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About Aqumarine - History and Introduction

Historical values 2005 - 2016



Color Description; Occurrence

1 ct.

3 ct.

5 ct.

30 ct.

134 - medium very strongly greenish Blue; very slightly greyish (heated). Origin: Brazil.

Alternative name, occurrence category: Rare





130 - medium light very strongly greenish Blue; strong (heated)

Alternative name, occurrence category: Rare





121 - light Green-Blue or Blue-Green; strong (unheated)

Alternative name, occurrence category: Common





111 - light very strongly bluish Green; very slightly greyish (unheated)

Alternative name, occurrence category: Common





127 - very light very strongly greenish Blue (unheated)

Alternative name, occurrence category: Common





129 - light very strongly greenish Blue; very slightly greyish (heated)

Alternative name, occurrence category: Common





About Aquamarine - History and Introduction

Aquamarine is a blue to green-blue variety of precious beryl. The beryl group of minerals is most famous for chromium-rich, green emerald, which happens to be one of the 'precious four' gems of the world (diamond, sapphire and ruby are the remaining three). Aquamarine is one of the official birthstones for those born in March. Aquamarine is exceptionally hard and has an outstanding vitreous (glass-like) luster. It is most famous for its breathtaking sea-blue colors which can range from light to dark-blue. The name 'aquamarine' was derived from an old Latin expression which meant 'seawater'.

Aquamarine and emerald belong to the same family, but they are surprisingly different. Aquamarine and emerald are both beryllium aluminum silicates. While emerald is colored by trace amounts of chromium (and vanadium), aquamarine color is the result of iron impurities within colorless beryl crystal. Aquamarine and emerald have essentially the same specific gravity and refractive index, but emerald tends to be hazy and full of inclusions, whilst aquamarine has excellent transparency and clarity. Aquamarine, and other types of beryl, are quite durable and hard, ranging from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. A dark and deeply saturated blue is the most desirable and valuable aquamarine colour. Other varieties of beryl include morganite, goshenite, golden beryl (heliodor), green beryl and bixbite.

World-Famous Aquamarine

There have been huge finds of aquamarine weighing several tons that didn't qualify for cutting due to their weak, gray or opaque color. The largest find of gemstone quality aquamarine dates back to 1910 when the "Minas Gerais" mine in Marambaya, Brazil, unearthed a stone of 243 lb (110.5 kg), 18 inches (48.5 cm) long and 15.5 inches in diameter, that was cut into many gemstones with a total weight of more than 100,000 carats.

The 'Dom Pedro', weighing 26 kg and cut in Idar-Oberstein, Germany in 1992 by the gemstone designer Bernd Munsteiner, is the largest single piece of aquamarine to have ever been cut.

Aquamarine can typically be identified by its unique sea-blue colours. It is rather hard and has a vitreous luster. Aquamarine stones have excellent clarity and transparency compared to many other similar gems. The intensity of color and the clarity of the stone are the most important criteria when evaluating aquamarine, followed closely by quality of cut. Aquamarine is coloured by trace amounts of iron and testing of composition, trace elements and its six-sided crystal structure can easily distinguish it from other blue-green stones.

Aquamarine Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top

The leading producer of aquamarine is Brazil, with many mines spread throughout the country. Other deposits of aquamarine are sourced from Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in several U.S. locations. Karur, India recently has become one of the biggest suppliers of aquamarine.

Buying Aquamarine and Determining Aquamarine Gemstone Value

Aquamarine Colour

Like seawater, aquamarine can be light-blue, dark-blue, blue-green and green-blue. The more saturated the colour, the higher the value, although almost all aquamarine is typically a lighter blue tone. A deeply saturated blue is the most desirable colour, but it is very rare in larger specimens. The intensity of colour is one of the most important criteria when evaluating colored gemstones, but unlike other gems, aquamarine is not diminished by lesser colour intensity; many people actually prefer the more crystal-clear lighter gemstones over the richer, deeper colours.

Aquamarine Clarity and Luster

Aquamarines of the best quality are eye-clean, transparent gems. Some gems can carry inclusions of long, hollow rods, a trademark of the beryl family. Aligned traces of foreign minerals, a rare feature, cause a cat's eye effect (chatoyancy) or star effect (asterism) with six rays in a vivid sheen. Cat's eye aquamarine usually commands high prices. Six-rayed specimens with asterism or 'star aquamarine' is exceptionally rare and very valuable. Aquamarine has a vitreous (glass-like) luster when cut.

Aquamarine Cut and Shape

Aquamarine is available in both faceted and cabochon cuts. Beryls are particularly well-suited for rectangular or square cuts. The most favored cut for aquamarine is an emerald step-cut. Brilliant cuts with long or rectangular shapes are also very popular. Turbid and chatoyant specimens are cut en cabochon, as well as cat's eye and star aquamarine specimens. Skilled gem cutters can facet any shape imaginable with aquamarine. The most common cuts are traditional shapes such as round, pear, oval and cushion. Fancy cuts are difficult to find in larger sizes. Aquamarine and other types of beryl are sometimes carved into ornamental figures and animal gemstone carvings.

Aquamarine Treatment

Aquamarine gemstones are often heat-treated for color enhancement, but many are untreated. Heating at low temperatures will reduce unwanted green and yellowish tones. Darker shades of aquamarine are almost always heated, as well as lower quality stones (Usually at 725-850 F or 400-450 C) in order to enhance the colour to be a favourable blue. Heating at higher temperatures would result in discolouration.


About Aqumarine - History and Introduction


Colour: blue to greenish blue

Hardness: 7.5

Refractive index: 1.57 - 1.59

Density: 2.67 - 2.75

Chemical composition: Be3Al2(SiO3)6

Crystal structure: hexagonal

Origins: Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, China.

Aquamarine is a light blue or light greenish-blue variety of beryl, with darker stones being more expensive. Heat enhancement is often applied to enhance the blue colour of aquamarines, but only clean pieces can be heated.