Aquamarine

This stone is a gorgeous pale blue variation of Beryl, which in gemstone quality, is transparent – lower grades may be translucent or opaque.

Higher grade pieces of Aquamarine are almost always used for either mineral specimens or jewellery – where they are sold faceted or cut en cabochon. Mineral specimens of Aquamarine tend to sit in a matrix such as Quartz.

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Appearance

Aquamarine is a hexagonal formation of Beryl, occurring in blue or blue-green colours. It can be transparent, translucent, or clear, pale or richly coloured – the more clear and colourful it is, the higher the quality.


Uses and History

Aquamarine is primarily used as a decorative stone, particularly for jewellery usage. High grade pieces are often cut en cabochon or faceted for jewellery usage.

Beryl is used as an ore of Beryllium, but it is unlikely Aquamarine would be crushed for ore – it’s value for jewellery and as mineral specimens is likely to be fair higher than its value as an ore.

The largest gem grade Aquamarine ever found was over 110KG, and the largest cut gem around 45KG – these crystals can be quite big!


Locales

Good quality specimens are found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, Madagascar, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, the USA, and Vietnam. Lower quality specimens are found in many other locales.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
A gemmy blue variety of Beryl – Be3Al2Si6O18
Colours and Variations
Blue to blue-green
Streak
White
Luster
Vitreous
Fracture
Conchoidal to uneven.
Crystal habit
Prismatic or tabular crystals, granular or compact massive.
Mohs hardness
7.5 – 8
Specific Gravity
2.66 – 2.80
Easiest testing method
Aquamarine can be tricky to distinguish from Topaz or Zircon without additional tools.
Aquamarine is pleochroic, and may appear colourless from one side and blue from another.
All Beryl shows up green-blue through a Chelsea filter.
Common Treatments
Often heat treated or irradiated to improve blue colour.

Photos of Aquamarine

Akwamaryn (aquamarine) na muskowicie - Skardu, Góry Haramosh, div. Gilgit, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Akwamaryna na skaleniu - Skardu District, Pakistan.
Aigue-marine sur gangue 5(Pakistan)

B019 2
Beryl, akwamaryna - GEJIU, Yunnan, Chiny.
5 Brazilian aquamarine

Aquamarine & diamonds earrings 01
Beryl-gem7-59b
Beryl-24465

Hazards and Warnings

Beryl is a beryllium based compound, which is a known carcinogen. Effects can include pneumonitis – please take care when mining, handling, cutting, etc.

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.


Translations

Arabic:

  • أزرق ضارب إلى الاخضرار

Hindi:

  • अक्वामरीन

Portuguese:

  • Água-marinha

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

  • ਐਕੁਆਮਰਾਈਨ

English:

Italian:

  • Acquamarina

Russian:

  • Аквамарин

French:

  • Aigue-marine

Japanese:

  • アクアマリン

Spanish:

  • Aguamarina

German:

  • Aquamarin

Korean:

  • 남옥

Thai:

  • พลอยสีฟ้า

Gujurati:

  • એક્વામારીન
  • એક્વામરીન

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 海蓝宝石

Urdu:


Further Reading / External Links