The Softer Side of Blue... The Greeks proclaimed this highly prized, light blue gem aquamarine, because it sparkles like the sea touched by the sun. Found in an array of pastel tones from very light to medium blue, aquamarine is often tinted by a splash of green. The delicate greenish blue of a fine aquamarine conjures up images of dancing light on the purest of tropical waters.
Aquamarine holds its place securely among the worlds most desirable gems. Ranging in tone from a very light to medium blue, many aquamarines will exhibit a slight tint of green in their body color. Generally the darker shades are more valued, but many people prefer the lively brightness of lighter hues. Aquamarine is readily available in larger sizes over 5 carats. In fact, gem quality aquamarine crystals weighing several hundred pounds have been discovered.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.
Todays most important source for aquamarine is Brazil. Other sources include Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar and the United States.
Virtually all aquamarine is heated to minimize the greenish component of its color, making it appear a purer blue. Heat treated aquamarines are generally stable, but their color may fade if exposed to prolonged periods of high heat or direct sunlight.
Aquamarines should never be cleaned with a steam cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaning machine. Aquamarines can be cleaned with most any commercial jewelry cleaner or plain soap and water using a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning.
Photo: Robert Weldon, Copyright Professional Jeweler Magazine
Editors Note: This article is © 2002-2013 Jewelers of America Inc.