aquamarine

aquamarine

[ak-wuh-muh-reen, ah-kwuh-]
aquamarine [Lat.,=seawater], transparent beryl with a blue or bluish-green color. Sources of the gems include Brazil, Siberia, the Union of Myanmar, Madagascar, and parts of the United States. Oriental aquamarine is a transparent crystalline corundum with a bluish tinge. The emerald is similar in composition, differing only in color.

Pale greenish blue or bluish green variety of beryl that is valued as a gemstone. The most common variety of gem beryl, it occurs in pegmatites, in which it forms much larger and clearer crystals than emerald, the dark green variety of beryl. Aquamarine occurs in Brazil, which is the chief source, and in such other sites as the Ural Mountains, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, and Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Colorado in the U.S. Heat treatment is commonly used to improve the colour of gem beryls.

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Aquamarine (Lat. aqua marinā, "water of the sea") is a gemstone-quality transparent variety of beryl, having a delicate blue or turquoise color, suggestive of the tint of seawater. It is closely related to the gem emerald. Colors vary and yellow beryl (heliodor), rose pink beryl (morganite), and white beryl (goshenite) are known.

Composition

Aquamarine is a beryl with a hexagonal crystal structure and a chemical formula of Be3Al2(SiO3)6, a beryllium aluminium silicate mineral. It has a specific gravity of 2.68 to 2.74 and a Mohs hardness of from 7.5 to 8. Aquamarine typically is on the low end of the specific gravity range, normally at less than 2.7. The pink variety exhibits a high specific gravity of around 2.8. Refractive indices range around 1.57 to 1.58.

Locations of deposits

It occurs at most localities which yield ordinary beryl, some of the finest coming from Russia. The gem-gravel placer deposits of Sri Lanka contain aquamarine. Clear yellow beryl, such as occurs in Brazil, is sometimes called aquamarine chrysolite. When corundum presents the bluish tint of typical aquamarine, it is often termed Oriental aquamarine.

In the United States, aquamarines can be found at the summit of Mt. Antero in the Sawatch Range in central Colorado. In Wyoming, aquamarine has been discovered in the Big Horn mountains, near Powder River Pass. In Brazil, there are mines in the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Bahia. Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya also produce aquamarine.

The biggest aquamarine ever mined was found at the city of Marambaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1910. It weighed over 110 kg, and its dimensions were 48.5 cm long and 42 cm in diameter.

Culture and historical/mythical usage

  • Aquamarine (along with bloodstone) is the birthstone associated with March. It is also the gemstone for the 19th Anniversary.
  • People in the Middle Ages thought that aquamarine could magically overcome the effects of poison.
  • Ancient sailors traveled with aquamarine crystals, believing that it would ensure a safe voyage, and guarantee a safe return; they often slept with the stones under their pillow to ensure sound sleep. They believed the siren’s (mermaid) fish-like lower body was made of aquamarine.

See also

References

  • Weinstein, Michael, 1958, The World of Jewel Stones Sheriden House, New York, pp 104-107
  • Diamond Bug. "Flawless Aquamarine: March Birthstone" Retrieved March 16, 2006.
  • http://www.gemstone.org/gem-by-gem/english/aquamarine.html
  • http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/gemstone/aquamari/aquamari.htm
  • http://www.mindat.org/min-289.html
  • http://aquamarine.com/gemology/how-the-aquamarine-gets-its-color/

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