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A guide to the March birthstone: Aquamarine

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Those born in March are lucky enough to have the stunning aquamarine as their birthstone. A beautiful blue-green in colour, the March birthstone will make a perfect gift for the Aries or Pisces in your life.

In this guide, we'll be looking at all things aquamarine, including its history and the meaning behind the name. We'll cover:

What colour is the March birthstone?


The March birthstone, aquamarine, is typically known for its luscious blue-green hue, which mimics the tone of a clean and clear ocean. However, the colour of the March birthstone can vary between pale and deep blue, depending on how it's treated. Although some aquamarine gemstones can come out of the ground blue, most natural and untreated versions of the gem are blueish-green in colour.

The most common colour of aquamarine jewellery you'll see is closer to blue than green. This colour is achieved by applying heat to the stone which is simply done for aesthetic purposes as this is the most desirable form of the gemstone.

What does aquamarine mean?


The name aquamarine comes from the Latin phrase "aqua marinus", which translates to "water of the sea", and refers to the gemstone's sparkling ocean hue. Thanks to its soothing colour that gives a nod to the relaxing effects of being by the sea, it's often considered to be a stone of enlightenment and spirituality.

There are many myths and legends about the powers and purposes for aquamarine. According to Roman folklore, when the gemstone was engraved with the figure of a frog, it could help to reconcile enemies. The Romans also believed it could enhance young love and was considered to be an appropriate gift for a bride to give to her groom on their wedding day.

The Greeks also had their own opinions about the stone's purpose. They believed that it had the power to ensure safe travels across the sea, so it was known to them as the sailor's gem. Meanwhile, in medieval times, it was thought that the aquamarine birthstone could reawaken love and give ultimate strength to soldiers.

For the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Hebrews (now known as Israelites), aquamarine was symbolic of happiness and everlasting youth. And, during the early Christian era, it was associated with St. Thomas the Apostle, as it mimicked the ocean and he was known for travelling the seas to preach salvation. Plus, as a rumoured antidote for poison, it was a very highly regarded gemstone in these early eras when poisonings between royalty were rife.

Nowadays, March birthday birthstone jewellery is also said to have plenty of healing properties, and it is even considered to be  the stone of courage. It is also claimed to:

·        Ease stress and quieten the mind during anxious periods

·        Clarify perception

·        Sharpen intellect and intuition

·        Clear any thoughts of confusion

How is aquamarine mined?


Aquamarine is an earthly gem, which means it's found in rocks. When magma underneath the earth's crust reacts with mineral rocks called pegmatites, it creates aquamarine.

As these precious gemstones are inside of the rock, this must be split open to retrieve the aquamarine. Hammers are used to open up the rock and chisels, picks, and axes help to remove the aquamarine. Once the gemstones are extracted, they are cleaned with water to wash away any surface-level impurities that may have come from the rock. As this is done by manpower, it makes the aquamarine mining process a more environmentally friendly alternative than that of other gemstones.

How expensive is aquamarine?


Just like with jewellery with diamond gemstones, the value of aquamarine can differ, depending on a wide range of factors. These include:  

·        Colour: The more intense the blue colour of the March birthstone, the more valuable it'll be.

·        Clarity: It's not uncommon for aquamarine stones to have inclusions or blemishes both internally and externally. But most faceted aquamarines will appear clear to the eye, meaning they will be more desirable and valuable. Those aquamarine gemstones that don't appear clear tend to be used as beads or carvings, which don't require flawless clarity.

·        Cut: The value of aquamarine can be partially determined by what shape the gemstone is cut into. For example, classic cuts like emerald, round and ovals are timeless, meaning they can sell for a higher price. On the other hand, as aquamarine tends to have quite rough edges, it makes it easier for gem sculptors to create unique and fancy pieces with it. Again, these can sell for high prices and are especially popular with collectors.

·        Carat weight: Aquamarine forms naturally in fairly large crystals, meaning its easy to get lots of different sizes of the gem. Prices of the gem tend to increase with carat weight until the size becomes unwearable in jewellery.

How to care for aquamarine


Aquamarine is rated as a 7.5–8 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it is a relatively durable gem when protected properly. As with any precious gemstone, you'll need to avoid knocking the aquamarine against anything, as this can cause scratches and blemishes, as well as weaken the stone itself. You should also take care to avoid exposing your aquamarine jewellery to chemicals like alcohol, bleach, chlorine, and ammonia, as these can react with the gemstone and cause damage.

You'll also need to know how to clean your aquamarine jewellery properly to preserve its sparkle. You can do this with a simple homemade solution. However, it's important to note that unlike other birthstones like garnet and amethyst, you should avoid cleaning aquamarine with solid or liquid soaps as these can dull the gemstone. :

1.      Fill a bowl with warm water.

2.      Place your jewellery into the bowl and let it soak for 5–15 minutes, depending on how soiled the gem is. Remember to plug any sinks you're working over as an extra precaution.

3.      Use a soft bristled toothbrush in gentle circular motions to rub away any grime, dirt, or debris from the stone. Make sure to work carefully around any prongs that hold your aquamarine in place, as these can become bent if they're cleaned too rigorously.

4.      Dry with a clean, soft lint-free cloth.

It's worth noting that the metal your aquamarine stone is set in can affect the cleaning process. Our guide to cleaning and caring for your rings has tips for maintaining platinum, silver, and gold jewellery, so you should have no trouble finding the best method to suit your needs.

When it comes to storing your March birthstone jewellery, it's best to keep it separate from your other jewels to avoid scratching or cosmetic damage. When you're not wearing your aquamarine stones, we would recommend keeping your accessories in a soft pouch or padded jewellery box.

Shop our stunning range of aquamarine jewellery here at Ramsdens Jewellery. We have everything from beautiful bracelets and earrings, to pendants and rings, so you're sure to find a piece that you or the Aries or Pisces in your life will love.

Looking to find out more about another birthstone? We have more guides that focus on January and February birthstones, as well as general jewellery maintenance tips in our jewellery advice centre. We also have a blog that provides monthly jewellery inspiration if you're struggling to find the perfect piece to add to your collection.

Got a question? You can contact us online, or pop into your nearest Ramsdens branch to speak to a member of our fantastic team.


 

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