Legend has it that aquamarine originated in the treasure chest of mermaids, and has since ancient times been regarded as 'the sailor's lucky stone'. The Greeks and the Romans knew the aquamarine as the sailor’s gem, ensuring the safe and prosperous passage across stormy seas.
Perhaps it was the mermaids who embued it with the many powers attributed to this gorgeous stone. As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety, and in the Middle Ages it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons! William Langland’s "The Vision Concerning Piers and the Plowman," from 1377, mentions the aquamarine as an antidote widely known throughout Europe. Because there was a wide amount of poisonings amongst royalty at the time, the gem was in popular demand just for that purpose. It was not necessary to pulverize the stone, as it was/ is with other gemstones. Simply wearing the stone as a pendant or in a ring was just as effective.
There are many more myths and legends about the aquamarine stone. The Romans believed that if the figure of a frog were carved on an aquamarine, it served to reconcile enemies and make them friends. Another Roman legend stated that the stone absorbs the atmosphere of young love: "When blessed and worn, it joins in love, and does great things." Aquamarine was also considered the most appropriate morning gift to give to a bride by her groom following the consummation of their marriage. It was also believed to render soldiers invincible.
The Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hebrews also admired and valued aquamarine greatly. It was a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth. In the Christian era, the aquamarine was identified with the Apostle, St. Thomas, because it "imitated the sea and the air" and the Saint "made long journeys by sea, even to India to preach salvation."
Writers of the middle Ages claimed aquamarine was the most popular and effective of the "oracle" crystals. When cut as a crystal ball, it was thought to be a superior stone for fortune telling. Many methods of using the stone as a divining tool were described in ancient literature. One method involved hanging a stone by a thread over a bowl of water, just touching the surface. The inner edge of the bowl was covered with the characters of the alphabet. The diviner was to hold the top of the thread and allow the stone to hit certain letters, which would spell out answers to an important question, sort of like a ouija board. Another method was to cast a crystal into a bowl of pure water. The disturbances in the water would reveal messages on the surface of the liquid. Aquamarine’s powers of revelation were also said to help one in search for lost or hidden things.
The ancient philosopher Pliny paid tribute to this gem of vitality, stating, "the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied." We do not disagree! The stone derives its name from the Latin term for seawater. It is most famous for its breathtaking sea-blue colors which can range from light to dark-blue.
Like seawater, aquamarine can be light-blue, dark-blue, blue-green and green-blue. The more saturated the color, the higher the value, although almost all aquamarine is typically a lighter blue tone. A deeply saturated blue is the most desirable color, but it is very rare in larger specimens. The intensity of color is one of the most important criteria when evaluating colored gemstones, but unlike other gems, aquamarine is not diminished by lesser color intensity; many people actually prefer the more crystal-clear lighter gemstones over the richer, deeper colors.
The leading producer of aquamarine is Brazil, with many mines spread throughout the country. Other deposits of aquamarine are sourced from Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in several U.S. locations. Karur, India recently has become one of the biggest suppliers of aquamarine.
A couple of sources I would recommend for aquamarine beads and/or pendants are: Fire Mountain Gems and Beads and Earthstone.com. You can also see our current aquamarine offering in our Etsy shop here.
For anyone who wants to tackle an aquamarine creation, here's some lovely inspiration from our jewelry artisan friends of Etsy. From top to bottom:
Raw Aquamarine Pendant necklace, by TiffanyAnneStudios
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Until Next Time,