Birthstone: March

Hardness: 8

Aquamarine, derives it name from the Latin term for seawater because of its elegant blue hues.

According to legend, aquamarine was the treasure of mermaids and had the power to keep sailors safe at sea. It was also thought to possess a number of other mystical properties, including the ability to help couples smooth out their differences; protect against the wiles of the devil; cure headaches, insomnia and other ailments; quicken the intellect; and attract new friends. It is the symbol for youth, hope, health and fidelity.

A variety of the mineral beryl, like the emerald, aquamarine is found in many exotic places around the world, including Afghanistan, Angola, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. But most of the gemstones available in the market today come from Brazil.

Aquamarine is found in a range of shades, from pale pastel to greenish-blue to deep blue. Deeper colors are unusual in smaller sizes; generally, it takes a larger stone to hold a darker shade. The most prized aquamarines are those displaying a deeper, pure blue, with no green tints.

Settings for aquamarine can also safely expose more of the gemstone than is possible with emerald. Aquamarine’s tendency toward having few inclusions makes it less susceptible to nicks or cracks than many other gems. Its clear, pale brilliance makes it an appropriate stone for all types of jewelry – and it combines well with all jewelry metals and is flattering to most skin tones.

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