Home Aquamarine Is Aquamarine Naturally Blue: What You Need To Know

Is Aquamarine Naturally Blue: What You Need To Know

by Madonna

Aquamarine, with its soothing blue hue, has long been cherished as a gemstone that embodies the calming qualities of the sea. Its name even derives from the Latin words “aqua” and “marina,” meaning water and sea. However, the question of whether aquamarine is naturally blue or if it undergoes any treatments to achieve its color is a topic of interest among gemstone enthusiasts and collectors.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the fascinating world of aquamarine, delving into its natural origins, geological formation, color factors, and any treatments it might undergo to enhance its exquisite blue shade. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of what makes aquamarine the captivating gemstone that it is.


The Geological Origins of Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl, which is composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. Beryl is a relatively common mineral found in various geological settings, but the development of aquamarine’s signature blue color is the result of specific geological processes.


1. Beryl Formation:

Beryl typically forms in pegmatite veins, which are coarse-grained igneous rocks found in the Earth’s crust. Pegmatites often contain a rich concentration of minerals and are known for producing various gemstones.


2. The Role of Trace Elements:

The blue color of aquamarine is primarily attributed to trace elements within the beryl crystal lattice. In the case of aquamarine, the presence of iron and the absence of chromium, which is responsible for the red color in rubies, contribute to its blue hue.

3. Heat and Pressure:

During its formation, beryl crystals are subjected to high temperatures and pressures deep within the Earth’s crust. These conditions, combined with the presence of iron ions, influence the crystal’s coloration, resulting in the characteristic blue color of aquamarine.

See Also: Blue Topaz VS Aquamarine: Is it the same?

Natural Blue Aquamarine: A Gift from Nature

Natural blue aquamarine is indeed a product of geological processes and the presence of trace elements within beryl. This means that the stunning blue color of aquamarine, ranging from pale pastels to deep blues reminiscent of the ocean, is entirely natural and unaltered.

In its pure and untreated form, aquamarine is celebrated for its subtle yet captivating blue shades, which are reminiscent of clear, tranquil waters. Gem enthusiasts and collectors often value aquamarine for its natural beauty and authenticity, as it represents the gemstone in its most pristine state.

Methods of Processing Aquamarine and Its Effects

While natural blue aquamarine is highly prized, it is essential to acknowledge that some aquamarine gemstones may undergo treatments or enhancements to improve their color or clarity. These treatments are relatively common in the gemstone industry and can affect the overall appearance and value of aquamarine. It is crucial to understand these treatments and their implications:

1. Heat Treatment:

Heat treatment is a widely accepted practice in the gemstone industry, including for aquamarine. It involves subjecting the gem to controlled heat to enhance its color. In the case of aquamarine, heat treatment can intensify its blue hues, making them more vibrant and saturated. While this treatment is considered standard and stable, it should be disclosed to buyers.

2. Irradiation:

Some aquamarines may undergo irradiation to alter or enhance their color. This process can intensify blue tones. Irradiated aquamarine is generally considered safe for wear, but it’s crucial for sellers to disclose this treatment to consumers.

3. Clarity Enhancement:

To improve clarity, some aquamarines may be treated with traditional methods like oiling or resin filling. These treatments can fill minor surface fractures or inclusions, making the gem appear clearer. However, these enhancements should also be disclosed.

4. Beryllium Treatment:

In some cases, aquamarine may be subjected to beryllium diffusion, a treatment used to enhance color. While this can result in vivid blue hues, it is essential to disclose such treatments to maintain transparency in the gem market.

Determining Natural vs. Treated Aquamarine

Distinguishing between natural and treated aquamarine is crucial for buyers seeking authenticity. Gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), offer certification reports that disclose any treatments or enhancements performed on the gem. These reports provide essential information about the gemstone’s origin and any modifications it may have undergone. A trained gemologist can also examine the gem for signs of treatment, such as unusual color patterns, residues, or fillings. Consulting with reputable dealers and seeking transparency in the gem’s history are additional steps to ensure you acquire natural, untreated aquamarine, preserving its inherent beauty and value.

The Appeal of Natural Blue Aquamarine

Natural blue aquamarine holds a special place in the hearts of gemstone enthusiasts and collectors for several compelling reasons:

1. Authenticity:

Natural blue aquamarine is celebrated for its authenticity. Its captivating blue hues are entirely nature’s gift, free from any human intervention or enhancements.

2. Uniqueness:

Each natural aquamarine gem is unique, with its specific shade of blue and internal characteristics. Collectors value the individuality of each stone.

3. Collectible Rarity:

High-quality, untreated natural blue aquamarine is relatively rare, making it a prized addition to gemstone collections.

Investing in Natural Blue Aquamarine

Investing in natural blue aquamarine can be an attractive option for collectors and investors interested in the world of gemstones. Here are some considerations for those looking to invest in this alluring gem:

1. Quality Matters:

Focus on acquiring high-quality, natural, untreated aquamarines with intense blue colors, excellent clarity, and good cuts. These attributes will have better long-term investment potential.

2. Certification:

Always obtain gemological certificates from reputable laboratories to verify the gem’s authenticity and disclose any treatments.

3. Diversify:

Consider diversifying your gemstone portfolio to spread risk. Natural blue aquamarine can complement other gemstone investments.

4. Long-Term Perspective:

Gemstone investments often require a long-term perspective. Values can appreciate over time, but it may take years or even decades to see significant returns.

5. Market Awareness:

Stay informed about market trends, demand, and consumer preferences. This knowledge can help you make informed investment decisions.

See Also: Emerald VS Aquamarine: Which Is More Expensive?

In Conclusion

Aquamarine’s enchanting blue color is a natural wonder, stemming from geological processes that imbue the gem with its serene and soothing appearance. While treatments exist to enhance aquamarine’s color and clarity, natural blue aquamarine remains a highly valued gemstone prized for its authenticity, uniqueness, and metaphysical properties. Whether as an investment or a cherished piece of jewelry, the allure of natural blue aquamarine endures as a testament to the beauty and wonder of the natural world.


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