Aquamarines often undergo heat treatments to achieve their optimum colour, regularly gemmological laboratories fail to identify heat treatments at low temperatures. One can assume that the majority of aquamarines available on the market are heat treated.
From the Latin “aqua marina”, meaning sea water, which hints at the gemstone’s fascinating colour.
The aquamarine has always symbolised everlasting youth, hope, fidelity, health and friendship. Many legends and myths are associated with the aquamarine, one of the more famous has it that these watery jewels were found in the treasure chests of mermaids.
According to legend, the aquamarine was regarded as the lucky gemstone and the talisman of sailors and was carried on long journeys to bring them home safely once more.
The aquamarine, which grows in the form of a hexagonal prism, is a variety of beryl – as is the emerald – and is a beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate.
The gemstone owes its light-blue to green-blue colour to traces of divalent iron blended into its crystal structure. It resembles the shades of the ocean and the blues of the sky; some aquamarines may have a hint or, rather, a splash of green, whilst others are of a pastel or even a dramatic intense blue hue.
Larger specimens tend to have a more vivid colour than the smaller crystals, which often appear slightly watery or pale.
The most coveted origin for these gemstones is Brazil, which used to be the largest producer of gem-quality aquamarine, a crystal of over 100 kg having been found in Minas Gerais.
Other countries such as Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan have also become known for their aquamarine findings.