Home Aquamarine Is Aquamarine a Precious Gem: What You Need To Know

Is Aquamarine a Precious Gem: What You Need To Know

by Madonna

Gemstones have captivated humanity for centuries, adorning jewelry, crowns, and artifacts with their mesmerizing beauty. Among these gemstones, aquamarine is a gem of subtle charm and grace. Its alluring blue hue, reminiscent of the ocean’s depths, has made it a popular choice for jewelry enthusiasts. However, the question remains: is aquamarine a precious gem? In this article, we delve into the world of aquamarine to understand its characteristics, historical significance, rarity, and value, ultimately shedding light on its status as a precious gem.

The Enchanting World of Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl, a silicate mineral that includes other well-known gemstones like emerald and morganite. Beryl’s composition primarily consists of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate, which gives it its distinct hardness and luster. In the case of aquamarine, the presence of trace elements, particularly iron, imparts its enchanting blue color.


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Captivating Blue Hues

The name “aquamarine” derives from the Latin words “aqua” (water) and “mare” (sea), a testament to its stunning blue hues reminiscent of the ocean’s depths. Aquamarine’s color can range from pale, almost transparent, to deeper shades of blue. The most prized aquamarines exhibit a clear, vivid blue with excellent transparency, often referred to as “Santa Maria” aquamarine, after the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, where some of the finest specimens were discovered.


Historical Significance of Aquamarine

Here are the historical significance of aquamarine:

1. Ancient Legends and Beliefs

Throughout history, aquamarine has held a special place in various cultures. It was considered a symbol of purity, tranquility, and the eternal youth of the sea. In ancient times, people believed that wearing aquamarine could protect sailors from the perils of the sea, providing a calming influence during stormy voyages. Additionally, it was thought to bestow courage and inner peace upon its wearers.

2. Royal Connections

Aquamarine has long been associated with royalty and nobility. The gemstone’s connection to the British royal family is well-documented, as Queen Elizabeth II’s collection includes a breathtaking aquamarine tiara, a gift from the people of Brazil. Such royal endorsements have further elevated the gem’s reputation.

Evaluating Aquamarine’s Rarity

Here’s how to evaluate aquamarine’s rarity:

1. Geographical Sources

Aquamarine is primarily mined in various countries, with Brazil, Madagascar, and Nigeria being significant producers. Other notable sources include Afghanistan, Mozambique, and the United States, among others. The availability of aquamarine from these diverse locations contributes to its global appeal.

2. Varied Qualities and Scarcity

As with many gemstones, aquamarine’s value is influenced by factors such as color, clarity, size, and cut. While there is a range of aquamarines with varying quality, the truly exceptional pieces with intense blue color and minimal inclusions are relatively rare. This scarcity of top-quality aquamarine specimens adds to their desirability among collectors and jewelry connoisseurs.

3. Treasured Varieties

Certain varieties of aquamarine are highly sought after due to their unique characteristics. In addition to the “Santa Maria” aquamarine mentioned earlier, there are other prized varieties like “Maxixe” aquamarine, which displays a deeper blue, although it may fade when exposed to sunlight. The exquisite “Espirito Santo” aquamarine, found in the state of the same name in Brazil, is celebrated for its remarkable transparency and clarity, adding to its rarity and value.

See Also: When & Where to Find The Aquamarine: Things You Need To Know

Assessing Aquamarine’s Value

Here’s how to estimate the value of aquamarine:

1. Market Trends

The value of aquamarine is subject to market dynamics, including supply and demand, cultural preferences, and economic factors. Over the years, the gemstone has seen fluctuations in its market value, but it has consistently been a desirable choice for jewelry. The market for aquamarine is generally stable, with an upward trajectory driven by its enduring popularity.

2. Jewelry Appeal

Aquamarine’s elegance and versatility make it a beloved choice for jewelry designers. Its soothing blue color complements a wide range of metals and other gemstones, making it suitable for a variety of designs. Aquamarine jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings, is a favorite among those who appreciate its understated beauty.

3. Investment Potential

While aquamarine may not reach the astronomical prices of some other gemstones, it has found its niche in the world of gemstone investments. Rare, high-quality aquamarines have appreciated in value over the years, making them an attractive option for collectors and investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

4. Gemstone Certifications

To assess the value and authenticity of aquamarine, gemological certifications play a crucial role. Reputable gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI), provide detailed reports on the quality and characteristics of individual aquamarine gemstones. These certifications are essential for buyers and sellers to determine the true worth of an aquamarine.

Is Aquamarine a Precious Gem?

Before determining whether aquamarine qualifies as a precious gem, it’s essential to clarify the criteria for categorizing gemstones as “precious.” Traditionally, the term “precious” has been associated with gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, which are known for their exceptional rarity, hardness, and enduring desirability. These gemstones have been considered precious for centuries.

In recent years, the gemstone industry has witnessed a shift in the use of the terms “precious” and “semi-precious” to describe gemstones. This shift reflects a more inclusive and modern perspective on gemstones, acknowledging the inherent beauty and value of a wider range of gems beyond the traditional “big four.”

Aquamarine’s Qualities

Aquamarine exhibits qualities that make it a valuable gemstone. Its association with purity and serenity, its captivating blue color, and its historical significance all contribute to its overall appeal. Furthermore, the gem’s investment potential and stable market demand emphasize its standing in the gemstone world.

1. Rarity and Scarcity

While aquamarine may not be as rare as some of the classic precious gemstones, its top-quality specimens are still relatively scarce. The unique varieties, such as “Santa Maria” and “Espirito Santo” aquamarine, are particularly sought after for their rarity and exceptional beauty.

2. A Precious Status

Considering aquamarine’s unique qualities, its place in history, and its ongoing appeal, it’s reasonable to argue that it deserves to be classified as a precious gem. The evolving terminology within the gem industry supports this view, recognizing the intrinsic value and beauty of aquamarine.

Caring for Aquamarine Jewelry

Here’s how to care for aquamarine jewelry:

1. Durability

Aquamarine’s hardness, rated 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, makes it a durable gemstone suitable for various jewelry types, including rings and necklaces. However, like all gemstones, it requires proper care to maintain its beauty and value.

2. Cleaning and Storage

To keep aquamarine jewelry looking its best, regular cleaning is essential. Use a mild soap or specialized jewelry cleaner and a soft brush to remove dirt and oils. Avoid exposing aquamarine to harsh chemicals or sudden temperature changes, as these can damage the gemstone. When not in use, store your aquamarine jewelry in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box to prevent scratching and protect it from light and humidity.


Aquamarine, with its captivating blue hues, historical significance, rarity, and enduring appeal, deserves recognition as a precious gem. While it may not fit the traditional definition of “precious” alongside diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, the evolving terminology within the gem industry acknowledges the unique qualities and value of aquamarine. As a gemstone that has graced royal collections, protected sailors on perilous journeys, and delighted jewelry enthusiasts, aquamarine’s status as a precious gem is unquestionable.

In the world of gemstones, aquamarine’s allure is a testament to the rich tapestry of nature’s treasures. Whether worn as a symbol of serenity, a statement of elegance, or a unique investment, aquamarine continues to capture hearts and minds, forever enchanting those who appreciate its understated beauty.


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