Aquamarine, The March Birthstone
A Calm And Peaceful Blue Gem Stone
Aquamarine is a pale blue gem, the name combines 'aqua' meaning water, and 'marine' meaning the ocean or the sea. An interesting thing about aquamarine gemstones is that, they are generally a greenish-blue color when mined. Gem manufacturers have learnt how to heat rough aquamarine and take off the green tint, this leaves a blue color on the gem. While the color of this gem is generally a very pale blue, you could sometimes find gems with a bit more color saturation. In any case you will never find this calm and peaceful gem in a bright or loud blue color. Aquamarine is a variety of beryl, the same mineral that brought emerald, morganite and bixbite to the gemological world.
If you read that emerald is prone to cracking easily, rest assured that aquamarine (also a beryl) does not present any such problems. Backed by a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale, this gemstone is strong and sturdy. When buying an aquamarine gem or an aquamarine jewel, avoid stones that show many internal inclusions. Fissures are fine cracks that exist within a gemstone, an aquamarine should be void of any type of fissure when inspected with the naked eye. This gem in the 2 to 3 carat range should be eye clean. The pale blue color will subdue any kind of color zoning so that should not be a problem.
The practice of wearing birth stone jewels carries on to this day. Aquamarine is the March birthstone though certain birth stone charts, list bloodstone as another option for a March birth stone. Every birth stone is supposed to bring good thoughts and luck to the person who wears it. The aquamarine gemstone is credited with a few other special powers too. Wearing the gem is supposed to keep the mind alert, always ready to grab an opportunity when it arrives. Some belief also exists regarding how the gem allows a person to analyze himself or herself, this allows one to face life boldly. With this capability, a person is believed to readily accept responsibility of his or her actions.
There are about half dozen popular blue gems used in conventional jewelry. Sapphire, topaz, blue lapis, aquamarine, blue spinel, turquoise and kyanite are all available in shades of blue. Aquamarine with it's calm blue color is liked by men and ladies, men generally avoid gems with bright colors. When it comes to men's jewelry it is not just the color choice that is important, durability of the is equally important. This is mainly because men expose their jewelry to much more wear and tear as compared to the ladies. Aquamarine scores high on durability too. The hardness of 7.5, color stability and tolerance to most domestic liquids and detergents makes it suitability for men's rings, pendants and even bracelets.
We now discuss a very important issue related to light blue topaz and aquamarine. There are three main shades of blue in which blue topaz is available. One of this is the sky blue topaz which is a very pale blue. The interesting and confusing thing about sky blue topaz is that, it can sometimes closely resemble aquamarine. Some clever gem sellers have devised a way to fool innocent gem buyers, they have given this topaz the name 'aquamarine topaz' ! The truth is that aquamarine and topaz are different gems, color similarity is coincidental. Topaz is also much cheaper than aquamarine, even in sizes that are as large as 15 to 20 carats. Buying your gems and jewelry from a reputed source will ensure that you do not fall prey to such gimmicks.
However, the similarity (in appearance) of pale blue topaz and aquamarine gems can be used to your advantage. If you like the color of aquamarine and are willing to accept other natural gems that have similar color, then give sky blue topaz a try. You will save on the price and this savings will be substantial if the gemstone you need is in the 3 carat and above size range. You could infact go for a bolder design with a larger gem if you are willing to accept pale blue topaz. This might not be relevant if you need a March birthstone, topaz will not serve your purpose in this case.
The durability of aquamarine ensures that no extra fussing is required when wearing or cleaning the gem. Basic gemstone care is essential for all gems and jewelry, and this is true of aquamarine too. The gemstone can be cleaned with mild soap and water. If you find that the gem has collected dirt and therefore lost it's lustre, just soak the gem or jewel in plain water for around 10 to 20 minutes. A soft toothbrush can be used to brush the aquamarine stone clean, adding a few drops of mild liquid soap would also not damage the gem. After this, wash the jewel in clean running water and gently dab it with a soft dry cloth. Ultrasonic cleaners do not damage aquamarine, let a professional jeweler do this level of cleaning for you.
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