Aquamarine: Birthstone for March
Aquamarine is a variety of beryl (Be3Al2Si6O18), making it very closely related to emerald. The stone is named from its resemblance to the bluish-green color of the ocean. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “aquamarine” is derived from the Latin aqua marina, meaning “sea water”.
According to the GIA, “The largest gem-quality aquamarine crystal mined to date is 19 inches long.” That crystal had a weight of 110 kilograms, or approximately 240 pounds. The largest cut aquamarine is owned by the Smithsonian Institution: The Dom Pedro, measuring weighing 13.75 inches in height, and 4 inches wide at the base. The Dom Pedro has a weight of 10,363 carats (over 4 ½ pounds). For a full description of this remarkable crystal, see the Smithsonian website: http://mineralsciences.si.edu/collections/dom-pedro/history.htm
Aquamarine is currently mined in Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.
GIA indicates that “the preferred aquamarine color is a dark blue to slightly greenish blue with moderate intensity and is most striking in gems of over 5-cts. Fine stones show even blue color with no zoning.” Clarity is also an important factor in choosing an aquamarine stone. The three most popular cuts of aquamarine are emerald cut, rounds, or oval brilliants.
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