A pleasant gem to hold and own, aquamarine belongs to the beryl family of mainerals.
Often occurring in lighter shades of "sky" blue aquamarine has been a long time
favorite gem of The USA and Europe. Colored by iron, the color ranges from light
blue to greenish blue. Aquamarines can be found in Brazil, Russia, Zambia, Tanzania,
Sri Lanka, Madagascar, California and Myanmar. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5-8 with
the cleavage being indistinct and the fracture conchoidal to uneven. Aquamarine
occurs from small sizes to very large crystals reaching a few feet in height. Aquamarine
is a member of the beryl family, a group of gemstones including: Emerald (green
beryl), Heliordor (golden beryl), Goshenite (colorless beryl), Morganite (pink beryl),
Bixbite (red beryl), Maxixe (Blue beryl which color fade in sunlight). Aquamarine
is the name given to iron colored beryl which comes in colors from pale blue to
rich sky blue or greenish blue. Aquamarine was named by the Romans over 2000 years
ago, derived from words that mean ?water of the sea?, which is what it reminds one
of with its clear blue color. The preferred color today is rich sky blue. Most aquamarine
occurs without any, or very few, inclusions, making it a very eye-pleasing stone.
Because of the shape of the rough that occurs as long prismatic crystals, aquamarine
is most often fashioned as a step-cut emerald shape. Aquamarine is a ?dichroic?
stone which means that it shows more than one color, depending on which way you
look at it. From one view it may appear a rich blue, greenish, or greenish-blue
while from another angle it may appear to be nearly colorless. Nowadays most of
the aquamarine in the market owns its deep coloration from heat treatment at 400
to 450 degres of lower colored material. This coloration is stable unlike the possible
coloration resulting from irradiation. Most aquamarine mined today comes from pegmatites
in Brazil, but it is also found in alluvial gravels as well. Fine aquamarines are
also found in the Sakangyi area in the west of the Mogok stone tract in Burma (Myanmar).
Other occurrences are in Australia, Russia, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya,
Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, and India. Each locality produces a different
color variation, sometimes making it possible to identify a stone?s origin from
color alone. Aquamarine is brittle and sensitive to pressure. It is also sensitive
to high temperature and may loose color if heated to high. Care must be so taken
when making some aquamarine jewelry.