Aquamarine Beginner Guide

Chemical Formula: Beryl aka Beryllium Aluminum Silicate (Be3Al2Si6O18)

Mohs Scale Hardness: 7.5 – 8.0

Modern Birthstone: March

Treatment: Many aquamarines are heat treated, though many are not.  Usually poor quality aquamarines as well as darker shades are heat treated to improve the color to a desirable shade of blue.

A Belle Epoque pin of an aquamarine cameo

Care: Aquamarine is a relatively durable stone in terms of hardness and should stay beautiful as long as care is taken to prevent scratches and heavy blows to the stone.  Do not expose your aquamarine to intense heat.  Wash with warm soapy water.  Ultrasonic machines are generally safe so long as the stone is not fractured.

14K Antique Art Deco Aquamarine Filigree Ring Jewelry

Aquamarine is a variety of beryl believed to have its aqua coloring due to the presence of trace amounts of iron. Other beryl varieties include Emerald and Morganite.


History: Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin aqua meaning water and marina meaning of the sea.  It has been coveted for thousands of years all over the world and has had a strong association to the sea in many different cultures.

Antique aquamarine necklace via 1stdibs

Metaphysical Properties: Aquamarine symbolizes security and is able to soothe the nerves of sensitive people.  Aquamarine is said to enhance courage and protect against evil. Some believe that if you put a piece of aquamarine in water, the tonic would dispel the effects of poison and aid in other ailments of the liver and heart.

Platinum 18K Yellow Gold, Aquamarine & Diamond Victorian Pendant

Folklore:  The ancient Greeks believed that aquamarine could bring safe passage to sailors.  Not only could it provide safe passage, but if worn, it would also protect against sea sickness. Some seamen even believed that mermaids tails were comprised of aquamarine.


Belle Epoque Aquamarine Seed Pearl and Diamond Lavalier, c. 1910. Image courtesy of Diamonds in the Library via Phillips.

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