Aquamarine buying guide: All you need to know
Aquamarine is well know for being a beautiful semi-transparent blue gemstone. It is a member of the beryl family, closely related to emerald (find our emerald sopping guide here), and in its natural state has a blueish green color. Aquamarine is a very valuable and special gem made in the depths of mountains by intense heat. With its unique color and varying beautiful cuts, this gem stone can fit into any lifestyle and jewelry collection. When searching for the perfect aquamarine jewelry there are several things to be aware of. Lets discuss some of these things in this guide to buying aquamarine.
What is aquamarine?
Aquamarine is made when extremely hot magma under the Earth's crust interacts with mineral rich rocks under mountain ranges. As the magma pushes through little cracks and crevices in the rocks it reacts with the minerals present there and gemstones are formed.
Aquamarine is a gemstone that belongs to the larger family of gemstones know as beryl. Aquamarine stones are well known for their varying blue hues from light, nearly translucent blue to a deep rich blue. Aquamarine often reminds people of the colors of the sea. This is fitting because the name aquamarine is derived from a Latin term meaning ‘water of the sea’.
Aquamarine gained a lot of popularity in the early 1900’s with its prominence in rings and tiara’s. One of the most famous aquamarines is found in one of Queen Elizabeth’s tiaras.
Tip1- make yourself familiar with the 4C's
When on the search for the right gemstone for you, it is best to become informed about the four main quality
factors. These factors are color, clarity, cut, and carat.
Aquamarines natural color is blue with green hues. The common deep blue color we often see is achieved through heating the gemstone to a high temperature. Heating the aquamarine to different temperatures will change the color greatly. Anything between a light blue green stone to a darker blue stone is desirable.
The clarity of the gemstone is determined by the amount of ‘inclusions’ there are within the gemstone. An inclusion is something foreign residing under the surface of the gem. When there are inclusions present in the stone it becomes a little more difficult to heat the stone to achieve certain colors and to cut to an ideal shape. The most valuable pieces of aquamarine will have no visible inclusions.
Due to the translucent color, the aquamarine, when cut correctly, can have incredible shine and brilliance. A proper cut will really accentuate the aquamarines naturally existing beauty. A common cut for an aquamarine is in a square or rectangle shape however, pear, princess and emerald are also common cuts for an aquamarine.
Aquamarine can be found in many sizes ranging from tiny to very large, some weighing in at up to 100 Ibs. Much of your jewelry will be between one and three carats with some larger pendants reaching up to 16 carats. The larger the stone, the more carat’s it will be.
Color, clarity, cut and carat can each impact the over all price and value of your aquamarine jewelry. A stone with a larger carat and more unique cut can reach prices up into the thousands. A more modest size stone in a more common, yet still beautiful, cut will usually price around two hundred. Taking the color, clarity, cut and carat into consideration on your hunt for the perfect aquamarine can put you ahead of the game and aid you in finding your ideal piece. While aquamarine is usually an easy gemstone to spot, it is important to be on the lookout for imitations. Every gemstone can be imitated, but with some basic knowledge you can ensure that you get the real deal when investing your money into a piece.
Tip2- How to spot an imitation
It can be easy to be fooled by imitation aquamarine. Glass can easily be colored to posses that same desirable blue hue. Take a moment to look at your aquamarine and become aware of some common flaws that are only present in imitation aquamarine. It is always best to do your research in order to shop smart.
There are several ways to determine whether an aquamarine gem stone is real, or simply colored glass. The first thing to do is take a good hard look at your stone. If you find scratches on the surface of the gem it is most likely a fake. Aquamarine is an incredibly hard stone and therefore is very difficult to scratch. The second step is to see if you can find any bubbles in your stone. If you see small air bubbles under the surface of the stone it is in fact colored glass. You will never find air bubbles in an aquamarine. Next thing to do is gauge the temperature of the stone. Place it to your forehead and check to see if the stone is room temperature or cold to the touch. If the stone does not feel cold it is not aquamarine. Aquamarine will always feel colder than room temperature. If you are still uncertain of the quality and integrity of your piece, the most reliable thing to do is hop on over to a jeweler, gemologist, or other professional and have them take a look.
Aquamarine in jewelry
Buying a piece of aquamarine can be a challenge. Deciding on the perfect fit for your lifestyle and wardrobe may be a daunting task. Here are some aquamarine shopping tips that will help to make your decision. Perhaps the most common place to find aquamarine is in a ring. With its hard to scratch surface it is usually safe in such a well used area like your hand. While aquamarine is commonly seen with a lighter color setting, such as white gold or silver, a gold setting hints at a more vintage look. This is something that can be very desirable to many wearers. A tip for buying an aquamarine would be to determine the look of the stone. If you prefer a larger stone with a more vibrant color, you might be more suited for a large ring or pendant. If you are drawn more to the idea of smaller aquamarine perhaps paired with other gemstones, a tennis bracelet might be the look your are aiming for. Wearing aquamarine earrings can also be a very elegant and understated way of utilizing the aquamarine. The first step to take in determining which piece is for you, is to understand the lifestyle of the wearer. If you can find a piece that suits your lifestyle it will be more likely that you will wear and enjoy your aquamarine on a regular basis.
Caring for your aquamarine
When you have made an investment on a piece of aquamarine jewelry, it is important to learn how to properly care for that stone in order to preserve its condition through the ages. Here are some tips for keeping your aquamarine in top condition. First, when storing your stone, be sure to store it away from any other gemstones. While aquamarine is an incredibly hard stone and is not easily scratched by outside forces, other gemstones with a similar harness do have the ability to scratch the aquamarine. To protect not only your aquamarine but your other stones as well, store your gemstones separately. Another thing to avoid is harsh chemicals on your stone. If you find yourself working with any chemicals, this includes household cleaners, remove your jewelry first. Chemicals interacting with your aquamarine can have a negative impact on the quality of your stone. If you find that your aquamarine is becoming a little dull or dirty the best way to clean it is by soaking it in some warm water with a few drops of dish soap. After soaking your stone for a few minutes, remove it and use a fine bristle brush, such as a toothbrush, to clean the stone. This should return your aquamarine to its original shine and beauty.
Using this guide to buying aquamarine is a great start when searching for aquamarine jewelry. Make sure you do your research and be aware of your budget. While aquamarine is among some of the more affordable stones the prices can rise depending on your taste preferences.
Whatever piece you chose, the aquamarine will always continue to shine as a symbol of happiness, and youthfulness, possessing great powers of fearlessness and protection in all your travels.