MARCH BIRTHSTONES--AQUAMARINE AND SKY-BLUE TOPAZ
These are the birthstones that the month of March features: Aquamarine and Sky Blue Topaz. Both aquamarine and sky blue topaz are wonderful options to represent a March birthstone, in fact they are wonderful choices for anyone who enjoys the blue hues of either stone.
"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. In general, the purer and more intense the blue color, the rarer and more valuable the stone. (Large gems with intense color that are selling for less than $100 are unlikely to be aquamarine.)
Almost all aquamarines on the market today 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 gemstones that are milky or included are much less expensive. When faceted, aquamarines are usually eye-clean, but stones with eye-visible inclusions are fashioned into cabochons, beads, or carvings. With a hardness of 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale, aquamarine is tough and durable—a good choice for jewelry worn every day.
The majority of aquamarine is mined in Brazil where the largest crystal ever found weighed in at a whopping 242 lbs. In the United States, aquamarine can be found in North Carolina and also in Colorado, where it is the state gem.
The name “aquamarine” is derived from two Latin words: aqua, meaning “water,” and marina, meaning “of the sea." Ancient mariners claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. This March birthstone was also thought to bring happiness in marriage and to give the wearer courage, happiness, and protection against foes in battle. Aquamarine is not only the birthstone for March, but the gem is also given as a present on the 19th wedding anniversary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blue topaz was believed to protect the wearer from burns and raging tempers and to imbue its owner with kindness and calmness. It is considered a symbol of water, sky, and wind, and of peace.
Both Topaz and aquamarine are wonderful options to represent a March birthstone, in fact they are wonderful choices for anyone who enjoys the blue hues of either stone.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARCH, and thanks for reading our blog!