Home Aquamarine Are Colorless Aquamarines Still Authentic Aquamarines?

Are Colorless Aquamarines Still Authentic Aquamarines?

by Madonna

Aquamarine, with its captivating blue and greenish-blue hues, has long been cherished as a gemstone of choice for jewelry and decoration. Its serene and calming colors evoke the tranquility of the sea, making it a favorite among gemstone enthusiasts. However, not all aquamarines exhibit this classic coloration. Some aquamarines are virtually colorless, leading to questions about their authenticity and value. Are colorless aquamarines still authentic aquamarines? In this article, we will explore the science behind aquamarine coloration, the factors influencing its appearance, and the value of colorless aquamarines in the gemstone market.

Understanding Aquamarine: Composition and Color

Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl, which also includes other well-known gemstones such as emerald, morganite, and heliodor. Beryl has the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6, and its base color is typically pale or colorless. The color in beryl varieties is due to trace elements that replace aluminum in the crystal structure.


The Role of Iron in Aquamarine

The beautiful blue and greenish-blue colors of aquamarine are primarily due to the presence of iron (Fe) impurities within the beryl crystal structure. Iron can exist in two oxidation states within aquamarine: Fe2+ and Fe3+. The specific shade of blue depends on the ratio and location of these iron ions within the crystal lattice.


Fe2+ ions: These ions typically impart a blue coloration to the gemstone.


Fe3+ ions: These ions contribute to a greenish-blue or yellowish hue.

The interaction between Fe2+ and Fe3+ and their distribution within the beryl crystal leads to the range of colors seen in aquamarine. When both types of iron are present, the gemstone exhibits the more desirable deep blue or greenish-blue color.

Colorless Aquamarines: A Natural Phenomenon

Absence of Chromophoric Elements

Colorless aquamarines, also known as goshenite, occur naturally when the beryl crystal lacks significant amounts of chromophoric elements, particularly iron. In the absence of these impurities, the beryl remains colorless or very pale in appearance. This does not make them any less authentic as aquamarines; it simply means they lack the impurities that would give them color.

Formation Conditions

The conditions under which beryl crystals form can influence whether the resulting aquamarine will be colored or colorless. Factors such as the composition of the host rock, the presence of certain minerals, and the temperature and pressure conditions all play a role in determining the final appearance of the gemstone.

In environments where there is a lack of iron or where the conditions do not favor the incorporation of iron into the beryl structure, colorless aquamarine will form. These conditions are natural and part of the geological processes that produce beryl crystals.

Authenticity and Classification

Definition of Authenticity

Authenticity in gemstones generally refers to whether a stone is natural or synthetic and whether it has been treated or altered in any way. A gemstone is considered authentic if it is naturally occurring and has not undergone any artificial enhancement processes.

Natural vs. Synthetic Aquamarines

Both colored and colorless aquamarines can be either natural or synthetic. Synthetic aquamarines are created in laboratories and have the same chemical and physical properties as their natural counterparts. However, they are not considered as valuable or as authentic in the traditional sense as natural aquamarines.

Colorless aquamarines that occur naturally are just as authentic as their colored counterparts. The lack of color does not detract from their authenticity. They are simply a different variation of the same mineral species.

Gemstone Treatments

Some aquamarines undergo treatments to enhance their color. The most common treatment for aquamarine is heat treatment, which can deepen the blue color by reducing the greenish hues caused by Fe3+ ions. However, colorless aquamarines are generally not subjected to such treatments because they lack the chromophoric elements that would respond to heat treatment.

Market Value of Colorless Aquamarines

Color as a Value Determinant

In the gemstone market, the color of an aquamarine significantly influences its value. Deep blue aquamarines are the most highly prized and command the highest prices. The desirability of the color is due to its rarity and visual appeal.

Colorless aquamarines, while authentic, are generally less valuable than their colored counterparts. The lack of color is often seen as a less desirable trait in the context of aquamarine gemstones. However, colorless beryl, or goshenite, can still have value, especially when it is of high clarity and cut quality.

Factors Influencing Value

Several factors influence the value of colorless aquamarines:

Clarity: High clarity, with few to no inclusions, can enhance the value of a colorless aquamarine.

Cut: The quality of the cut, which affects the gemstone’s brilliance and overall appearance, plays a significant role in its market value.

Carat Weight: Larger gemstones are generally more valuable, all else being equal.

Origin: The geographical origin of the gemstone can also influence its value. Certain locations are known for producing high-quality aquamarines, which can be a selling point.

Uses and Applications

Colorless aquamarines are used in various types of jewelry, including rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Their clear and transparent nature makes them versatile and suitable for a wide range of designs. They are often cut into various shapes and sizes to maximize their brilliance and aesthetic appeal.

In addition to their use in jewelry, colorless aquamarines can be of interest to collectors and gem enthusiasts. Their rarity in terms of being naturally occurring, colorless beryl can make them desirable for those who appreciate the full spectrum of beryl varieties.

Scientific and Historical Significance

Historical Uses of Beryl

Beryl has been used throughout history for various purposes, including ornamental and industrial applications. Colorless beryl, or goshenite, has been used historically for lenses and other optical devices due to its clarity and transparency.

Gemological Research

Colorless aquamarines provide valuable insights for gemologists studying the formation and properties of beryl. Analyzing colorless specimens can help researchers understand the conditions that lead to the presence or absence of chromophoric elements, contributing to the broader knowledge of gemstone formation.

See Also: Is There Fake Aquamarine?

Care and Maintenance of Colorless Aquamarines


Aquamarine, including its colorless variety, is relatively durable with a Mohs hardness of 7.5 to 8. This makes it suitable for everyday wear in various types of jewelry. However, care should be taken to avoid exposing the gemstone to harsh chemicals or extreme temperature changes, which could potentially damage the stone.


Colorless aquamarines can be cleaned using mild soap and warm water. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners, as these methods can cause damage. Gently scrubbing with a soft brush can help remove any dirt or debris.


To prevent scratches and other damage, store colorless aquamarine jewelry separately from other gemstones. Using a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box can help protect the gemstone’s surface.


In conclusion, colorless aquamarines, or goshenite, are indeed authentic aquamarines. Their lack of color is a result of the natural geological processes that form beryl crystals without significant chromophoric elements. While they may not be as highly valued in the gemstone market as their colored counterparts, colorless aquamarines possess their own unique beauty and significance.

Understanding the science behind aquamarine coloration and the factors that influence its appearance allows us to appreciate the diversity of this remarkable gemstone. Whether deep blue, greenish-blue, or colorless, each aquamarine is a testament to the wonders of nature and the intricate processes that create these captivating stones.

By embracing the full spectrum of aquamarine’s colors, we can cultivate a deeper appreciation for this beloved gemstone and recognize the value of all its variations, including the serene and elegant colorless aquamarines.


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