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March Birthstone: Aquamarine


Neptune’s Gift, Nature’s Treasure

The spectacular seawater color of aquamarine has given this gemstone its name.  According to legend, Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to the mermaids. From that moment on, it has brought love to all who have owned it.  The ancient philosopher Pliny paid tribute to this gem of vitality, stating, “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.”

There are many popular myths and legends about the aquamarine stone. The Romans believed that if the figure of a frog were carved on an aquamarine, it served to reconcile enemies and make them friends. Another Roman legend stated that the stone absorbs the atmosphere of young love: “When blessed and worn, it joins in love, and does great things.”  The Greeks and the Romans knew the aquamarine as the sailor’s gem, ensuring the safe and prosperous passage across stormy seas.

Aquamarine Facts

  • Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, the astrological stone for Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov21) and the traditional 19th anniversary gift.
  • In the 19th century, sea green varieties of the stone were the most popular, but today, the more blue the color, the more valuable the stone.
  • Aquamarines are mined in a number of places including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique, but most of the gemstones available today come from Brazil.
  • Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl, along with emerald and morganite.
  • Hardness is 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, and toughness is good
  • Most aquamarine is heat treated to make the color less green and a purer blue. The treatment is stable under normal wear and is undetectable.

World’s Largest Aquamarine

The Dom Pedro, the world’s largest cut aquamarine, is located in the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History.  The crystal was found in the Minas Gerais mine in Brazil in 1980’s.  The rough crystal weighed over 100 pounds and was over 3 feet long.  The crystal was dropped and broke into 3 pieces.  Bernd Munsteiner cut the Dom Pedro aquamarine from a piece of that original crystal that weighed over 60 pounds and was over 23 inches long.  The final weight of the Dom Pedro is 10,363 carats (almost 5 pounds) and measures 14 inches tall and 4 inches wide.  The Dom Pedro was donated to the Smithsonian by Jane Mitchell and Jeffery Bland.

Whole Dom

Photo of the original crystal pieced together after it had broken into 3 pieces.


The Dom Pedro Aquamarine

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