Legend has it that Aquamarine is the treasure of mermaids. These lovely sea sprites gifted pieces of the gemstone to sailors they favored as a talisman of luck and protection. The ancient Romans considered Aquamarine to be the sacred stone of Neptune.
It’s no wonder that Aquamarine is associated with water, its calming blue hue is the color of the sea, but also mirrors the color of the sky. Given its color and association with water, it comes as no surprise that Aquamarine’s name is derived from the Latin words, which mean “water of the sea”.
“I love Aquamarine,” says artist Naomi Sarna. “I would rather carve Aquamarine than anything else. It feels good to me. It’s a very cooperative stone. Some stones seem to carve themselves and Aquamarine is one of them. As I am carving, the inner life of the stone suggests how it wants to be carved.”
The birthstone for March, Aquamarine is mined all over the world with major sources in Brazil and the Karakorum Mountains in Pakistan. It is also found in Madagascar, Vietnam, Zambia, Nigeria and Myanmar. A form of beryl — Emerald is in the same family — Aquamarine gets its color from traces of the mineral iron oxide as it is forming within the earth.
“I find the color of Aquamarine very appealing,” comments Sarna. “I like slightly darker Aquamarines, but I tend toward a middle ground, a balance of blue and green — blue but with some green in it. Aquamarines are a very pretty color. It’s very aesthetically pleasing and Aquamarine is flattering to most skin tones.”
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), reports that Aquamarine grows in beautiful six-sided prismatic crystals that on rare occasions can be more than a foot long. It also tends to be a very clean stone, free of inclusions. On the Mohs hardness scale, Aquamarine registers a 7.5 to 8 hardness out of 10 making it strong enough for everyday wear.
“Aquamarine wears well and it’s readily available in good quality, sizable pieces. I like to work with larger pieces of rough material,” notes Sarna. “Every stone has its own color and scent. There are variations in the material for all stones and there are even harder and softer spots within the same stone. I also find the natural shape of an Aquamarine crystal to be quite pleasing.”
Access to larger sizes of the gem, allows Sarna to create bold pieces softened by her special satin finish giving the jewel a subtle glow that enhances the flowing lines of the carving. She also finds that Aquamarine polishes really well.
“A softer satin finish allows you to see the artfulness of the piece and how light moves around inside the stone. A high polish shine is a distraction from that,” says Sarna. “I like the way a satin finish feels.”
She points to her Aquamarine Shell Brooch, which features a satin finish, that replicates the feel of a shell found in the ocean, while at the same time highlighting the curves of the carving. “The Shell Brooch has a watery feel to it. When light from the back hits the satin surface it creates that watery feeling,” explains Sarna.
While a gift of Aquamarine jewelry is perfect for those with a March birthday, it is an especially nice present for those who have been married for many years as it is said to revive love. With that benefit in mind, Aquamarine has become the 19th-anniversary wedding gift.
Its serene color combined with its reputed powers of protection and ability to encourage love to bloom makes Aquamarine jewelry an ideal gift for birthdays and any occasion that celebrates love.
“I always feel ‘right’ when I’m on the water, rocking on the waves. I love to sleep on the water, and when I’m far out at sea and can’t see land, I feel insignificant and that feels right,” concludes Sarna. “Aquamarine reminds me of how I feel when I’m around water.”
By Amber Michelle