Aquamarine - The March Birthstone


Aquamarine is the true March birthstone but for the sheer love of the look of a blue gemstone, either aquamarine or blue topaz can fit the bill. Aquamarine is the more costly of the two stones per carat for much the same visual effect but has the benefit of authenticity when it comes to colour, which is important to many buyers.

In short, aquamarines are more expensive than blue topaz simply because blue topaz is more accessible than aquamarine. A blue topaz is usually produced by colouring a white topaz through irradiation and intense heat. Aquamarines on the other hand are natural so are a lot rarer and more expensive as a result.

 

Aquamarine

The name aquamarine derives from the Latin words, aqua- meaning ‘water’ and marina- meaning ‘of the sea’.  Aquamarines have been linked to the Romans and Greeks, and the gemstone was considered to be sacred by Neptune, Roman God of the Sea.

The colour of an aquamarine tends to vary along the blue-green colour spectrum. The majority of aquamarines are of light blue colour, but the most expensive and coveted aquamarines are a darker blue.

Aquamarine is 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, which means that it has a high level of toughness, and this generally protects it from scratches. To clean an aquamarine gemstone you should use warm soapy water. It can also be cleaned using ultrasonic and steam cleaners unless the stone has liquid inclusions or fractures.

The name aquamarine derives from the Latin words, aqua- meaning ‘water’ and marina- meaning ‘of the sea’.  Aquamarines have been linked to the Romans and Greeks, and the gemstone was considered to be sacred by Neptune, Roman God of the Sea.

The March birthstone comes in a broad range of hues, from almost colourless to rich blue-green shades reminiscent of the deep sea. It is a derivative of the beryl mineral. While many precious gemstones, such as emeralds and sapphires, are prone to flaws, it is easy to find an abundance of flawless aquamarine in the market. It is wonderfully durable, though it is susceptible to internal cracks if rapped hard against unforgiving surfaces. Left in direct sunlight for too long, some aquamarines can experience fading.

Some in the gemstone industry treat aquamarine with heat, bringing out deeper, more blue tones as these are seen as the most desirable.

No aquamarine from Anja Potze Fine Jewellery is heat treated, however, and you can be sure that the colour you see is the colour that Mother Nature created.

 

Blue Topaz

In its pure, natural form topaz is white, but impurities make it change colour. The colour of a topaz is determined by the levels of iron and chromium that are in the stone. It is important to note that blue topaz does not occur in nature, except in very rare circumstances, and then only in very pale shades. To create blue topaz, specialists treat white topaz with irradiation first and then intense heat. Thus blue topaz gemstones are created in almost the same colour range as aquamarine.

Dating back thousands of years its name derives from the word 'Topazos', which is an ancient island in the Red Sea. It is thought to heal both physical and mental illnesses as well as prevent death.

A topaz rates 8 on the Mohs scale meaning that it is a lot harder than other gemstones and slightly harder than an aquamarine which rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.

A topaz has a perfect cleavage which means that it is more susceptible to scratches or fractures. You can clean a blue topaz gemstone by soaking it in a bowl of soapy warm water for 20-30 minutes then gently rubbing a soft bristled toothbrush over it.

Extraordinarily hard with a vitreous lustre, blue topaz seems practically identical to aquamarine. Though hard, topaz varieties feature perfect cleavage, which means they are easy to crack and chip on impact. Nonetheless, after sapphire, blue topaz is the most-popular coloured gemstone on the market. It is also very affordable. Easy to find in much the same range of colour and clarity as aquamarine, it is a rather exceptional value.

Blue topaz is a stunning and less expensive option for lovers of blue gemstones and creates an indistinguishable effect from aquamarine to all but the most keenly trained eye.

 

How to tell the difference between blue topaz and aquamarine

 

When buying an aquamarine you need to be careful. A light blue topaz is cheaper than an aquamarine, and it is very hard to differentiate between the two. The two are so similar in fact that fraudulent jewellers sometimes advertise and sell a topaz as an aquamarine instead.

By using a jewellers loupe you can tell the two gemstones apart. If you see two refraction lines when looking through a jewellers loupe at a gemstone you will know that it is in fact a blue topaz and not an aquamarine.


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