The Alluring Aquamarine Gemstone

The Name: Sea Water

The Gem of the Sea; the alluring aquamarine is a stunning gemstone from the beryl(Be3Al2Si6O18) family, with an ancient lineage. The name of this sparkling wonder is of Latin origin with, the Latin words for sea water, “mare aquam” directly translating into the sea water coloured aquamarine. The birthstone of March is also popular all around the world, with many famous pieces of jewellery adorning this beautiful aqua-coloured stone.

Famous Aquamarine Jewellery

Brazilian Aquamarine Parure in the British Crown Jewels

The “Brazilian Aquamarine Parure in the British Crown Jewels” owned by Queen Elizabeth the Second is one example of marvellous pieces of jewellery containing absolutely alluring aquamarines. The jewellers at Mappin & Webb in Rio de Janeiro made these stunning pieces of jewellery. Afterwards, the President and People of Brazil presented them to Her Majesty for her coronation. The original set is a stunning necklace and matching pendant earrings. Both the pieces have multiple rectangular pieces of Brazilian aquamarine set in diamond and platinum.

The Aquamarine bracelet and pendant necklace came a few years afterwards due to the discovery of more matching Brazilian Aquamarines. Then, Her Majesty decided for a tiara made of similar aquamarine gemstones to accompany her already stunning set. This time it was Royal Court Jeweller, Garrard who was responsible for the splendid headwear. The complete set has seen the light of day on multiple occasions, and The Queen thoroughly enjoys their presence.

Brazilian Aquamarine Parure, British Crown Jewels

Belle Époque Aquamarines

Another set of beautiful aquamarine jewellery is the “Belle Époque” range. The “Beautiful Era”(Belle Époque) of Jewellery encompasses three periods of jewellery design: Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts movement, and Edwardian. All periods of jewellery used the aquamarine so that it captivates the wandering eyes. Below are some examples of pieces of jewellery from this era of jewellery.

The Colour Range of Aquamarines

The primary colour of aquamarines resulting from a mixture of blue and green. However, the aquamarine encompasses the whole gradient between blue and green. Some aquamarines are nearer to a pure green colour and additionally some are nearer to a pure blue colour. The popularity of these colours depends on mainly personal preference as well as the time period of history where jewellery is made. Additionally, in the Middle Ages, the greener varieties of aquamarine were popular while, as mentioned previously, during the Belle Époque era of jewellery the blue variety was popular. When evaluating the value of Aquamarine, the clarity and intensity of blue colour are the most important criteria.

The Aquamarine Blue and Green Mixture

The presence of Iron causes the colour of the aquamarine and displays a weak pleochroism of blue and green. Aquamarine is different from many other light blue coloured stones in that: depending on the amount of Iron in the stone, there is a varying degree of a blue-green reaction when observed under the Chelsea filter.

The Inner Workings of the Natural Aquamarine

Most natural gemstones have characteristic mineral and crystal inclusions. Aquamarine’s status as a beryl automatically indicates that it is susceptible to phase inclusions. These include two-phase and three-phase inclusions, which consists of spiky cavities filled with either liquid and/or gas. They also contain other inclusions such as fine long hollow tubes which run parallel to the length of the crystal(C Axis) often referred to as “Rain”.

This natural aquamarine is eye clean and is available in the The Gem Monarchy’s Collection. Under a Loupe and a Microscope, tiny natural crystalline two phase inclusions can be seen.

The lack of natural inclusions does not make an aquamarine a synthetic, however synthetic aquamarines are flawless without any crystal inclusions. A completely loupe clean natural stone is a rare find, however, is a commonality in our collection. Aquamarine is well known for their excellent transparency and clarity, unlike their Emerald cousins, which generally contain a lot of inclusions with a medium clarity.

A natural aquamarine from The Gem Monarchy’s collection, with a loupe clean clarity.

The alluring Aquamarine can also display asterism and chatoyancy in stones with the cabochon cut when faceted perpendicular to the C Axis, there is a Cat’s eye effect present. The natural crystal inclusions which exist within the stone causes the asterism as mentioned earlier. These stones are scarce and valuable.

Treatments of Aquamarines and Synthetics

Much of the Aquamarine in today’s market place has been heat-treated to remove greenish tinges and enhance clarity. Heating heavily included stones are at low temperatures (400-450 degrees) produces light blue stones with excellent clarity. Bluish-green stones can be irradiated to produce the yellow colour of Heliodor. Aquamarine is produced synthetically using hydrothermal and flame fusion methods, hydrothermal is the most common form of production.

Conclusion

Aquamarines are a beautiful gemstone which rivals stones of the lightest of blue and green. Additionally its history and reputation as an alluring gemstone protecting the lives of any seafarer should be the only reason why one would need to don an aquamarine on their finder, head, neck or ear.

References

Art Deco Aquamarine and Diamond Necklace 2017, Photograph, Lang Antiques, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://blog.stuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Famous-Aquamarines-Art-Deco-in-Platinum.jpg>.
Art Deco Aquamarine And Diamond Ring n.d., Photograph, Lang Antiques, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://blog.stuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1417048216_30_3_7005__1_of_6__hires.jpg>.
Belle Époque Aquamarine And Diamond Brooch 2017, Photograph, Bonhams, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://blog.stuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Famous-Aquamarine-Belle-Epoque-Brooch-in-Platinum.jpg>.
Belle Époque Aquamarine Cameo Brooch 2017, Photograph, Pearl-Nautilus, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://blog.stuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Famous-Aquamarine-Belle-Epoque-Cameo-Brooch.jpg>.
Diamond Earrings in Platinum with Art Deco Aquamarine 2017, Photograph, The Jewelry Gig, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://blog.stuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Famous-Aquamarines-Art-Deco-Diamond-Earrings.jpg>.
THE BRAZILIAN AQUAMARINE PARURE TIARA n.d., Photograph, GettyImages, viewed 17 July 2019, <https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/gettyimages-52099822-1514481983.jpg>.
Williams, C 2016, BRITISH ROYALS3RD NOVEMBER 2016 Royal Jewels in Focus: Queen Elizabeth II’s Brazilian Aquamarine Parure, Royal Central, viewed 17 July 2019, <http://royalcentral.co.uk/uk/thequeen/royal-jewels-in-focus-queen-elizabeth-iis-brazilian-aquamarine-parure-70685>.