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December 15, 2017

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March Birthstone Guide: AQUAMARINE & Sky Blue Topaz

March 9, 2018

March means 2 things: Spring, and blue colored stones. The month of March should be full of blue skies, and sunshine teasing us with a hint of spring. Blue is one of the most popular and sought after colored stones on the market today. The color blue has been proven to lift your mood, bring feelings of serenity, and remind us of BLUE SKIES!

 

These are the birthstones that the month of March features: Aquamarine and Sky Blue Topaz. Bloodstone is also accepted as a march birthstone (a form of chalcedony quartz)

 

Aquamarine- The name “aquamarine” is derived from two Latin words: aqua, meaning “water,” and marina, meaning “of the sea." 

 

"Aquamarine refers to beryl that is pale blue, light blue-green, or even light green. It is usually clear, but iron content gives it its blue/green color. The green of aquamarine is a watery green without any traces of yellow. In the past, the most valued aquamarine stones were green. Today, however, the most valued aquamarine stones are a rich, sky blue, but even the blue stones have a green or bluish green tint to them. Depending on which angle you look at an aquamarine, it may look blue, green, or colorless. This is called a pleachroic effect."

 

Almost all aquamarines on the market have been heat treated to enhance the color. In meeting with the consumer preference for aquamarines in deep blue, the stones are heated near 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the blue color to emerge and the yellow/green tones to disappear.

 

Aquamarine is commonly found in cavities, granite pegmatite, alluvial deposits of gravel and sometimes stream gravels. It is a fairly durable stone, measuring a 7.5-8 on the Moh's scale of hardness. Many aquamarine stones are virtually free of inclusions and their luster is vitreous.

 

Places aquamarine is found are Brazil, the Soviet Union, Madagascar (where a dark blue variety is found), the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria.

 

 A lovely simple and elegant aquamarine pendant with a white gold setting, a perfect march birthstone gift.

 

Even in it's rough state, Aquamarine is truly beautiful. 

 Rough aquamarine, and rough tanzanite rings.

 This rough gemstone bracelet features 3 rough stones: Apatite, Tanzanite, and Aquamarine. Each stone is set in a bezel and connected by links. This bracelet also has a unique brushed finish in sterling silver.

 Here is a matching necklace... LOVE!

 And lastly, a pair of rough aquamarine earrings. Unique and shiny, just how we like it!

 

 

March also features the ever-beautiful Sky Blue Topaz gem. Topaz is an aluminum silicate that contains fluorine and hydroxyl. In its pure form it is colorless (white). Impurities are what cause variations in color. Topaz has a history that goes back at least two thousand years.

 

Some believe that "topaz" is a Middle English word, which was acquired from the Old French word "Topace" and Latin "Topazus", the root of which is in the Greek word "Topazios" or "Topazion"; the ancient name of an island in The Red Sea where the ancient Greeks mined a yellow gem that they believed to be topaz. 

 

Topaz is highly prized for its brilliance and vitreous (glassy) luster.

 

Topaz can be distinguished from diamond, ruby, sapphire, citrine, apatite, brazilianite, zircon, fluorite, kunzite, tourmaline and orthoclase by its hardness (8 on the Mohs scale). It can be told apart from aquamarine by its orthorhombic crystal structure.

 

 

 

Topaz also exhibits pleochroism, which is the appearance of several colors in a single stone depending on the viewing angle. Most other similar gemstones do not typically exhibit pleochroism.

 

 Deposits of topaz have been found in Brazil, Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the USA. Natural light-blue topaz is found in Northern Ireland and the UK.

 

 

Topaz is often enhanced to produce the most desirable colors. The most popular color for topaz is blue, but in nature, blue topaz is usually pale blue rather than bright or deep blue. The brilliant blue shades of topaz are usually achieved by artificial means. Topaz is exposed to radiation (a process known as irradiation) and then usually heated, to produce striking blue colors. A deep blue enhanced topaz is known as "London blue"; medium blue is called "Swiss blue" and light-blue is termed "sky blue". This blue color treatment is usually performed on grayish-blue or silver-gray gemstones.