by Amanda

Aquamarine - the stone of courage

One of the birthstones for March is Aquamarine. This stone is a variety of the mineral beryl, and its colour ranges from light blue to green. The more intense the blue colour, the more valuable the stone, and so today it is most often heat-treated to remove any green hues. During the Victorian era, however, the stone’s natural light bluish-green colour was preferred. The depth of colour is actually influenced by the amount of iron found in each gem's structure. Heat treating the stone changes the colour permanently, but the process doesn't harm or otherwise change the gem in any way.

Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin word ‘seawater’, and was known for calming waves and keeping sailors out of harm’s way. It is said to be the ‘’stone of courage’’ and women the world over wear this gemstone to bring happiness and wealth. It's tranquil colour is said to cool one’s temper, and to create a sense of calm.

Aquamarines are graded by colour, clarity, cut and carat weight. The gems usually have high transparency and clarity, being clean of inclusions to the naked eye. They can be cut into most shapes, but emerald cuts are very fashionable. Stones with eye-visible inclusions are generally made into beads, cabochons or carvings.

A very famous example of this gemstone is The Hirsch Aquamarine, an enormous 109.92 carat stone, shaped into an emerald cut. It is 100% natural and free from any heating or other colour-enhancing treatments. It has a perfect aquatic blue colour and was set in an exquisite pendant of 18 carat white gold, surround by 118 diamonds, by The House of Louis XV.

Although aquamarines are known to be hardy, care needs to be taken when trying to clean them. Rather avoid using harsh household chemicals, and use warm water with a mild soap instead. The stones can be cleaned ultrasonically as long as they don’t contain any inclusions or cracks.

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