The birthstone for March is the serene Aquamarine. The name translate from Latin to seawater and was said to keep waters still and grant sailors safe voyage while at sea. Like emerald and morganite, aquamarine is a coloured variety of the mineral beryl. The vivid aqua blue tone stems from iron (II) impurities present in the crystal structure.
The rough crystal is beautiful in appearance. The March birthstone naturally occurs in a six-sided prismatic crystal which can grow to be more than a foot in length. The faceted form is exceptionally transparent, with the vitreous, glass-like lustre drawing many comparisons to a clear body of water. Beryl gemstones typically form large crystals, making them suitable for jewellery and rings.
The value of most aquamarine crystals is derived from the intensity of the blue colour. Unlike other gemstones, it is possible for the gemstones price to decrease with increasing carat weight. The reason for this is that in order to accumulate colour a larger volume of crystal is required. Hence, a small 1 carat aquamarine is more difficult to come by than a 20 carat stone of a similar hue.
Queen Elizabeth II is particular fond of the cool and calming aquamarine. A necklace and pair of earrings gifted by the Brazilian President for her coronation ceremony began Elizabeth’s ongoing love for the stone. She later commissioned a matching tiara to wear alongside the gift. Hollywood royalty Justin Timberlake co-designed an engagement ring for his partner Jessica Biel which featured a large 6 carat diamond, flanked by two aquamarines – a reference to her March birthday.
Aquamarine is mined in Pakistan’s Karakorum Mountains at high elevations – around 15,000 feet. The crystal is also found in Brazil, the US, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. The largest gem-quality aquamarine ever mined weighed in at a hefty 110 kg and measured just under 50 cm long.
As well as being the birthstone of March, aquamarine is the gem for the 19th wedding anniversary. In the past, some believed that it brought happiness in marriage. The gemstone is also a symbol of loyalty, honesty and unity.
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