Aquamarine, the lovely blue-green member of the beryl family, has been used in jewelry since the third century B.C. and is one of the most fashionable gemstones today. For hundreds of years it was called "The Sailor's Stone," due to its sea-like colors, ranging from a pale sky blue to a deep blue-green, and was thought to protect sailors and people traveling over water....
The earliest aquamarine probably came from India, where it was highly regarded by Hindu mystics as an aid to promoting mental clarity and to improving one's public speaking.
Medieval alchemists believed aquamarine would prevent excess water retention in the body and enhance the digestive and eliminative functions. In the medieval alchemical charts of gem properties, aquamarine is shown as ruling the kidneys, bladder and urethra. 19th Century Chinese carvers produced snuff bottles and delicate figurines out of larger pieces of aquamarine, because it is easy to carve and polishes beautifully.
Even today, many people who believe in the spiritual properties of gemstones wear aquamarine to give them religious and mental inspiration, provide inner calm and enhance both verbal and written communication. Aquamarine's popularity helped make it a March birthstone earlier this century.
Queen Elizabeth II owns a matched set of aquamarine necklace, bracelet and earrings given to her by the Brazilian people shortly after her coronation in 1953. The Queen has added a matching tiara and sometimes wears the entire aquamarine ensemble for state occasions or diplomatic receptions.
Aquamarine has always been available in small sizes from one-half carat up to 10-carat stones. However, finds in Brazil and Africa have made aquamarine of much larger sizes more accessible for use in jewelry.
Aquamarine is tough, durable and takes an excellent polish. Aquas can be worn in rings and bracelets with minimal risk if the settings are designed to protect the gems. Avoid steam cleaning or excess heat. Clear stones, called eye-clean, are free of inclusions to the naked eye and can be worn under most conditions.
Recently designers have begun combining aquamarines with golden citrines, emeralds or tsavorite garnets, sapphires and pink tourmalines to provide fresh fashion color palettes.
You don't have to be a sailor or a March-born baby to enjoy the beauty and sparkle of aquamarine. It's a year-round treasure of a gem.