Aquamarine is a pale greenish blue member of the beryl family. It is March’s birthstone and gets its calming colour from trace amounts of iron. Other members of the beryl family include emerald and morganite.
Semi-Precious Aquamarine Gemstone.
Aquamarine can be one of the more valuable semi-precious gemstones. However, because aquamarine has such a wide range in prices, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re buying before you do. An aquamarine gemstone could cost you anywhere from $200 to $2,500, so you’ll want to do your research. March birthstone with a focus on the stone’s origins, history, quality factors, and value.
Largest Cut and Carved Aquamarine.
The Dom Pedro aquamarine is the largest cut and carved aquamarine gem, and it is magnificent. The 10,363 carat sculpture stands an impressive 14 inches tall. The famous stone was mined in Brazil in the late 1980’s and is named after Brazil’s first two emperors. Check out the image above for a close up look at the intriguing gem on display at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.
Most Famous Aquamarine.
Most famous aquamarines are famous for both their colour and their size. One of my favourites is the aquamarine made famous by First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. The stone is an enchanting blueish-green aquamarine that weighs 1,298 carats. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, step cut stone in the world. The stone was given to the first lady when she and President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Brazil in 1936 as part of the “Good Neighbour” cruise in South America.
Semi-Precious vs. Precious
Aquamarine is a semi-precious gemstone but can be as valuable as a precious gemstone under the right conditions. It is more expensive than blue topaz, another similarly coloured birthstone, due to its rarity and popularity. Aquamarine’s price varies from very affordable to very expensive depending on a number of factors.
Though aquamarine can have thin, needle-like inclusions, most aquamarine on the fine jewellery market is clear and eye clean. Aquamarine does have a heavily included, opaque version, and these are usually carved into cabochons, beads, or other shapes.
Aquamarine’s inclusions tend to run parallel to one another in long, thin lines. In rare form, some aquamarine stones have so many of these inclusions that they can display a cat’s-eye effect.
Unlike many other gemstones, the colour of aquamarine is very limited. Colours range from a pale sea foam green to a deep mid-toned ocean blue, the latter being the more valuable colour. Colour zoning is rare for this gemstone, so it doesn’t play into the value as much as it would for sapphire, which has much more potential for undesirable colour zoning.
In the next section, you will learn more about aquamarine treatments. For now, know that pale baby blue stones and lighter coloured sea foam green stones are similar in price even though one has been treated and one has not.
Carat sizes on aquamarine can commonly be found above 10 carats, which makes aquamarine a versatile option for larger scaled designs. The larger the aquamarine, the more likely it is to have a deep, desirable colour.
Small stones under 5 carats tend to be very faded looking and can often look like clear topaz with a very slight blue tinge. However, there are some mines that produce smaller stones that have a natural, intense colour. These stones may cost significantly more per carat than a larger, more faded aquamarine. The most important factor then is colour and not carat.
Aquamarine is usually clear but does come in a variety of clarity grades. Heavily included and opaque stones are generally cut into cabochon shapes or carved into intricate designs. Smaller, transparent stones are usually cut into ovals, and larger, transparent stones are usually cut into emerald cuts. However, unlike some coloured stones, there is no underlying cut that the stone is usually shaped into. Eye-clean stones have the ability to be cut into kites, marquise, hearts, and any other fancy cut so long as there are no major inclusions that would compromise the overall stability.
Aquamarine in Australia.
Aquamarine can be found in north Queensland at O”brien Creeks, near Mount Surprise. We have not found Aquamarine. But we did buy a small rough light Aquamarine from the tourist shop in Mount Surprise. Once it was faceted it was a 7mm stone. cost $100 rough, the stone now is beautiful diamond cut stone. It is worth a lot more now that it has been faceted.
Large 3,700 carat gem one of six crystals stolen from Mount Surprise museum. Read More.