryl. As a stone that’s defined largely by its color, the only shades called aquamarine are blue and blue-green. If you’ve heard the term “aquamarine blue,” you know it’s a slightly greenish-blue. However, a pure robin’s egg blue is more popular. The name derives from the Latin for seawater,, and especially with the green cast. At least partially because of this lovely blue color, aquamarine has captivated people who make a living on the high seas for thousands of years.
The Beryl Mineral Family
Other varieties include the always-expensive green emerald and the trendy pink morganite. Chemically, beryl is a beryllium aluminum silicate, and to get aquamarine some of the aluminum is replaced with iron. Raw aquamarine, like other beryl, has a hexagonal crystal structure.
Often, the top of the crystal is flat, though prismatic points are also possible. These crystals are found in both igneous and metamorphic rock, so long as there is enough beryllium to make a crystal. Deposits are found all over the world, including Siberia, India, Myanmar, Brazil, and Africa.
Aquamarine has a long history. Ancient Greeks and Romans admired its beauty and even attributed its existence to their gods. In one story, Poseidon is said to have made it out of seawater, hence its name.
Others attributed safety while working on the seas to aquamarine. Navies, traders, and even fishermen saw aquamarine as protective of them, though fishermen couldn’t usually afford it. Finally, the Romans looked to aquamarine to turn enemies into friends, and to help foretell the future.
The Middle Ages
As fascinated as the ancients were with an aquamarine stone, elites of the Middle Ages continued their obsession with it. For one thing, aquamarine was rumored to protect its wearer from poisoning, a common concern at the time. In response, many rulers purchased an aquamarine ring to wear. Other aquamarine jewelry was popular, too, including on the Czech crown jewels.
Another Christian tradition is that Aquamarine is the stone of Saint Thomas because he is the saint of mariners. Some Christians once believed aquamarine jewelry provided safety on the seas, just like their Roman ancestors.
Lastly, aquamarine is a lover’s stone. In Buddhism, it is the traditional gift from a husband to his wife the day after their wedding, because it is believed to promote a happy marriage. Medieval Christians also believed that aquamarine makes for a happy marriage. Maybe that’s why more couples today choose an aquamarine and diamond ring to symbolize their engagement. This message could be given through an aquamarine wedding ring, as well.
Jewelry: Aquamarine Popularity
Since aquamarine has been considered auspicious for so long, its use in jewelry has likewise remained popular. Prince Harry continued the tradition of giving aquamarine to his bride when, on the day of their wedding, he gave his mother’s aquamarine to Meghan Markle. This lovely emerald cut aquamarine gold ring is a stunner on her slender fingers, and it featured as a “something blue” at the reception.
Perhaps the most famous contemporary example is the aquamarine parure worn by Queen Elizabeth II. The necklace was given to her by the Brazilian government as a coronation present, and she later had other pieces made to go along with it, including a stunning tiara.
Museum Worthy Aquamarines
In addition to jewelry, there are a number of famous aquamarines in collections around the world. For instance, the Smithsonian holds the Dom Pedro Aquamarine. This is the largest faceted aquamarine at 10,363 carats, much too large to wear.
Another museum piece is the roughly 1300-carat faceted aquamarine gem given to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936 when she and President Franklin Roosevelt visited Brazil. Although probably wearable (with difficulty), this one has also not been set.
Through history, the alluring blue color of aquamarine has attracted people of all backgrounds to use it within their prized jewelry pieces.
With Clarity Aquamarine Rings
Because it’s the birthstone for March, aquamarine is still a very popular choice for everyday jewelry. At With Clarity, we sell a wide variety of aquamarine gold rings. These range in price from around $600 for a rose gold aquamarine ring, all the way up to a $2,500 aquamarine and diamond stunner.
Most options are available as an Aquamarine white gold ring, too. In order to bring you the best Aquamarine for the price, all our Aquamarines are heat-treated to increase their clarity and improve color. This is a natural and permanent treatment for natural stones. If you have any questions, please let us know. Contact us by phone at 1(844)-234-6463 or email at [email protected]. Our Live Chat is available during business hours Monday - Friday 10AM - 6PM ET.