Aquamarine, beryllium aluminum silicate (Be3 Al2 Si6 018) is a pale blue-green colored Beryl with a hexagonal crystal structure that is closely related to Emerald. The gem's color is caused by trace amounts of iron within the crystal structure and can range from pale ice to tropical blue. Specific gravity is 2.68 - 2.74, refractive indices range from about 1.57 - 1.58 and hardness is between 7.5 and 8 on the Moh Scale.
Aquamarine's even color, hardness and ability to take a high polish makes it a popular stone for jewelry setting and the crystal can withstand complicated cutting that would fracture other gems, making it ideal for innovative designs. The value of an Aquamarine is largely determined by the intensity of its color, with a pure, clear blue being the most valuable. Pale or yellow-hued stones are often heat treated to improve their color. The names given to the different shades of blue are as pretty as the gem itself. 'Santa Maria', from the Santa Maria de Itariba Mine in Brazil, has a rare, intense blue color. Less intense, but still very beautiful, are 'Espirito Santo' and 'Martha Rocha', named after Miss Brazil, 1954. Aquamarines from Mozambique are known as 'Santa Maria Africana'.
Aquamarine is usually found in any location that yields Beryl. Brazil is the most important source of gem grade crystals, supplying most of the material on the market. The largest and most beautiful Aquamarines in the world have been discovered in Brazil, including a 242lb (110kg) crystal unearthed from Minas Gerais in 1910 and 'Dom Pedro', the largest Aquamarine ever cut at 57lb (26kg). Outside of Brazil, Aquamarine is also found in Russia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the African nations of Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar and Mozambique. In the United States there are deposits at the summit of Mount Antero in Colorado, and Aquamarine is Colorado's official State Gem.
The name Aquamarine, from the Latin 'aqua marina', simply means 'sea water', and is very descriptive of this translucent blue Beryl. Not surprisingly, Aquamarine is magically associated with the powers of elemental Water. According to legend the gem was first discovered in a mermaid's treasure chest, and in some stories the mermaid's tail is said to be made from the stone. It has long been considered a good luck charm for sailors and fishermen, as it is said to bring its wearer under the kindly influence of the fickle sea deities and to protect from drowning. Aquamarine is an excellent stone for a Sea Priestess and can be used to good effect in any type of water magic, cleansing ritual or emotional healing.
When used in crystal healing Aquamarine encourages emotional release, which is often manifested as cleansing tears. It is not unusual for half-forgotten memories and old hurts to surface when working with this stone, and it is important to let your tears flow freely if you feel them rising, as this will help you release some of the emotional energy attached to those memories. The gem can help clear away energy blockages in your system and release negative energy that has been stored up over the years. Treat yourself to a session with an understanding massage therapist and wear Aquamarine when you go - you may experience a profound release of emotional energy as well as physical tension.
In the Middle Ages Aquamarine was popular as a healing stone, used mainly for stomach disorders and toothache. It was believed to have the power to neutralize any poison, perhaps because of its link with water and a belief it could somehow flush the poison from the body. Ground crystal in water was recommended as an antidote. Cups and bowls were sometimes carved from the gem because of its power to reduce body fluids, prevent 'black bile' and melancholia and aid digestion. In the modern age an Aquamarine gem elixir taken as part of a healthy, cleansing diet would be helpful for reducing toxins in your system and improving overall health. Aquamarine may also be useful for treating eating disorders because of its ability to help heal the emotional problems that lie behind bulimia and anorexia.
Aquamarine is believed to help relieve stress and tension, mitigate their physical side effects, calm the mind and soothe the nerves. It is a helpful gem to keep near you if you are suffering emotional pain or are naturally empathic and feel overwhelmed by the emotional energy of others. It is also said to be a good crystal for treating post traumatic stress syndrome.
Over the course of time the sea can erode solid rock into sand, and similarly Aquamarine is said to give the patience and focus necessary to gently but persistently break up any problem or fear that is holding you back. Whisper your troubles to an Aquamarine crystal and leave it outside in a dish of water under the waning Moon to see them diminish.
Meditation with Aquamarine is said to raise spiritual energy, concentrate power and reveal visions of the future, so it is a wonderful gem to wear when practising any form of divination. The stone is believed to encourage visions and help you develop your visualization skills and creative imagination. Aquamarine is a powerful crystal for anyone who is working to better themselves or raise their spiritual awareness. With regular use it is said to open the mind's eye and help your inner vision and intuitive knowledge become clearer and better focused. It also opens the heart to feelings of sympathy, empathy, trust and companionship and can help foster mutual understanding between friends, partners and co-workers. In folklore Aquamarine is said to help you find a like minded partner and a happy, mutually beneficial relationship or marriage.
Aquamarine is sometimes given as the birthstone for March, and is the gemstone for a 19th anniversary.