Once considered a cardinal gemstone, the discovery of large deposits around the world in the 18th century really brought down its value, although amethyst is still revered for its beautiful color. Those who collect amethyst look for stones with deep color and flashes of red. Deep Russian amethyst is the highest possible grade of amethyst, and it is quite rare.
Legend has it that of all the jewels in the world, mermaids favor aquamarine, and that the aquamarine actually originated in the treasure chest of the mermaids.
Aquamarine takes its name from the Latin words aqua marina meaning “sea” and “water” or “water of the sea”. Of all gemstones seen in modern jewelry designs, perhaps none may be refined in as many ways as aquamarine, which is lustrous and has very good hardness that is required for jewelry making. Aquamarine is the official birthstone for the month of March and also for the Scorpio zodiac sign. A member of the beryl family, the color of aquamarine can range from a blue-green to teal to pale blue and ocean blue. The beryl gemstone family also includes the slightly more popular gem – the emerald. The deep blue aqua hue of aquamarine is its most prized color and is highly sought after. This aquamarine version is found most commonly in Madagascar, and is referred to as maxixe. When exposed to heat treatment or sunlight, it will turn to white, but its color can be restored with the use of irradiation techniques. Aquamarine is derived from beryl, which is scientifically known as beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate.
Although aquamarine is mined in a number of places, including Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zambia, and in limited places in United States, the most prized and most valuable aquamarine gemstones are mined in Brazil. Most aquamarines on today’s markets are faceted, but when the aquamarine is cut in a bacohon, the stone can sometimes display the highly-valued asterism, which is also known as the cat’s eye effect. One of the largest single stones ever mined was taken from a mine in Marambaya, Brazil, in the early part of the 20th century, weighing 243 pounds. This aquamarine was cut into more than 100K carats.
Folklore Surrounding Aquamarine
Aquamarine has been beloved throughout the ages for its rich color, but it is also thought to give the wearer happiness, courage and foresight, while making them youthful and increasing their intelligence. The aquamarine is sometimes seen as a healing stone, and was used in the Middle Ages to reduce the side effects of some poison. It is said that in ancient times, sailors fashioned talismans from aquamarine in order to prevent sea sickness and keep them safe on the water. Today, those who believe in the health-regenerating properties of gemstones say that aquamarine can help to cure arthritis, varicose veins, sore throat, and eye inflammation.