Aquamarine – the Water of the Sea and March’s birthstone

As we enter March and the beginning of Spring; the associated gemstone is the beautiful blue/green Beryl: Aquamarine literally meaning the Water of the Sea.  In ancient times Romans, Greeks and Egyptians considered this to be a symbol of happiness and ever lasting youth.  It was also believed to be a talisman to protect seafarers and prevent seasickness, some believed it to be an antidote to poison and others felt it reawakened love between married couples!

Aquamarine is usually a clear, inclusion free gem which is odd as the more popular gem in the Beryl group: Emerald is seldom seen without inclusions!  Aquamarine occurs widely: from Brazil, Columbia and some regions of the USA to Zambia, Kenya, Russia and Pakistan.  The rarest and most highly prized colour is deep blue.   Pale blue/green varieties can be subject to heat treatment to remove the greenish tinge though others find this tint appealing.   Aquamarine is favoured by designers and some is carved ornamentally.

In 1910 in Minas Gerais, Brazil a 110 kilo whoppa was unearthed.  This legendary gem was expertly hand carved by Bernd Munsteiner – a famous gem cutter from Idar Oberstein creating the now famous Dom Pedro Aquamarine Obelisk which is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington.  Such an onerous task; Munsteiner took six months just to study the project before he started work.  Known for his Fantasy Cut gems;  he applied ‘negative facets’ to the reverse of the obelisk to allow the interior to light up dramatically.  He named it Ondas Maritimas (Waves of the Sea) – it weighs an astounding 10, 363 carats!

Other famous Aquamarines include the ‘Brazilian Tiara’ gifted to Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation and a 1,298ct loose gem acquired by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936.

At D J Massey we have many items of jewellery set with Aquamarine including silver pieces by Georg Jensen, pendants set in white gold, earrings, brooches and rings – we even have loose gemstones which you can select and design personally.