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Aquamarine: descriptoption, properties and photo

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a type of beryl mineral. The gemstone got its characteristic name for its color. From the latin «aqua marina» – «sea water», which is a true description of the color of the mineral. A characteristic of natural aquamarine is its color: bluish green, greenish blue, sky blue, sky blue to dark blue (very rare). Usually it has a very light color, which is clearly visible only in large specimens. Rare blue-colored gem beryls are known as «maxixe». They were first found in 1917 in Brazil at the Maxixe mine. Their color is unstable and tends to fade quickly in the light. Saturated color instances are also referred to by the trade term “Santa Maria.” According to their properties, these stones are similar to maxixe, but usually their color is slightly lighter. If the color is almost green, with only a faint blue tint, then such an instance would be more correct to consider simply beryl. We tell you more about coloring in the Buyer’s Guide.

Aquamarine

This natural gem is found in nature in the form of elongated prismatic crystals of various sizes. Aquamarine is not characteristic of the content of noticeable inclusions. However, sometimes they may contain characteristic gas-liquid inclusions, channels and cracks. Gem aquamarines are often obtained by heat treatment of green and yellowish-green beryls. The winning properties of the stone are high hardness

The winning properties of the stone are high hardness and imperfect cleavage in one direction – allow it to be used in various types of jewelry without fear for its wear resistance. And such a property as dichroism must be taken into account when cutting it, placing the optical axis of the stone in such a way that the saturated color goes to its site. Deposits are known on all continents. The largest crystals are in Brazil and Pakistan. Other deposits are located in India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, the United States and other countries.

DEPOSITS

Brazil is one of the most important suppliers of largest aquamarine crystals. Many gem quality crystals are also found in India and Pakistan. Madagascar and Mozambique have been pleased with finds with good color in recent years. In Russia that stone is mined in Zabaikal’e (Sherlovaya Gora), but the quality of crystals can be attributed to the average. Good quality aquamarine crystals are also found in other countries, for example, in Nigeria.

Aquamarine Crystals

Properties

Mineral:

beryl, a variety aquamarine

Chemical formula:

Be3Al2Si6O18

Crystal Systems: 

hexagonal

Mohs scale hardness:

7.5-8

Optical character:

Anisotropic

Cleavage:

very imperfect in one direction

Density:

2.72 g / cm3

Lustre:

Vitreous

Refractive index: 

1,577-1,583

Birefringence:

0.005-0.009

Dispersion:

0.014

Color:

Blue, Greenish Blue

Interesting facts

  • Among the favorite jewelry of the English Queen Elizabeth II there is a wonderful jewelery set with aquamarines: tiara, necklace, bracelet and earrings. It was a gift to the Queen of England from the President of Brazil.
  • The largest crystal of blue beryl of gem quality was mined in Brazil and weighed 110 kg.
  • The largest faceted specimen in the world has the name "Dom Pedro" and weighs 10,363 carats. It was faceted by german cutter Bernd Munsteiner in 1993.

History

Aquamarines have been known as gemstones since ancient times. Beads were found during excavations in Egypt. They were made around 3000 BC. Beryl is among the high priest Aaron's breastplate of gems. Pope Julius II had a tiara, which is a gorgeous stone in silver. The daughter of Charles the Third at her wedding was in jewelry made of silver and aquamarines, which have their own name - "Gizella Dressing".
The Roman emperor Octavian Augustus owned the aquamarine seal, on which he is depicted in the image of Poseidon riding a chariot. The crown of the Queen of Great Britain is also adorned with a stone weighing 920 carats.

Enhancement

Blue color can be obtained by heat treatment of yellowish-green beryls. It is also possible to increase the saturation of aquamarines using heat treatment. This type of treatment is used quite often. In some cases heat treatment is applied to change the external properties followed by irradiation of the beryls. The saturated color characteristic of the irradiated samples is not always stable. The stone can fade quickly enough in the light. Unbleached aquamarines with good saturated color are very rare.

Photo

rough aquamarines, Pakistan

Photo of rough aquamarines, Pakistan

On the photo: aquamarine in cushion cut

very large size aquamarine stone (over 400 carats) and excellent cut

The picture shows a very large size aquamarine stone (over 400 carats) and excellent cut

Light faceted aquamarines

Light faceted aquamarines

Photo of beryl: blue beryl - aquamarine, peach - morganite, yellow - heliodor

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