Aquamarine Gemstone

The name of the aquamarine gemstone is derived from the Latin term for ‘water’. The term aqua today has become popular in usage, with its stylish undertone. When it comes to aquamarines, the term is a combination of water + of the water or, as it is was historically understood, the ocean. The aquamarines gemstone is stone that closely resembles the light blue of the ocean water, referring to its light blue colour. For, unlike other blue gemstones, aquamarine is noted for its cooler tone, with a distinct beauty that makes it stand apart from the rest. Aquamarines have been used in jewellery since the very beginning, with sources pointing to their uses since ancient times, when the value and beauty of precious stones were being uncovered. Whilst not part of the dominant club of four top gemstones, aquamarines today hold their own as top gemstones in their use as jewellery accessories and as gemstones for fine jewels. For the distinct, light glimmering blue colour of the stone, when it is well cut and polished, is a sight to behold. One that has even captivated the fasciation of royalty. Queen Ena's Aquamarine Tiara is a prominent example. Hence it is no surprise that this blue stone has continued to hold the marvel of many in the gemstone and fine jewellery world: Here we will outline the main factors you need to know when considering an aquamarine gemstone.

Geological Origins of Aquamarines

Aquamarines are sourced from a number of countries with nations as far apart as Brazil to major gem producing nations in Africa: Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania to some of the top gem mining countries in Asia, notably Sri Lanka, to even far away as Russia. And they form as a wonderful light blue gemstone that forms in spectacular hexagonal crystals (that are shaped like large elongated pencils) in the host rock. Arguably the world’s most popular aquamarine variant is the Santa Maria Aquamarine: which is mined from the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil, with its distinct blue being among the most sought after in the world. And is defined by its distinct tone, and notably by the absence of colour zoning: a phenomenon, an undesirable one where colour is not uniformly present throughout the gemstone.

Characteristics of Aquamarines

Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family, like emeralds, its arguably better-known gemstone cousin. Aquamarine stones receive their colour from the presence of impurities, known as trace minerals. Since pure beryl is virtually colourless and very clear to the eye. So these effects are caused by the presence of impurities, and their effect on the character of stone is what produces the changes. Notably, the presence of iron (Fe²+) enters the atomic structure of the stone during its formation, integrating itself into the crystal lattice, introducing the beautiful translucent aqua colour. Speaking of colour in aquamarines, the highly sought after light blue-green hued aquamarines is a notable variant. It must be noted that the colour in Aquamarines can be improved or modified, via specific gemstone treatments methods: notably the use of heat to tweak the gemstone’s colours’; however the effects of these changes are limited. The name comes from the Latin for “seawater”, and aquamarine folklore is usually tied to sailors and the sea. Aquamarine is also the birthstone for March and it’s a popular gem and is generally more affordable than other major gemstones. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and ranges in colour from an almost colourless pale blue to blue-green or teal. The most prized colour is a deep-blue aqua colour. It is 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness and gets its name from Latin words meaning water and sea.

Aquamarine Colour and Clarity

Aquamarine is a Type 01 gemstone, which means that most of the aquamarine gemstones are “eye clean”: meaning they lack visible inclusions, in contrast to other ‘types’ of gemstones, which generally contain a higher number of inclusions: a notable feature in gemstones liked emeralds. Quality aquamarine gemstones are known for their excellent transparency and clarity and display a wonderful glow, that depending on other quality factors, will make the gemstone command a higher price. Aquamarines on the market today are usually faceted, but when cut as a cabochon, they may display a cat's eye effect known as asterism. Some gemstones are heated to high temperatures to enhance the colour and/or clarity of a stone. Aquamarines are often heat-treated to change a blue-green or teal coloured stone to a pure blue. This results in a permanent colour change.

The Meaning of Aquamarines

When speaking of the value of the aquamarine stone it is important to understand its meaning and symbolic importance, one that is tied to its position as a birthstone. The Romans called Aquamarine "water of the sea". They used it as protection over the water as they believed it guaranteed safety whilst journeying by sea. Those from the Classical tradition believed that aquamarines had specific healing properties: such as purifying the system and aiding other physiological preprocess. In ancient lore, Aquamarine was believed to be the gemstone of Mermaids: these mystical creatures which were believed to possess the power to guard and protect sailors at sea, so to be in possession of an aquamarine, particularly those which had the carving or image of the Roman god Neptune, was believed to aid the wearer in such journeys. In medieval times aquamarine stones were thought to rekindle the passion between romantic couples, so for those whose relationships are hitting the rocks, an aquamarine gemstone gift exchange combined with advanced apologies could do the trick. Aquamarines is the gem for the star sign of Pisces, so for those who are born under that star sign, wearing an aquamarine gemstone would be the way to go.

Mystical Qualities of Aquamarines

For the mystically minded, notable for those from the Indian subcontinent, aquamarines are believed to activate the Throat Chakra: which is positioned near the throat area and is signified by the colour blue. And aquamarine stones are believed to stimulate the energy chain that runs from this from the heart allowing the energy to flow without obstruction. Aquamarines crystal is believed to aid those involved in meditation, as it is believed to help connect people with higher states. Aquamarine stones, within certain traditions, are even believed to aid with physical aliments, like thyroid disorders. Aquamarine is believed to have a soothing effect on relationships, particularly those which are on the rocks, along with its cool uplifting effect is the right stone for those who seek it. 

Aquamarines vs Blue Topaz

Blue topaz stones are a popular semi-precious stone, that is silicate and is more abundant than aquamarines. And are interestingly are also sourced from many of the same countries from which aquamarines crystals come from, with some exceptions. With countries like Brazil being noted examples. Blue topaz is found in a wide variety of countries from Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Australia, to even the United States. The colour of the blue topaz stone’s is defined by the presence of various levels of iron and chromium levels. Top-quality natural blue topaz is rare in nature, with most blue topaz stones in the market being subjected to some form of treatment. Aquamarine gems have a distinctive bluish tone, that varies across the lightish blue-green spectrum. Gems that have a high refraction index (RI) have a greater level of brilliance and here the blue topaz comes out on top.


Blue Topaz

Colour: Lightish, Sea Blue Tones.


Colour: Light to darker blue reminiscent of the Afternoon sea.


Refraction Index: 1.57 – 1.58


Refraction Index: 1.61 – 1.638

Mohs Scale Hardness: 7.5 – 8.0


Mohs Scale Hardness: 7.5 – 8.0


Clarity: Type 1 Gemstone High Clarity



Clarity: Varies According to Gemstone


Country of Origin: Brazil, Russia, Madagascar, Ceylon.


Countries of Origin: Brazil, Ceylon, Madagascar. 


Density: 2.68- 2.74



Density: 3.5- 3.6

Treatment: Rarely Treated


Treatment: Often Treated.

Why Choose Aquamarine Gemstones?

Aquamarine is amongst the most popular and affordable semi-precious stones. And is a favourite option for modern gemstone designers, and gemstone seekers. Aquamarines are in a number of countries and are readily available leading to their widespread adoption. Combined with its high level of hardness protects them from scratches. However aquamarines, unlike diamonds lack a globally standardised grading system, which means their colour and clarity become key factors of value. This requires that you know what your jeweller is offering in terms of authenticity, and here is it is best to request certification. Since Aquamarine colours range from pale blue to a strong sea-blue, there is an array of colour choices, with the deeper, light blue aquamarine being the most desirable, owing to its stronger saturation. The colour in aquamarine gems is also known to be of a lighter shade; as aquamarine stones with smaller carats typically show lighter shades as their size limits their ability to showcase a deep blue colour. If you wish to learn even more about aquamarine gems in terms of their particular features check out our dedicated blog on aquamarines.  

Aquamarines Engagement Rings

When it comes to buying aquamarine gems, arguably the best way to own one is through a precious jewel, and none can top the fine engagement ring. Aquamarine engagement rings are a popular addition to the world of quality engagement rings. Recognized for their distinct light blue hues, aquamarines hold a niche position, whilst not competing directly with major gemstone types in the industry. And depending on the specific gemstone, aquamarine engagement rings could be a more affordable option. Aquamarine stones, if you happen to own some, could, with the expertise from the right jeweller could be incorporated into a quality engagement ring.