What is Aquamarine
A member of the beryl family, this sister gem to emerald is typically light greenish-blue to blue with the highest quality being transparent. Traces of iron determine its coloring. It grows in pencil-shaped hexagonal crystals. Aquamarine is found in pegmatite, a type of slow forming igneous granite rock found at high elevations in Brazil, Australia, Burma, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and the United States (Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho).
Aquamarine Color and Characteristics
Gem quality crystals are pleochroic — seen from some angles they appear colorless. Tumbled stones may range in color from a pure milky blue to a pearly turquoise green. Most natural aquamarine is heat treated to remove the green tint to reveal the preferred intense blue color. If the heat is too high, the stone can suffer discoloration. Color can also be improved with neutron and gamma irradiation, but these changes do not last.
Jewelers value specific shades. The more intense the blue color, the more valuable the stone. Green-tinged aquamarines tend to be less expensive. High grade aquamarine is sometimes imitated with blue topaz, colored glass, or heat-treated low grade aquamarine stones. Synthetic aquamarine is not economical to produce and is actually aquamarine-colored synthetic spinel.
Aquamarine is easily cleaned with a gentle solution made specifically for jewelry use. Borsheims also offers small ultrasonic cleaners, which use high-frequency sound waves to clean your jewelry. It is important to have your jewelry professionally cleaned and checked three to four times a year. When not worn, aquamarine jewelry should be stored in a jewelry box lined with soft fabric.