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Aquamarine - The Official New Zealand Guide

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

The name Aquamarine translates to 'sea water' in Latin. Invoking its namesake - a sublime clear blue ocean. For many New Zealanders, Aquamarine is most recognisable for being the birthstone for March. Fitting, as March falls under the zodiac of Pisces, a water sign.

Loose aquamarine gemstones available to purchase at The Sapphire Merchant
Aquamarine stocked by The Sapphire Merchant

Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family. Beryl, in its purest form, is colourless. However, impurities in the mineral change how it is classified. For example, a trace of iron turns Beryl into Aquamarine, a trace of Manganese turns Beryl into Morganite, and a trace of chromium turns Beryl into Emerald.

The majority of natural coloured aquamarine is light blueish-green. Before the 19th century, this colour was fashionable. Today Aquamarine is often heat-treated to remove any trace of the green hue, thereby morphing it into a blue gemstone. The more intense the blue colour, the more valuable the gemstone.

Most examples of faceted Aquamarine have high transparency and clarity, even under a loupe. In addition, aquamarine is a durable gemstone and rates 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes it appropriate for everyday wear. Because of its high clarity, lustre and sparkle, Aquamarine can make an eye-catching alternative to diamond.

Aquamarine Ring
Aquamarine photographed in a display ring

The Dom Pedro Aquamarine holds the title of the largest aquamarine specimen in the world. 3 mining prospectors discovered it in the late 1980s at Pedra Azul, a mining region in Brazil. Fashioned from an enormous aquamarine crystal, it weighed an astonishing 27kgs and measured 60cm in length before being cut into its obelisk shape by Bernd Munsteiner. It took Munsteiner, a master gem cutter, over 6 months to complete, and upon completion, he named it the Dom Pedro after Brazil's two emperors who ruled in 1822 and 1841. The Dom Pedro can be viewed at the Gem Collection Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, commissioned an aquamarine ring to replace her wedding ring after her divorce from Prince Charles. Diana chose an exceptional 30ct emerald cut aquamarine and had this set in 24-carat gold and accentuated with the highest quality solitaire diamonds. A ring fit for a queen, she was often photographed wearing it. Diana's son Prince Harry gifted the ring to his wife Meghan Markle, who wore it as her 'something blue' on their wedding day.

Princess Diana wearing her aquamarine ring
Lady Diana wearing her Aquamarine Ring

One of Queen Elizabeth's favourite headdresses is the breathtaking Brazilian Aquamarine Parure Tiara presented to her as a gift by the President of Brazil to mark her 1953 coronation. The Queen has been photographed over the years wearing this specular item.

A little known fact about Aquamarine is that it is traditionally a gift given on your 19th wedding anniversary. The aquamarine gemstone is sometimes traded out for china, glass or vases of an aquamarine colour.

Fine quality natural Aquamarine is on average priced at $700 - USD 2300 per carat. Brazil is the largest producer of Aquamarine, followed by Madagascar, Mozambique, Ukraine, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zambia.

Aquamarine earrings
Aquamarine Pair

The Sapphire Merchant retails a beautiful selection of Aquamarine at wholesale prices. These loose gemstones enable you to design your own bespoke aquamarine ring, earrings, aquamarine pendant or aquamarine bracelet. Shop our collection today


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