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aquamarinerough

Rough aquamarine from Afghanistan.  Stones sold through MineDirect.com. http://www.minedirect.com/EnlargedPages/Pakistan/FacetCabbingRough/Aquamarine/

The calm, cool sibling of emerald and heliodor, aquamarine is one of the more valuable members of the beryl group.  It is the light blue form of beryl, also known as beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate (Be3Al2(SiO3)6).  Pure beryl is colorless, and aquamarine’s hue comes from the presence of Fe2+ ions.

Aquamarine ranges from icy pale blue to bright ocean teal, hence its Latin naming for the color of seawater.  The more vibrant stones are typically more valuable, and while heating can increase the clarity and depth of color, it produces more of a sky blue, similar to a Swiss topaz.  Virtually all aquamarines on the market have been heat treated, but natural greenish material is still out there, and gaining popularity.  Aquamarine varies from clear to milky, and asterism occurs on rare occasions, seen as a four-pointed star.  At around 8 Mohs, it is a durable stone and its relative scarcity makes it always in demand.

Africa is home to several aquamarine deposits (Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya, just to name a few) but it is generally less expensive than material from Brazil or Columbia.  The Middle East also has beautiful specimens, and in the US you can find aquamarine in Colorado and Wyoming.

aquamarinefrogCarved frog amulet, New Kingdom, Egypt, 1567-1085 BCE.  For sale at http://www.forumancientcoins.com/

Aquamarine is said to be the stone of courage and purpose and was a common talisman of soldiers, sailors, and people traveling by sea.  Ancient Egyptian midwives and mothers wore carved frogs of aquamarine or other blue stones, believing the items granted protection and favor from the goddess of birth and resurrection, Heqet.  The frog was her symbol because the annual flooding of the Nile always brought new life and millions of tadpoles.  In metaphysical healing, aquamarine is a bit of a cure-all, from preventing yawning and laziness to toothaches, heartaches, headaches, joint aches, and tummy aches.

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