Aquamarine, the birthstone of March, has a mesmerizing color range from pale to deep blue and is reminiscent of the sea, thus its name. It creates a brilliant accent to spring and summer wardrobes, and with little to no yellow in it, aquamarine pairs spectacularly with different colored metals and gemstones. I easily draw design inspiration from aquamarine’s pastel hues, and I love creating custom pieces using aquamarine for my March baby clients. So let’s dive right in and learn more below about this gemstone of the sea!
What is Aquamarine?
The name “aquamarine” immediately brings to mind a range of blues from a pale pastel to a greenish deep blue “sea” color. While the darker and more intense shades of blue are increasingly rare and quite valuable the smaller aquamarines tend to be less vivid and more affordable.
Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large gemstones have been found all over the world, including one gemstone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds! Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long. This makes it a great gemstone to be cut and polished in larger carats for bold statement jewelry pieces. And with a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale, this March birthstone is durable enough for everyday wear.
The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has been an important source of aquamarine for the past two centuries. Aquamarines are found in the primary (hard rock) and secondary (weathered) pegmatite deposits in the eastern portion of the state, near the gem center of Teófilo Otoni.
History & Lore
For centuries, this timeless gemstone has been a symbol of youth, hope, health, and fidelity. Since aquamarine is the color of water and the sky, it is said to embody eternal life itself! The serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. Unsurprisingly, aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin word for “seawater” with ancient mariners claiming the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine was linked to the apostle St. Thomas who frequently traveled by boat.
The Sumerians, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Greeks all admired aquamarine gemstones. Roman physicians even used it to treat overeating and bloating. Beads were discovered with Egyptian mummies, and it was believed that the High Priest of the Second Temple wore aquamarine stones engraved with the six tribes of Israel. Two thousand years ago, people in Greece engraved designs into aquamarine stones, turning them into intaglios.
As for famous aquamarines, in 1936 the government of Brazil gave First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt a dark blue rectangular step cut aquamarine that weighed 1,298 carats. It is now housed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. (pictured above)
Kristen Baird Jewelry & Aquamarine
Emerald Cut Ripple Rings: This signature emerald cut Ripple Ring is probably the best piece that showcases the beauty of aquamarine! As if dropped into a smooth, still pond, a dazzling emerald cut aquamarine emerges from the center of this eccentric Ripple Ring, while the band gently flows outward in small, undulating waves. It’s sister ring, in 18K yellow gold with diamonds also boasts a textured band that rises and falls ever so slightly with a peaceful flow like rippling water. Our 18K version is brand new and we are so excited to be showing it!
Chrysoprase Cuff: This custom piece demonstrates just how versatile and complementary aquamarine can be when used with other stones. My client came to me with an image of a cuff bracelet that his wife had sent him. Unfortunately, that particular Kristen Baird cuff was one-of-a-kind and had already sold. That was no problem though, as I was able to create a new cuff inspired by the original cuff, and as you can see, the result was fantastic! This piece is made of solid sterling silver with 18K yellow gold accents for a beautiful two-toned look. At the center sits a gorgeous chrysoprase cabochon flanked by green amethyst, blue topaz, aquamarine, and Peruvian chalcedony gems. I received a message from the delighted recipient who was enjoying her Hawaiian vacation and LOVED her new cuff. I'd say that's a success story!
Overall, in my opinion, you just can’t go wrong with aquamarine! Of course, I’m a huge fan of blue gems so I guess I’m just biased. If you have a question or would like to work on an aquamarine piece for yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I love working with this birthstone and look forward to incorporating it with a few special projects that I have coming up!