Sunday, March 20, 2016

Waves of Aqua

Photo courtesy of
Ever been caught up in a great big wave? Water seems all by itself very innocuous, harmless even. At times it feels tranquil and peaceful; but in an instant, it can become stormy and powerfully devastating. It seems fitting that people before us selected aquamarine as the stone to represent all of these feelings; using it as an amulet for health and happiness in times of peace, but also as protection against the perils of stormy seas. It even has the cool color to match...
A trillion-cut aquamarine. Photo courtesy of

What is aquamarine? It's a gemstone from the beryl family, meaning that it is a brother to stones such as heliodor and the more famous emerald. Unlike emerald however, aquamarine in its best quality is a fairly inclusion-free stone, which makes it a lot less difficult to cut. When it does bear inclusions, a tell-tale sign of a natural aquamarine is the tube-like inclusions resembling ''rainfall". It is the more commonly known birthstone of March and is best known for its enchanting blue-green color.  While some people covet the pure light blue color which is generally induced through heating, the greenish-blue hue is a beautiful sight to behold.

A rough crystal of aquamarine in its typical growth structure and etching along the faces. Photo courtesy of
It comes out of nature looking quite intriguing, really. Though they come in all sizes, aquamarine is most beautiful in rough form when they grow to be large hexagonal prisms. It is then that we can see the fascinating etch marks that run up and down the faces of the crystal. Not one is ever similar to the other, which makes each crystal a discovery of sorts.

                              The Dom Pedro Aquamarine at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.                                       Photo courtesy of
There are some exceptional specimens which grace the halls of great museums, however this hardly means that aquamarine is an unattainable gemstone. In fact, it's a stone which is quite tolerant to everyday wear; which makes it a great choice for jewelry. While of course it's always recommended to treat your gems carefully, aquamarine has a fairly high hardness level which lends itself to both casual and evening wear. It is not recommended to clean them in an ultrasonic machine if heavily included; however a simple cleaning with mild soap and a toothbrush is enough to restore its beautiful luster.

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Aquamarine ring. Photo courtesy of
Dangle earrings featuring aquamarine and diamond. Photo courtesy of
Rough aquamarine in jewelry. Photo courtesy of

I've always loved to watch waves rush up to the shore and then pull back away. It's entrancing, almost like it's calling out for you to join the tide. Finding such a feeling in a stone is so singular, don't you think?

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