Mohs scale hardness: 7.5-8
The counterfeit of emeralds are aquamarines. Aquamarine, meaning "water of the sea" is a birthstones for the month of March (along with bloodstone and jasper). Aquamarine is also recommended gemstones to give on the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries. It is closely related to emeralds and some call it the sister gemstones of emeralds. In fact, the emerald belongs to the same family of jewels as the aquamarine. When aquamarines are set with pearls, they look especially lovely, maybe that is because both gems have a symbolic affinity with the sea.
Most Aquamarines have pale blue color but deeper blue hue of aquamarines are actually more valuable. Aquamarines are considered to be in the same class as beryl stones (beryl means bluish-green color in Greek) which has a hardness rate of 7. Other beryl minerals include pink morganite, golden helidor and pale green beryl. Aquamarine is the most common variety of gem beryl, it occurs in pegmatite, in which it forms much larger and clearer crystals than emeralds. Aquamarines are favourite among Europeans.
Physical Properties of Aquamarine
The amount of iron within the aquamarine structure will influence the color of the stone. This is why the color varies between blue and green, it also depends on where the iron impurities are located and the concentration of iron within the beryl crystal structure. Now, because of the modern method, aquamarine gemstones can be heat-treated in order to drive out the green color and leave a more desirable darker blue. Irradiation can reserve this process. In order to make aquamarine displays a “cat’s eye” effect (aka asterism), they are cut as a cabochon. When compared to the relative abundance of this gem, the costs of producing synthetic aquamarine are very high, that is why it is hard for you to find synthetic aquamarine on the market. Aquamarines are also known for being relatively free of inclusions. These stones cannot withstand high temperature and will lose their color when heated at 800-900 centigrade. Real aquamarines will feel cold to the touch and will float in bromophorm solution.
Aquamarine vs Blue TopazWhen buying aquamarine, be careful not to confuse it with blue topaz which is a far less valuable mineral (topaz and beryl are two different minerals). The physical properties of these two gems are very similar and the their colors can be identical. One of the difference between these two gems is their refraction property, topaz has stronger refraction while aquamarine has weak refraction. They also differ in composition and hardness. Sometimes jewelry dealers also like to use blue zircon which has been heated to intensify its color in order to imitate aquamarine. Blue zircon is similar to topaz, aquamarine, blue spinel and indicolite tourmaline. Therefore it is especially important to purchase these aquamarine gemstones from a reliable dealer.
It is believed Aquamarine have special properties:
- To bring love, affection and harmony to the wearer.
- To bring happiness for those whose job is related to the sea.
- If used by sailors the gemstones would guide them against evil spirits, help them overcome any storm and bring safety on their journeys.
- Helps people to quell anger and provides emotional balance.
- To purify water and grant it special healing powers.
Madagascar was the historical suorce of aquamarines. Most of the world’s aquamarines are now mined in Brazil. The natural color of Brazillian aquamarines leans toward bluish-green. Other source includes Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia in Africa as well as Afghanistan, India, The Ural Mountains in Russia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
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