Aquamarine gemstone, color characteristics and prices
What gemstone is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is a precious blue-green gemstone belonging to the beryl family. Its name comes from the Latin word “aqua marina,” which means “water of the sea,” referring to its color resembling the shades of seawater.
The chemical formula of aquamarine is a variant of the mineral beryl. The general chemical formula of beryl is Be3Al2(SiO3)6. Aquamarine is a variety of beryl that gets its blue-green color from traces of iron in its chemical composition. Therefore, the chemical formula of aquamarine remains the same as basic beryl, but the traces of iron give it its characteristic blue-green hue.
Some characteristics to identify Aquamarine:
Color: The most distinctive feature of aquamarine is its light blue or blue-green color. This hue can range from pale and transparent to more intense and deep. High-quality aquamarine has a vibrant and consistent color.
Hardness: Aquamarine has a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively resistant to scratches. However, it is important to handle this gemstone with care to avoid damage.
Transparency: High-quality aquamarine is generally transparent or slightly translucent, making it suitable for use in jewelry, especially when cut with precision.
Cut: Aquamarine can be cut into various shapes to maximize its beauty. Common cuts include round, oval, and pear-shaped.
Origin: The major sources of aquamarine extraction include Brazil, Madagascar, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Pakistan. Brazil is known for producing some of the world’s finest aquamarines.
Value: The value of aquamarine depends on the color, size, purity, and cut of the stone. Aquamarines with a more intense and deep color are generally considered more valuable. Larger stones can be more expensive than smaller ones of the same quality.
Symbolic Meaning: Aquamarine is often associated with symbolic values like purity, tranquility, and serenity. It is believed that this gemstone can promote calmness and mental clarity.
Use in Jewelry: Aquamarine is widely used in jewelry such as rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. It is appreciated for its delicate beauty and is often used in high-end jewelry.
Where Are the Main Sources of Aquamarine Found?
Aquamarines are extracted from various parts of the world, but the main sources of extraction include:
Brazil: Brazil is one of the major producers of high-quality aquamarines. States like Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo are known for producing aquamarines with vibrant color and transparency.
Madagascar: Madagascar is another important source of quality aquamarines. Gems from this region can vary in terms of color and quality.
Nigeria: Nigeria is known for its good-quality aquamarines, often in light and transparent shades.
Mozambique: Mozambique has emerged as a growing source of aquamarines, producing gems with vibrant colors.
Pakistan: Pakistan is known for aquamarines from the Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions.
Each region has its unique characteristics in terms of color, quality, and size of the stones extracted. Brazil, in particular, is known for its high-quality aquamarines, often in a brilliant blue color. However, the availability and quality of aquamarines can vary over time, depending on mining conditions and deposits.
What Is the Value of Aquamarine?
The value of aquamarine varies based on several key factors, including color, size, purity, cut, and the stone’s origin. Here are some of the main factors that influence the value of aquamarine:
Color: Color is one of the most critical factors in evaluating aquamarine. Stones with a more intense and vibrant color, ranging from light blue to blue-green, are generally considered more valuable. Aquamarines with a richer color tone are of higher value.
Size: As with many gemstones, size has a significant impact on value. Larger aquamarines are generally more expensive than smaller ones of the same quality.
Clarity: The purity of aquamarine, i.e., the presence of inclusions or imperfections, can influence its value. Stones with few visible inclusions are considered more valuable. However, some inclusions may be acceptable if they do not significantly affect the overall appearance of the stone.
Cut: The cut of aquamarine can greatly enhance its value. A well-executed cut can maximize the stone’s beauty and brilliance.
Treatments: Some aquamarines may undergo heat treatment to improve or stabilize their color. This is a common and accepted practice in the gemstone industry. However, it’s important for consumers to be informed if a stone has been treated, as it can affect the price.
Origin: The origin of the stone can influence its value. For example, aquamarines from Brazil are often highly prized for their vibrant color.
Considering all these factors, high-quality aquamarines can have prices ranging from several hundred dollars per carat to thousands of dollars per carat. Larger, high-quality stones with exceptional colors can be particularly valuable.
What Does “Santa Maria” Aquamarine Mean?
“Santa Maria” aquamarine is a term that refers to a variety of high-quality aquamarine with a particularly desirable and intense color. This name is originally associated with the locality of Santa Maria de Itabira, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, which has been one of the primary sources of this precious gemstone.
The distinctive feature of “Santa Maria” aquamarine is its vivid color. Gemstones defined by this name are known to have an intense and vibrant blue color that ranges from sky blue to blue-green. Their color is often compared to the blue of the sky or the color of tropical seas. Aquamarines with these characteristics are highly valued and considered among the most precious in the world of gemstones. The name “Santa Maria” has thus become a brand for high-quality blue aquamarines, although today these stones can come from various sources beyond Santa Maria de Itabira, including other locations in Brazil and around the world. When seeking high-quality aquamarine, the term “Santa Maria” is often used to indicate the highest quality of color and purity.
Famous Jewelry with Aquamarine:
Aquamarines have been used in a series of famous and iconic jewelry pieces over the years. Here are some examples of famous jewelry featuring aquamarines:
- “Collier de la Reine” (The Queen’s Necklace): This extraordinary necklace was created for Queen Marie Antoinette in 1776. It was adorned with a notable oval aquamarine at the center. The necklace is now preserved at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
- “Blue Giant of the Orient”: This is one of the largest cut sapphires in the world, but it is sometimes mistakenly called “aquamarine” due to its blue color. It was sold at auction for a substantial amount and was mounted in a ring somewhere.
- Imelda Marcos’ Ring: Former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, was known for her extensive jewelry collection, including a large ring with a central aquamarine surrounded by diamonds.
- Royal Jewelry: Queens and princesses from around the world have worn aquamarines in crown jewels, tiaras, brooches, and other ornaments. These royal jewels often feature high-quality aquamarines.
- Celebrity Jewelry: Many celebrities have worn aquamarine jewelry at public events. For example, Princess Diana had a collection of aquamarine jewelry that she wore on special occasions.
- High-Fashion Jewelry: High-fashion jewelry designers often create exclusive pieces featuring aquamarines in combination with other precious stones and fine materials. These high-fashion jewels are worn by celebrities on the red carpet.
These are just some examples of famous jewelry with aquamarines. Aquamarines are widely appreciated for their beauty and unique color, and they are likely to continue being used in high-end jewelry and iconic pieces in the years to come.