Aquamarine is a stunning light blue variety of beryl, an aluminum-based mineral, known for its captivating shades and brilliance. As a semi-precious gemstone, it is cherished for its beauty and durability, making it a popular choice for jewelry and gemstone collections.
Aquamarine boasts a light blue color that ranges from pale sea-green to deep turquoise. Although colorless varieties exist, they are exceedingly rare. The stone’s color is attributed to trace amounts of iron impurities within its crystal structure.
With a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, aquamarine is a durable gemstone that can withstand the normal wear and tear associated with daily use in jewelry. This makes it an ideal choice for everyday wear pieces like rings and bracelets.
Aquamarine’s refractive index ranges from 1.56-1.57. Its high refractive index contributes to the gemstone’s intense brilliance and sparkling appearance.
This gemstone exhibits pleochroism, a phenomenon where slight color changes can be observed when viewed from different directions. This adds to the unique character and visual interest of aquamarine.
Dispersion is a property that distinguishes natural aquamarine from synthetic varieties. The complex interplay of light within the gemstone enhances its overall beauty and allure.
Occurrence and Sources
Found in Deposits
Aquamarine is typically found in igneous pegmatite deposits and alluvial deposits, which are created by the weathering and erosion of primary deposits.
The major sources of aquamarine are:
- Maine (USA)
Although aquamarine is the most common type of beryl, gemstone-quality crystals are relatively scarce. As a result, most aquamarine stones undergo treatment after extraction to enhance their color and clarity.
Value and Pricing
Factors Affecting Value
Aquamarine’s value is determined by factors such as color intensity, clarity, and cut quality. Deep, vivid blue aquamarine with high clarity and brilliance commands the highest prices.
Depending on these factors, aquamarine prices can range from $30 to $200 per carat for small, lower-quality stones. High-end aquamarine, on the other hand, can sell for $500 to $5,000 per carat or more.
Enhancements like heat treatment can increase the apparent quality and price of aquamarine. However, naturally occurring, untreated aquamarine is scarce and generally considered more valuable.
Aquamarine is a popular gemstone used in various forms of jewelry, including:
Gemstone Beads and Loose Stones
This versatile gemstone is also used for creating gemstone beads or loose stones in graduated strands or tennis necklaces.
Cocktail and Dublee Rings
Aquamarine stones are often featured in statement pieces like cocktail rings or dublee rings, which have two bands of stones.
Gemstone Collections and Specimens
Aquamarine gemstones make attractive additions to gemstone collections and specimens, showcasing their unique characteristics and captivating colors.
Although rare, some aquamarines are used industrially as laser crystals.
Aquamarine is a captivating gemstone with a unique light blue hue that has captured the hearts of many throughout history. Its physical properties make it suitable for various uses, from jewelry to industrial applications. Sourced from multiple locations worldwide, its value is influenced by factors such as color intensity, clarity, and cut quality. Natural, untreated aquamarine is rare and highly sought after, commanding premium prices.
Whether used for jewelry, gemstone collections, or other purposes, aquamarine’s beauty and durability ensure that it will remain a popular choice for years to come. Its unique combination of physical properties and eye-catching colors make it an enchanting gemstone that continues to captivate the hearts and imaginations of those who encounter it.
As a semi-precious gemstone, aquamarine offers an attractive and affordable option for those who appreciate its stunning beauty. Its rich history, interesting physical properties, and wide range of uses make it a fascinating and versatile gemstone that will continue to enchant and inspire future generations. So, whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting to explore the world of gemstones, aquamarine is an excellent choice to consider adding to your collection.