If you live in the northern hemisphere, The month of March must have a special place in your heart. The long, unforgiving winter comes to a close with the vibrance of spring. There are flowers everywhere. The sun is warm and the fresh breeze is kind. I am romanticizing the month and I am doing so unapologetically. March is simply fabulous and so it is no wonder that the month has been bequeathed with a gemstone that is just as fabulous. So, let us learn about the March birthstone in detail.
An Introduction to March Birthstone
Aquamarine: The March gemstone is a variety of blue beryl. Other members of the beryl family include the rich green emerald and blushing pink morganite. Aquamarine crystals are formed in a hexagonal structure and can be quite large. The blue gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil where it was first discovered. Today, it is also found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarines are usually a refreshing icy blue color which is at once electric, as well as calming. While the gemstone might contain greenish hues the final color is undoubtedly blue. The shade of blue ranges from a translucent tint of blue to a medium- dark blue. Usually, a crystal of aquamarine is no darker than a swiss blue topaz. If it appears darker, it is probably because of how the cut has manipulated the gemstone’s appearance. While low crown angles are used to deepen the color, high crown angles are also favored as they add to the sparkle of the stone.
2. Refractive index
Refractive index is a measure of a material’s ability to conduct light and is used to identify various gemstones. The refractive index of a gemstone is also an important parameter in measuring its worth. The higher the refractive index the more brilliant a gemstone. Aquamarine’s refractive index ranges between 1.577 & 1.583 which means it is fairly brilliant. Lapidaries can further manipulate this brilliance by shaping the gemstone into various strategic cuts. Also, since beryl minerals are very easy to polish, they appear incredibly brilliant, in spite of their moderate light dispersion.
Beryl minerals are quite hard and can be easily accommodated into jewelry with complex designs. This indicates that the process of handcrafting beryls isn’t overly sensitive and gives the lapidary enough room to carry out the craft of shaping and polishing Beryl based gemstones. Aquamarine measures between 7.5 & 8.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This indicates that the gemstone is sturdy and suitable for daily wear. In the recent past, aquamarine rings have become extremely popular.
4. Legends and Folklore
Aquamarines are believed to have a strong connection with the Ocean. In fact, the word Aquamarine is Latin for “water of the sea”. Roman sailors carried them as good luck charms against the perils of the unknown sea. Aquamarine is believed to increase intelligence, courage & foresight of its wearer. It is also believed to have healing properties. Some cultures equate it with youth and beauty due to its vibrant color and associations with spring as the March birthstone.
5. Famous Aquamarines
In 1936 The first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt visited Brazil where President Getúlio Vargas presented her with a deep blue emerald cut aquamarine that weighed 1,298 carats. The ‘Roosevelt Aquamarine’ as it came to be known has been housed in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York since 1947.
While the Roosevelt Aquamarine has great historical significance, the Don Pedro Aquamarine weighs a staggering 10,363 carats and is the largest aquamarine in the world. It has been cut into a 14-inch tower by the famous German lapidary, Berndt Munsteiner and is kept in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Apart from being the birthstone for the month of March, Aquamarine is also the anniversary stone for the 19-year milestone. It is the state gemstone of Colorado which has a long history of gemstone mining in the United States.
Aquamarine jewelry has gained immense popularity in the past decade with aquamarine engagement rings and cocktail rings being particularly famous. Check out our collection of aquamarine gemstones and create your own rings, earrings and pendants and treat yourself to the icy March blues.
Want to Learn more about Aquamarine? Read here.