Wednesday, February 23, 2011

March Birthstone: Fun Facts

Aquamarine is the modern birthstone for March, as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Other gemstones known to represent the month of March are Jade, Amethyst, Bloodstone, and Jasper. Aquamarine is suggested as a gem to give on the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries.

Aquamarine comes from the beryl family and ranges in color from a nearly colorless pale blue to a bluish-green or teal. The rarest, and most valuable color found in Aquamarine is a deep blue color. It is a 7.5

to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and gets its name from the Latin word meaning water and sea.

The most valuable aquamarine stones are mined in Brazil, but they are also known to come from Kenya and Nigeria. Most aquamarines in the market today are faceted, but when cut as a cabochon, the gem may display a cat’s eye effect known as asterism.

Aquamarines are often heat treated to change a lighter bluish-green or teal colored stone a pure blue. This heat treatment results in a permanent color change.

Since ancient times, aquamarines have been believed to empower the wearer with courage and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and make one youthful. As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety, and in the Middle Ages, it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons. Legend also says that sailors once wore aquamarines to keep them safe and to prevent seasickness.

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