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March Birthstone - Aquamarine

March’s stone is the aquamarine. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family of stones and ranges in color from a nearly colorless pale blue to a rich blue-green/teal color. In the 19th century, sea green varieties of the stone were the most highly desired, but now, the most valuable shade for an aquamarine is a deep-blue aqua color. The name comes from the Latin words “aqua marina” which translates to “sea water”.

Oval cut aquamarine and diamond halo ring by Coast Diamond
Oval cut aquamarine and diamond halo ring by Coast Diamond.

The most valuable aquamarines in the world are mined in Brazil, but the stones are also found in Afghanistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The gem was named for the Latin aqua marina, meaning seawater and is known for its tranquil blue hues. The aquamarine is a sister to the emerald and is believed to reawaken love, kindle friendships and elevate the spirit.

A roman history of aquamarine

The aquamarine was one of the most popular jewels adorned by Roman citizens in ancient times. Aquamarine jewelry was one of the most common wedding gifts from a husband to his bride, as husbands believed that the stone absorbed the atmosphere of young love.

The Romans also believed that if an aquamarine had the carving of a frog inscribed on it that it would help enemies mend their differences and become friends.

Roman and Greek sailors both believed the aquamarine to be a stone that would ensure safety and prosperity during stormy seas. It was also commonly worn by soldiers under the belief that it made soldiers invincible in battle and would lead to certain victory.

Art Deco aquamarine and diamond dinner ring
Art Deco aquamarine and diamond dinner ring.

HISTORY OF THE AQUAMARINE- MIDDLE AGES

One of the most important mystical stones during the Middle Ages, the aquamarine was commonly cut into the form of a crystal ball and used by mystics (including the famous Dr. John Dee, who used it to determine the best coronation date for Queen Elizabeth I). During this time, the aquamarine was also believed to have the ability to rejuvenate the love of married couples and was believed to be an antidote to poisons. Because of the frequency of poisonings amongst royalty, the aquamarine became a very sought after stone. While other stones needed to be ground into a powder and ingested to fight poison, the aquamarine would provide the same results while simply being worn in jewelry.

The aquamarine was also perceived as the cure to belching and yawning. It was considered to be an effective treatment for ailments of the jaw, throat, liver, stomach, and toothaches. The gem was even used in ceremonies to bring about rain when needed, or to bring about drought to one’s enemies. Wearing aquamarine as an amulet was said to cure laziness, reduce anxiety, quicken intellect, and to make the wearer friendlier.

Custom engagement ring with aquamarine center
Custom engagement ring with aquamarine center.

RELIGIOUS HISTORY OF THE AQUAMARINE

The aquamarine had a strong significance with the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hebrews, who all viewed it as a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth. In the Christian era, the Apostle, St. Thomas is often identified with the aquamarine because he consistently made long journey across the sea to preach salvation.

FUN FACTS ABOUT AQUAMARINES

  • In 1935, the Brazilian government presented Eleanor Roosevelt with a 1,847 carat aquamarine. The beautiful stone is currently on display at the Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Aquamarines were once commonly used as lenses for eyes glasses in Germany. They were used to correct short-sightedness.
  • Aquamarine is the official gemstone of Colorado.
  • The largest aquamarine in recorded history was discovered in 1910, in Brazil. It weighed 243 pounds, and was cut into smaller stones which yielded over 200,000 carats.
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