The Softer Side of Blue
Greeks proclaimed this highly prized, light blue gem aquamarine, because
it sparkles like the sea touched by the sun. Found in an array of pastel
tones from very light to medium blue, aquamarine is often tinted by a
splash of green. The delicate greenish blue of a fine aquamarine
conjures up images of dancing light on the purest of tropical waters.
Aquamarine holds its place securely among the world’s most desirable
gems. Ranging in tone from a very light to medium blue, many aquamarines
will exhibit a slight tint of green in their body color. Generally the
darker shades are more valued, but many people prefer the lively
brightness of lighter hues. Aquamarine is readily available in larger
sizes over 5 carats. In fact, gem quality aquamarine crystals weighing
several hundred pounds have been discovered.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.
Today’s most important source for aquamarine is Brazil. Other
sources include Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar and the United States.
Virtually all aquamarine is heated to minimize the greenish
component of its color, making it appear a purer blue. Heat treated
aquamarines are generally stable, but their color may fade if exposed to
prolonged periods of high heat or direct sunlight.
Aquamarines should never be cleaned with a steam cleaner or an
ultrasonic cleaning machine. Aquamarines can be cleaned with most any
commercial jewelry cleaner or plain soap and water using a soft brush.
Be sure to rinse and dry your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning.
Photo: Robert Weldon,
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