Aquamarine: The Ocean Stone

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Its elegant name comes from the latin words 'aqua' and 'mare', which respectively mean water and ocean. It's no surprise why these two terms were used to describe the cascading blues of beautiful aquamarine. The modern jewellery industry places the finest colors of aquamarine at very high prices, rivaling even the 'big three' colored stones at some levels. These hues are usually devoid of any greenish or grayish cast and display a pure blue facade with medium dark tone. Saturation of course is of utmost importance, as the most vivid aquamarines incur the highest trade demand for both traditional and contemporary jewellers.


Aquamarine often comes in a greenish blue, or seafoam blue color. Its hue is caused by the presence of iron ions in the crystal composition. Heating some aquamarine can remove the greenish cast and leave the blue color to look more prominent, but this does not always apply to every stone. Some stones have resulted in a worse color after temperature heating, so gem dealers will still set high prices for beautiful heated gems.

It's become familiar in the marketplace to call fine aquamarine 'Santa Maria' blue, named after a mining locale with the same name in Brazilian territories. Many fine specimens of aquamarine crystals have come out of this area, so naturally some people adapted the name reference when trading fine stones of similar color.


Aquamarine (Light Blue Beryl) Can Be Found in Some of the Highest Clarity Levels of Any Precious Gemstone Variety.


It's been said that aquamarine has been a recent favorite of modern gem cutters, especially those who experiment with freeform shapes and designer cuts. The crystal's tendency to be more eye-clean than other colored stones (Type - I Clarity), gives manufacturers a chance to play around with how light travels in and out of the material. Aquamarine's brilliant blues and superior transparency make it an ideal candidate for abstract gem sculptures and faceted artworks.

This pastel blue beryl, while not usually as expensive as its green cousin; the emerald, has garnered a widespread popularity as one of the finest blue stones on the market. It ranks among the top choices, along with blue sapphire, blue diamond, and Paraiba tourmaline as current trade favorites.



Be sure to use gemological knowledge in separating your aquamarine gems from another very similar stone; irradiated blue topaz. The two are very similar in outward appearance, but topaz' blue color is artificially produced in all saturations. Because it doesn't have a hierarchy in color rarity, blue topaz today is actually much cheaper than aquamarine of the same likeness. Being able to tell the difference between these two popular gemstones, will surely help you master the trade and prevent any costly buying mistakes in the years to come.

Noting their differences in optic character /sign is one way of easily separating these two gem identities using a simple gemological polariscope and conosphere (Aquamarine is uniaxial, while topaz is biaxial).

Photography credits - Gemological Institute of America, irocks.com / The Arkenstone

Gemcamp Laboratories

A Discovery Institute for Gemstones and Gemology

Our resident gemologists believe in encouraging public trust within the jewellery industry through shared education, value transparency and professionalism.

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