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This month we celebrate March birthdays and their lovely birthstone - Aquamarine. With its cool, tranquil color Aquamarine speaks true to its Latin roots aqua marina "water of the sea". Because of its resemblance to the ocean, sailors would wear talismans made of aquamarine believing it would offer protection from the elements and safe passage across the stormiest of seas. Wherein the Middle Age they believed the gemstone acted as an antidote to any poison.
Chemical Composition: Be3Al2Si6O18
Crystal Structure: Hexagonal
Specific Gravity: 2.72
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 - 8
Refractive Index: 1.577 - 1.583
Environment: In granite pegmatites
Anniversary: Aquamarine is believed to enhance the happiness of marriages to which it is the chosen gem to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary.
Much of aquamarine is found in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil which has been a key source for the past two centuries. But is also found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarine comes from the mineral Beryl comprised of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. It is the sister stone of Emerald, Morganite, Golden beryl, and Bixbite – all part of the beryl family. Emerald gets its deep green color from trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium, whereas Aquamarine obtains its color from iron oxides within the chemical makeup of the crystal.
Unlike Emerald which is usually oiled to improve color as well as to fill fractures that make the stone subject to breakage, Aquamarine requires no special treatment and possesses a durable hardness allowing it to be made into a wide range of jewelry designs. It is also more readily available, moderately priced and complements almost any skin or eye color, making it an all-time gemmy favorite to many.
Just 30 ft away from the Hope Diamond, standing nearly 14 inches tall and weighing 10,363 carats is the "Dom Pedro" Aquamarine in the Smithsonian's Gem and Mineral Collection. The obelisk-shaped fantasy-cut gem is the world's largest faceted aquamarine and, arguably, the most beautiful example of March’s birthstone.
The dazzling caribbean blue specimen was mined in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and named after Brazil’s first two emperors, Dom Pedro Primeiro and his son, Dom Pedro Segundo.
In 1992, “The Picasso of Gems” and “Father of the Fantasy Cut”, Bernd Munsteiner, transformed the original 57 lb rough aquamarine crystal into the beacon of beauty and light we see today. Four months he spent studying the crystal before meticulously carving, faceting and polishing the stone over another 6 month period. The German's craftsmanship has collectors the world over constantly seeking his sculptural gems.
Alchemy Treasure: One of a Kind Todd Reed Citrine Ring cut by Bernd Munsteiner. (Ring is sold)