Aquamarine (gem)

Aquamarine is a pale-blue to light-green variety of beryl.[2] The color of aquamarine can be changed by heat.[3]

Aquamarine P1000141.JPG
Aquamarine on Muscovite
CategoryBeryl variety
(repeating unit)
Mohs scale hardness7.5 to 8
Specific gravity2.65-2.85

Aquamarine has a chemical composition of Be3Al2Si6O18,[4] also containing Fe2+.[5] It has a hardness of 7.5 to 8.[6] Aquamarine contains no or few noticeable inclusions[7] but it can have inclusions like mica, hematite, or salt-water.[8]

Aquamarine is a common gemstone.[9] However, there is a rarer deep blue variant called maxixe,[7] but its color can fade due to sunlight.[1] The color of maxixe is caused by NO3.[10] Dark-blue maxixe color can be produced in green, pink or yellow beryl by irradiating it with high-energy radiation (gamma rays, neutrons or even X-rays).[11]

Name and etymologyEdit

The name aquamarine comes from aqua (Latin for 'water'), and marine, deriving from marina (Latin for 'of the sea').[12] The word aquamarine was first used in the year 1677.[13]

The word aquamarine has been used as a modifier for other minerals like aquamarine tourmaline, aquamarine emerald, aquamarine chrysolite, aquamarine sapphire, or aquamarine topaz.[8]


Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure in 2006. The star and collar are a Brazilian decoration, the Order of the Southern Cross.

Aquamarine is inexpensive due to its abundance.[9] It is more expensive than blue topaz but costs less than emerald or bixbite.[7]

The value of aquamarine is determined by its weight, color,[4] cut or clarity.[14] Cut aquamarines that are over 25 carats will have a lower price per carat than smaller ones of the same quality.[15]

Natural truly blue aquamarine is very expensive[vague].[3]

In cultureEdit

Aquamarine is referred to as the birth stone for the month of March.[4] Aquamarine has historically been used a symbol for youth and happiness due to its color, which has also, along with its name, made Western culture connect it with the ocean.[16][15] Ancient Romans believed that aquamarine could protect people who are travelling across the sea,[17] they also used aquamarine to prevent illnesses.

The Chinese used it to make seals, figurines, and engravings. Japanese people used aquamarine to make netsuke.[18]

It became a state gem for Colorado in 1971.[19]


Aquamarine from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Aquamarine can be found in countries like Afghanistan, China, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Mozambique, the United States,[20] Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka,[21] Malawi, India,[4] Zimbabwe, Australia, Myanmar, and Namibia.[22] The state of Minas Gerais is a major source for aquamarine.[9]

Aquamarine can mostly be found in granite pegmatites. Aquamarine can also be found in veins of metamorphic rocks that became mineralized by hydrothermal activity.[4]

Notable aquamarineEdit

Aquamarine Origin Size Location
Dom Pedro aquamarine[23] Mined in 1980 in Brazil.[24] 10,363 carats National Museum of Natural History, Washington[25][26]
The Roosevelt Aquamarine[27] Given to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936. 6,500 carats Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum[28]
The Hirsch Aquamarine Once owned by Louis XV. 109.92 carats

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Schumann, Walter (2006). Gemstones of the World. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4027-4016-9.
  2. ^ Manutchehr-Danai, Mohsen (2013-03-09). Dictionary of Gems and Gemology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 24. ISBN 978-3-662-04288-5.
  3. ^ a b Wenk, Hans-Rudolf; Bulakh, Andrei (April 2004). Minerals: Their Constitution and Origin. Cambridge University Press. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-521-52958-7.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Aquamarine: the blue gemstone and March birthstone". Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  5. ^ Perkins, Dexter; Henke, Kevin R.; Simon, Adam C.; Yarbrough, Lance D. (2019-07-24). Earth Materials: Components of a Diverse Planet. CRC Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-429-59119-8.
  6. ^ Jones, Cindy (2005). Geology. Lotus Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-81-89093-35-8.
  7. ^ a b c Grande, Lance; Augustyn, Allison (2009-11-15). Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World. University of Chicago Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-226-30511-0.
  8. ^ a b "Aquamarine | Birthstones | Gems | Geology & Soils | Online Resources | School of Natural Resources | University of Nebraska–Lincol". Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  9. ^ a b c Oldershaw, Cally (2003). Firefly Guide to Gems. Firefly Books. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-55297-814-6.
  10. ^ Manutchehr-Danai, Mohsen (2013-03-09). Dictionary of Gems and Gemology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 307. ISBN 978-3-662-04288-5.
  11. ^ Nassau, K. (1976). "The deep blue Maxixe-type color center in beryl" (PDF). American Mineralogist. 61: 100. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 June 2011.
  12. ^ Cresswell, Julia (2014). Little Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Oxford University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-19-968363-5.
  13. ^ "aquamarine". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  14. ^ "How to Value Aquamarine". Sciencing. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  15. ^ a b "Aquamarine Value, Price, and Jewelry Information - Gem Society". International Gem Society. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  16. ^ Pearl, Richard M. (2016-09-06). Popular Gemology. Read Books Ltd. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-4733-5633-7.
  17. ^ Webster, Richard (2012-09-08). The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7387-2561-1.
  18. ^ Rapp, George R. (2013-03-09). Archaeomineralogy. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-3-662-05005-7.
  19. ^ Johnson, Lars W.; Voynick, Stephen M. (2021-06-08). Rockhounding for Beginners: Your Comprehensive Guide to Finding and Collecting Precious Minerals, Gems, Geodes, & More. Simon and Schuster. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-5072-1527-2.
  20. ^ Oldershaw, Cally (2003). Firefly Guide to Gems. Firefly Books. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-55297-814-6.
  21. ^ "Aquamarine Value & Worth". Grav. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
  22. ^ Grande, Lance; Augustyn, Allison (2009-11-15). Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World. University of Chicago Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-226-30511-0.
  23. ^ "Dom Pedro Aquamarine - Smithsonian Institution".
  24. ^ "Introducing the Dom Pedro Aquamarine".
  25. ^ Vastag, Brian (2 December 2012). "The Dom Pedro aquamarine's long and winding path to the Smithsonian". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Magnificent Dom Pedro aquamarine to go on view in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum". Smithsonian Science. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  27. ^ "Six Famous Aquamarines".
  28. ^ "Birthstones by Month".