FIREFLY'S BIRTHSTONE FOCUS: AQUAMARINE
“the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied.”
– Pliny the Elder
Hi friends! Happy March!!!
I am so excited to talk about this month’s birthstone – Aquamarine! It is just such a beautiful gemstone and is a favorite of mine!
Aquamarine is a part of the Beryl Family. This family comes in a few colors: colorless - known as Goshenite, pink - known as Morganite, red known as Bixbite, yellow – known as Golden Beryl (not too original there, haha), green – which is most famously known as an Emerald, and blue which is called Aquamarine. The name Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word for Sea Water due to the resemblance to the color of the sea! Its watery blue-green is refreshing, cool and calm and seems to glow from its core! In earlier times Aquamarine was more prized as grey green stone but today the more blue Aquamarine is the most sought after. This color can be achieved using lesser quality stones by heating or irradiating the material. This changes the color and removes any yellow, turning the gemstone towards a more blue tone. This practice is so common now that blue Aqua is generally considered to be treated in some way unless mentioned otherwise. This treatment is permanent and safe, and is considered perfectly acceptable by industry standards.
Aqua grows in many places all over the world: Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya. And here in the USA it can be found in Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. It is Colorado’s State Rock.
The largest Aquamarine ever found in highest gem quality and then cut was from Brazil is called the Dom Pedro Aquamarine, and now lives in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. Seen here, it has been cut by gem cutter Bernd Munsteiner into an obelisk with faceted design and is a whopping 10,363cts!!! It is absolutely fabulous! The largest “Gemmy” Aquamarine ever found weighed more than 200 pounds and was cut into smaller gemstones that totaled over 200,000 carats. Simply amazing!
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, Beryl is about a 7.5 to and 8, but while the hardness is actually quite good, one should still take care of this gemstone as it has a tendency to fracture as it can be quite brittle. Color-wise, Aquamarine is Pleochroic – which means that depending on the angle you view the specimen or gemstone, it might have more than 3 different shades of color, all in one stone. From gray to green to colorless to blue, Aquamarine seems to embody the true essence of water – shimmering and rippling, with depth and fluidity. This science behind this effect is caused by different wavelengths of light being absorbed differently from one another which depend on the direction the planes of crystalline structure grew and with reference to the angle you hold the stone up to your eye. The crystal is in essence, polarized. This sounds like a mouthful but in my opinion, I believe this property makes gemstones even more beautiful when they have it and it is definitely worth noting!
Legend and lore will bring us back to the sea. A symbol for happiness and everlasting youth, Aquamarine has long believed to have come from the treasure troves of mermaids and has been thought to possess protective qualities for those traveling by water, ensuring safe passage to sailors and passengers alike! It was also thought to be an antidote for poisons and was kept amongst royal families for just such occasions, and simply wearing a piece was enough to harness its healing properties – no need to ground it up and eat it, as was the thought about other gemstones of the day. The Romans would carve it into chalices to purify their drinks.
Fighters and warriors often thought Aquamarine to bring victory in war and cure pain, and historians have found many carved pieces of Aqua thought to have been brought to battle as a totem for luck, health, and protection. Fisherman would carry the stone as they believed it provided them with abundant hauls.
Also fascinating, was that oracles once used Aquamarine in fortune telling. Instead of what we now think of as a traditional crystal ball made from clear crystals such as quartz like you see on every fortune teller’s table in modern movies, Aqua was used and thought to be far superior to the clear orb used in modern pop culture. Druids from early Celtic culture used crystals for scrying and gazing, and preferred Aquamarine as it was thought to be better magnetically charged and have a stronger connection to lunar energy. Upon gazing deeply into the stone, the seer would fall into a meditative trance which would allow for the subconscious to open and download information about what was being divined to come from the beyond.
From early cultures of the Incas, First Nations, Egyptians, Persians, and Chinese, through accounts noted by Pliny the Elder, King Arthur and Julius Caesar, crystal gazing was used throughout history and Aquamarine was there from the beginning.
Today we still know Aquamarine for its believed properties of protection and courage protecting the wearer’s aura, and allowing for faster and more adept understanding of situations resulting in quicker decisions and faster response time. It can help with spiritual awakening and development providing stability to one’s emotions while navigating the journey to Higher Self and emits calming, gentle energy.
Activating the Throat Chakra, Aquamarine can encourage verbal communication and creative expression. And it can even be considered a cooling stone, thought to bring down the heat of infection and inflammation. A cool blue-green, Aqua’s nature is truly “Go with the Flow!”.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this month’s birthstone! Aquamarine is such a lovely stone and I hope you consider picking some up for yourself! And possibly if you were to get your hands on a lovely sphere of Aquamarine, you could try your own hand in crystal gazing and divination!
Happy March, everyone, and Happy Birthday, March Babies!!!