March birthstone: Aquamarine
March birthstone. Now March is here to chase away dull winter greys, what better gemstone to wear than March birthstone, aquamarine? As its name – which translates as ‘seawater’ suggests, aquamarine is the fresh, bright greenish blue of a Mediterranean sea, and was once thought to be mermaids’ treasure that could keep sailors safe on the rough spring oceans. If a storm became particularly bad, sailors would try to appease the ocean deities by throwing an aquamarine overboard.
Aquamarine is the greenish blue type of beryl, whose more famous colour is the deeper blue green variety we know as emerald. Unlike emerald, though, aquamarine tends to have excellent clarity – a virtue that means the stone looks good whatever the cut. Aquamarine’s colour comes from two different types of iron. Ferrous iron gives the stone more of a blue colour, whereas ferric iron makes the gem greener.
Aquamarine gemstones are usually heat treated, which improves the clarity still further and removes some of the green colour. As is often the case with gemstones, the darker the colour of your aquamarine, the more valuable it is. Don’t let this put you off the paler stones though – they can look incredibly pretty and delicate, especially when paired with silver, platinum or white gold.
If you’re a fan of statement jewellery, aquamarine makes an excellent choice of gemstone. It forms large crystals, so the March birthstone can make sizable pieces. It’s easy to cut, so you’ll find lots of interesting shapes, cuts and even carvings to choose from. Because aquamarine measures 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it’s suitable for jewellery worn on the fingers and wrists as it can take the odd knock.
Some believe that aquamarine can not only calm the stormy seas, but also soothe turbulent emotions. Because of this it is sometimes referred to as a ‘marriage stone’. Hopefully you won’t need to use it before your 19th year together – the aquamarine anniversary!
It’s no surprise, given its associations with water, that the healing and spiritual properties of the March birthstone are said to intensify in water. What a good excuse to submerge yourself in a relaxing bath!
Kim Rix GG (GIA) – Gemstone Detective
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