Home Aquamarine What is the World’s Best Aquamarine?

What is the World’s Best Aquamarine?

by Madonna

Aquamarine, named for the Latin term “aqua marina” meaning “water of the sea,” is a gemstone known for its stunning blue to blue-green color, evoking the tranquility and beauty of the ocean. This gemstone, a member of the beryl family, has captivated humanity for centuries with its serene hues and mystical properties. But what makes an aquamarine the “best” in the world? This article delves into the factors that determine the quality of aquamarine, explores some of the finest specimens discovered, and provides insights into its historical and modern significance.

What Determines the Quality of Aquamarine?

Color: The Most Important Factor

The color of aquamarine ranges from pale blue to deep blue, with the most desirable and valuable stones displaying a rich, vivid blue color. This hue is typically enhanced by the presence of iron within the crystal structure. The deeper the blue, the more valuable the aquamarine. Stones with a greenish tint are less prized, though still beautiful in their own right.


Impact of Heat Treatment

Many aquamarines undergo heat treatment to enhance their blue color by reducing the greenish hues. This process is widely accepted within the gem trade and does not diminish the stone’s value. However, untreated stones with naturally vibrant blue colors are considered particularly valuable and rare.


Clarity: Transparency and Inclusions

Aquamarine is known for its exceptional clarity. The best stones are eye-clean, meaning they have no visible inclusions when examined with the naked eye. Inclusions can affect the stone’s overall appearance and reduce its value. Highly transparent stones that allow light to pass through effortlessly are the most sought after.


Cut: Maximizing the Gem’s Beauty

The cut of an aquamarine significantly influences its beauty and value. Skilled gem cutters aim to maximize the stone’s brilliance and color while minimizing waste. The most common cuts for aquamarine are emerald, oval, and pear shapes. A well-cut aquamarine will display a uniform color and excellent light reflection.

Carat Weight: Size Matters

Like most gemstones, the value of aquamarine increases with size. Larger stones are rarer and therefore more valuable. However, even small stones can be exquisite if they possess excellent color, clarity, and cut.

Origin: Geographic Significance

The origin of an aquamarine can also impact its value. Some of the finest aquamarines come from Brazil, particularly from the Minas Gerais region. Other notable sources include Nigeria, Madagascar, Pakistan, and Mozambique. Each locale produces stones with unique characteristics, contributing to their desirability among collectors and gem enthusiasts.

Historical Significance of Aquamarine

Aquamarine has a rich history intertwined with myths, legends, and historical anecdotes. Ancient civilizations revered this gemstone for its supposed protective and healing properties. Sailors, in particular, treasured aquamarine, believing it to be the mermaids’ treasure that could safeguard them from the perils of the sea.

Ancient Myths and Legends

In ancient Greece and Rome, aquamarine was associated with Neptune, the god of the sea. It was believed to bring safety and prosperity to sailors and was often worn as a talisman. The Egyptians also valued aquamarine, considering it a symbol of happiness and eternal youth.

Medieval and Renaissance Periods

During the Middle Ages, aquamarine was thought to possess healing powers. It was used to treat ailments of the eyes and throat and to alleviate the pain of arthritis. In the Renaissance period, aquamarine was often engraved with images of frogs, which were believed to reconcile enemies and turn them into friends.

Notable Aquamarines in History

Several aquamarines have gained fame due to their extraordinary size, color, and clarity. Here are some of the most notable specimens:

The Dom Pedro Aquamarine

The Dom Pedro Aquamarine is the world’s largest cut aquamarine, weighing an astounding 10,363 carats (4.6 pounds). Discovered in the late 1980s in Minas Gerais, Brazil, this gem was named after Brazil’s first two emperors, Dom Pedro I and II. The Dom Pedro is an elongated obelisk, masterfully cut by German gem cutter Bernd Munsteiner, and is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Martha Rocha Aquamarine

Named after the Brazilian beauty queen Martha Rocha, this aquamarine weighs 55 pounds and is one of the largest ever found. Discovered in 1954 in Minas Gerais, this gem is known for its exceptional color and clarity. Although it was never cut into gemstones, its sheer size and beauty have made it legendary.

The Hirsch Aquamarine

The Hirsch Aquamarine is a remarkable gemstone weighing 109.02 carats. It was mined in Santa Maria de Itabira, Brazil, a location renowned for producing aquamarines with a deep blue hue. The Hirsch Aquamarine is celebrated for its vivid color and excellent clarity, making it one of the finest examples of aquamarine in the world.

The Roosevelt Aquamarine

Presented to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during a visit to Brazil in 1936, the Roosevelt Aquamarine weighs 1,298 carats. This impressive stone, with its deep blue color and flawless clarity, remains a symbol of the strong diplomatic ties between Brazil and the United States.

Modern Uses and Significance of Aquamarine

Aquamarine continues to be a popular gemstone in modern jewelry, appreciated for its beauty and versatility. It is often used in rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, aquamarine is also believed to possess various metaphysical properties.

Jewelry and Fashion

Aquamarine’s hardness, rated at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, makes it suitable for everyday wear. Its calming blue color complements both casual and formal attire, making it a favorite among designers and consumers alike. Aquamarine is particularly popular in engagement rings and statement pieces due to its striking appearance.

Metaphysical Properties

In the realm of crystal healing, aquamarine is associated with tranquility, clarity, and communication. It is believed to soothe anxiety, promote mental clarity, and enhance self-expression. Many people use aquamarine to meditate and connect with their inner selves, harnessing the stone’s calming energies.

See Also: What Color Jewelry Goes With Aquamarine?

How to Care for Aquamarine Jewelry

To maintain the beauty and longevity of aquamarine jewelry, proper care is essential. Here are some tips to keep your aquamarine pieces looking their best:


Clean aquamarine jewelry regularly using warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the stone. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.


Store aquamarine jewelry separately from other pieces to prevent scratching. Use a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box to protect the stone from damage.

Avoiding Damage

Aquamarine is durable but can still be chipped or scratched if subjected to rough handling. Avoid wearing aquamarine jewelry during activities that could cause impact or abrasion. Additionally, protect the stone from extreme temperatures and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, which can affect its color.


Aquamarine, with its captivating blue hues and rich history, remains one of the most beloved gemstones in the world. The “best” aquamarine is characterized by its vibrant color, exceptional clarity, expert cut, and substantial size. Historical specimens like the Dom Pedro and the Roosevelt Aquamarine exemplify the pinnacle of this gemstone’s beauty.

In modern times, aquamarine continues to enchant jewelry enthusiasts and crystal healers alike. Its soothing energy and stunning appearance make it a cherished addition to any collection. As sustainable mining practices and technological advancements shape the future of the gemstone industry, aquamarine’s legacy as a symbol of tranquility and beauty is set to endure for generations to come.


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