Aquamarine, the blue to green species of beryl, has been used in ornamental jewelry for thousands of years. The traces of iron found in the gem caused the seawater like color that varies in intensity from dark blue, medium blue green to pale sky blue that is almost colorless.
During the middle Ages, aquamarine was believed to be an antidote for poison and it was once a popular adornment for European monarchy. Additionally, aquamarine renders some medicinal powers and was thought to cure throat, liver, mouth and stomach illnesses.
Occasionally, aquamarine is heat treated to produce medium or richer shades of blue. However, the stone color may fade when exposed to extreme heat and can only be restored through irradiation.
Ranking a 7.5-8.0 in the Mohs scale of hardness, the aquamarine can withstand daily wear and fits all types of jewelry setting. It makes exquisite rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and earrings. Sterling silver, white gold, or yellow gold can be paired with aquamarine and may be embellished with diamonds or other precious or semi-precious colored gemstones.
Nearly all aquamarines are perfect or free from inclusions. Those stones with visible imperfections are very rare. Since it is attributed with impressive clarity, aquamarine is frequently faceted in diverse shapes and cuts.
As adopted by National Association of Jewelers in 1912, aquamarine recognizes the month of March. In many cultures, it also marks the 19th year of marriage and traditionally included as a wedding present.
Major sources of this gem are mined in Brazil and some deposits can be found in Madagascar, Russia and United States.