Aquamarine

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March Birthstone

The birthstone for March, aquamarine is one of the most popular members of the beryl family, a sibling to emerald, morganite, bixbite, heliodor, and goshenite. The color ranges, depending on the relative concentrations and location of iron within the beryl crystal structure. Aquamarine's tranquil color and crystalline clarity capture the beauty of the sea, which is fitting as its name is formed from the Latin words "aqua," meaning water, and "mare," meaning sea. A favorite among gemstone lapidaries, rough aquamarine is relatively easy to fashion, so lapidaries often create imaginative aquamarine cuts and shapes.

Aquamarine Polished
Aquamarine Classification
Common Name Aquamarine
Species Beryl
Aquamarine Optical Properties
Transparency Transparent - Translucent
Dispersion Strength: Weak Fire Value: 0.014
Refractive Index 1.577-1.583
Tolerance:(+0.017/-0.017)
Birefringence 0.005-0.009
Optic Character Uniaxial
Optic Sign Negative
Polariscope Reaction Doubly Refractive (DR)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
CCF Reaction green or blue-green
Pleochroism Dichroic, weak to moderate blue to slightly darker blue or greenish blue
Aquamarine Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 7.5
Streak White
Specific Gravity 2.670-2.900 Range:0.18/-0.05 Typical:2.720
Toughness Good
Inclusions Aquamarine is a type I clarity stone. Stones are typically clean but sometimes contain "fingerprints" and liquid inclusions, 2-phase or 3-phase inclusions, hollow or liquid filled parallel tubes, spiky cavities and tubes parallel to the length of the crystal that look like rain, mica flakes. Crystal inclusions include apatite, almandite and spessartite garnet, quartz and tourmaline. Star aquamarine will have a weak 6 or 4 rayed star and sometimes both.
Luster Vitreous
Stability Good
Fracture Conchoidal
Cleavage Poor, in one direction
Aquamarine Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name beryllium aluminum silicate
Chemical Formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6
Crystal System Hexagonal
Chemistry Classification Silicate

Aquamarine Colors

  • Green Aquamarine Green
  • Blue Aquamarine Blue

Aquamarine Spectra

Aquamarine Spectra
AQUAMARINE (Ɛ ray)

Color due to iron. Most aquamarines are too pale with very little color saturation to provide absorption lines which are easily seen. The blue extraordinary should be observed by a polarizing filter in order to detect the iron band at 427nm. with sufficient transmission on the short-wave side to make it obvious. A rather diffuse indication may also be seen of the other iron band centered at 465nm.

Jewelry Television acknowledges the significant scientific contributions of John S Harris, FGA to the study of gemstone spectra and with deep appreciation to him, acknowledges the use of his images and related notes about gemstones and their spectra in the educational materials on this website.

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Afghanistan; United States of America (the); Viet Nam; Sri Lanka; Belize; Madagascar; Zambia; Kenya; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); India; Mozambique; Pakistan; Unknown; China; Namibia; Brazil; Nigeria; Ethiopia; Nepal

History

Dive into the cool, inviting color of the wonderfully sea-blue aquamarine. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and a "sibling" stone to emerald and morganite. How can stones from the same family appear so very different? A gemstone's natural color typically comes from trace elements. In the case of aquamarine, its color comes from iron. Color is also impacted by gem treatments. Aquamarine is often heated to bring out the most desirable shades. Aquamarine is pleochroic, which means it shows different colors in different crystal directions. Heat-treatment helps eliminate pleochroism in aquamarine. Savvy lapidaries cut aquamarine to minimize the effects of any pleochroism and to optimize its fall-in-love-with-me-blue hues. Aquamarine is typically found in very large crystals, which makes it a tempting stone for collectors. Measuring 7 ½ - 8 on the scale of gemstone hardness, aquamarine is very wearable, which makes it ideal for jewelry lovers.

Shop Aquamarine

Related Videos

More About Aquamarine

The contemporary birthstone for the month of March, folklore tells us that ancient cultures believed aquamarine brought courage, luck, and calm to its wearer. It is also thought, by some, to enhance the happiness of marriage.

Aquamarine Gemstone

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Creation Classification

Lab Created

Hydrothermally grown synthetic gems crystallize slowly out of a solution (a mix of water and dissolved elements) that has been exposed to heat and pressure similar to the conditions on Earth under which the natural gem mineral grows.Synthetic gems have the same chemical, optical, and physical properties of their natural counterparts, but are a more cost-effective alternative to a natural gem.

Lab Created Aquamarine
Lab Created Classification
Common Name Lab Created
Lab Created Optical Properties
CCF Reaction green
Pleochroism Dichroic, weak to moderate, varying shades of body color
Lab Created Characteristic Physical properties
Inclusions Synthetic aquamarine is typically eye clean.Due to its synthetic nature chevron, zig-zag or undulating growth zoning is apparent.Liquid and 2-phase inclusions can sometimes be scene along with nail head spicules.
Tim Matthews

Author

Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.