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The ABC's of AQUAMARINE

Like emeralds, aquamarines are members of the beryl family, a crystal mineral form of aluminum and berylium. Aquamarines, however, do not contain chromium, which gives emeralds their green color. It is a relatively hard stone, measuring 7 on the Mohs scale. Aquamarine ranges in color from light blue to dark blue, sometimes with a hint of green. Unlike emerald it is not always prone to inclusions, and near-flawless gems are more common. It is a very wearable, clear, brilliant gem that makes a good choice for all types of jewelry.

 

Aquamarine is versatile-its subtle color makes it appropriate in casual and formal jewelry. Small aquamarines can be set alone for unflashy decoration, while larger gems make excellent centerpieces when surrounded by small diamonds. Aquamarine combines well with all jewelry metals-gold can add a touch of warmth to the cool blue of the stone, while the mirror sheen of platinum or white gold will highlight the bluish hue.

The versatility of its color and its relatively low price make aquamarines popular choices for youth jewelry and casual fashion wear. They were a favorite gem in the parures (matched sets) of the 1820s and are still very functional in today's jewelry designs.

 

Aquamarine's tendency to be more free from the inclusions in emeralds isn't just a cosmetic difference. Fewer inclusions means less vulnerability to chips and cracks. Aquamarines are frequently cut with large step facets to show off their flawless surfaces, and settings for aquamarines can safely expose the gemstone more than is possible with emeralds.

 

Madagascar used to be a prime source of medium and darker blue stones, but nowadays Brazil is the most prolific supplier of aquamarine. The natural color of Brazilian gems leans toward bluish-green. Other sources of aquamarine are the African countries of Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria, the island of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Russia.

 

 

 

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