Aquamarine’s unique lustre is actually caused by a small amount of iron that exists within the stone’s structure. This iron is divided into two types: ferrous and ferric. The former provides the trademark blue that makes aquamarine so prolific, while the latter creates a greenish glimmer, like gardens of coral hidden deep underwater. A lot of jewellery lovers return to this beautiful gem for various different pieces, mostly because of its natural ‘freshwater’ colour and distinct clarity. It has become increasingly more and more valuable in recent years, especially now that the oceans of our blue planet are under threat.
Furthermore the word ‘aquamarine’ is taken from the Latin ‘aqua’ and ‘marina’, which means ‘water’ and ‘sea’. There’s no denying that aquamarine, also referred to as the ‘evening stone’ has definitely benefited from its resemblance to water. It should be noted that this oceanic stone is known to be more frequently heat treated than most other gemstones. The darker and thereby rarer strains of aquamarine are considered to be a lot more valuable. Normally aquamarine will appear to be colourless, especially when viewed by natural light, but this effect is actually a veil of trickery that can be lifted using candlelight, which serves to uncover the stone’s secret clarity.
The largest known source of aquamarines is Minas Gerais, a state in the humid hinterland of south-east Brazil. More recently Africa has come to the foreground as a contender, with advanced mining activities being carried out in Madagascar, Nigeria, Mozambique and Tanzania. Interestingly the origin of each strain of aquamarine can be gleaned from the different prefixes they are given. Take Santa Maria strain, for example, which possesses a deep blue hue and belongs to the Santa Maria de Itabira gem mines of Brazil, where aquamarines with this distinct body colour are often plucked from the earth.