Home Aquamarine The Durability of Aquamarine: Can it Go In Salt Water?

The Durability of Aquamarine: Can it Go In Salt Water?

by Madonna

Aquamarine, with its alluring blue hue reminiscent of the ocean, is a gemstone that has captivated jewelry enthusiasts for centuries. As beautiful as it is, one question often lingers in the minds of those who own or consider acquiring aquamarine jewelry: Can aquamarine go in saltwater? In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this query, exploring the durability of aquamarine and its ability to withstand the challenges posed by saltwater exposure.

The Allure of Aquamarine

Before we delve into the compatibility of aquamarine with saltwater, let’s appreciate the unique charm of this gemstone. Aquamarine belongs to the beryl family, sharing its lineage with other well-known gemstones such as emerald and morganite. Its name is derived from the Latin words “aqua” and “marina,” meaning water and sea, respectively, a fitting description for its enchanting blue-green color reminiscent of ocean waters.


This gemstone has been cherished for centuries, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for the symbolism associated with it. Aquamarine is often considered a symbol of tranquility, courage, and clarity, making it a popular choice for various types of jewelry, from rings and necklaces to earrings and bracelets.


See Also: Is aquamarine a rock or mineral: Unraveling the Mystery


Understanding Aquamarine’s Composition

To assess the compatibility of aquamarine with saltwater, it’s crucial to understand its composition. Aquamarine is a variety of beryl, a mineral composed of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. The characteristic blue color of aquamarine is attributed to the presence of iron in its crystal structure. While aquamarine is generally considered durable, its reaction to specific environmental factors, including saltwater, is a topic that requires closer examination.

The Impact of Saltwater on Aquamarine

Here are the effects of salt water on aquamarine:

1. Chemical Reaction

Saltwater, with its corrosive nature, can pose challenges to various materials over time. When it comes to gemstones and jewelry, the impact of saltwater exposure is a concern for many. In the case of aquamarine, its composition offers some resistance to chemical reactions with saltwater. Beryl, the mineral group to which aquamarine belongs, is relatively stable, which means that aquamarine is not highly susceptible to corrosion or chemical alteration in a saltwater environment.

However, it’s essential to note that while aquamarine is resistant to the chemical effects of saltwater, it is not entirely impervious to potential damage. Factors such as the cut, clarity, and overall quality of the gemstone, as well as the type of jewelry setting, can influence its resilience in a saltwater setting.

2. Mechanical Considerations

Beyond the chemical aspects, the mechanical impact of saltwater on aquamarine must also be considered. Saltwater, particularly in the context of ocean environments, introduces additional challenges such as abrasion and physical stress. Aquamarine, like any gemstone, can be scratched or damaged by abrasive materials present in saltwater, such as sand and debris.

The vulnerability of aquamarine to scratching depends on its hardness. According to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, aquamarine has a rating of 7.5 to 8, indicating moderate to high hardness. While this makes aquamarine relatively resistant to scratching compared to softer gemstones, it’s still advisable to exercise caution to preserve the gemstone’s brilliance and integrity.

Aquamarine in Various Jewelry Settings

The durability of aquamarine in saltwater is also influenced by the type of jewelry setting. Different settings expose the gemstone to varying degrees of risk, and understanding these nuances is crucial for preserving the longevity of aquamarine jewelry.

1. Prong Settings

Prong settings, which use metal claws to secure the gemstone in place, are a common choice for aquamarine rings. While this setting allows for maximum light exposure, it also exposes the sides and corners of the gemstone, potentially making it more susceptible to damage in a saltwater environment. The prongs themselves may also be vulnerable to corrosion over time.

2. Bezel Settings

In contrast, bezel settings provide a protective metal rim that encircles the entire circumference of the aquamarine. This type of setting offers enhanced protection against scratches and impacts, reducing the risk of damage in saltwater. Bezel settings are particularly suitable for those who wish to wear their aquamarine jewelry in aquatic environments.

3. Channel Settings

Channel settings secure gemstones between two parallel metal walls. While this setting offers a sleek and secure design, it may expose the edges of the gemstone, potentially making it more susceptible to abrasion in saltwater. Careful consideration of the specific design and construction of channel-set aquamarine jewelry is advisable for those who intend to wear it in saltwater settings.

Caring for Aquamarine in Saltwater Environments

While aquamarine demonstrates a degree of resilience to saltwater exposure, proactive care is essential to maintain its beauty and integrity. Here are some practical tips for caring for aquamarine jewelry in saltwater environments:

1. Regular Cleaning: Rinse aquamarine jewelry with fresh water after exposure to saltwater. This helps remove salt residue and other impurities that could contribute to corrosion or diminish the gemstone’s brilliance.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Refrain from using harsh chemicals or cleaning agents on aquamarine jewelry, as these can potentially damage the gemstone. Stick to mild soapy water and a soft brush for cleaning.

3. Inspect Settings Periodically: Regularly inspect the settings of aquamarine jewelry for signs of wear, particularly in prong settings where corrosion might occur. Promptly address any issues to prevent the gemstone from becoming loose or damaged.

4. Professional Maintenance: Consider periodic professional inspections and cleanings for your aquamarine jewelry. Jewelers can assess the overall condition of the piece and address any potential concerns.

5. Rotate Jewelry: If you frequently wear aquamarine jewelry in saltwater environments, consider rotating it with other pieces to minimize prolonged exposure. This practice helps distribute wear and tear across your collection.

See Also: Can Aquamarine Crystal Go In Water: A Full Guide

Aquamarine Alternatives for Saltwater Enthusiasts

For those who are passionate about wearing gemstone jewelry in saltwater settings but have concerns about the durability of aquamarine, exploring alternative gemstones with higher hardness can be a viable option. Some alternatives that boast superior hardness on the Mohs scale include sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. These gemstones are known for their exceptional durability and resistance to scratching, making them well-suited for active lifestyles and saltwater exposure.

Conclusion: Striking a Balance

In conclusion, the compatibility of aquamarine with saltwater involves a delicate balance between its inherent properties, the type of jewelry setting, and the care taken by the wearer. While aquamarine exhibits a degree of resistance to the chemical effects of saltwater, it is not impervious to potential damage from abrasion or physical stress.

Wearing aquamarine in saltwater requires a conscious approach to care and maintenance. Regular cleaning, avoidance of harsh chemicals, and periodic professional inspections are integral to preserving the gemstone’s beauty over time. Additionally, individuals with a penchant for aquatic environments may explore alternative gemstones with higher hardness to ensure long-term durability.

As with any precious gemstone, the key to enjoying aquamarine jewelry in saltwater lies in informed choices and attentive care. By understanding the characteristics of aquamarine and adopting prudent maintenance practices, enthusiasts can continue to adorn themselves with the tranquil beauty of this captivating gemstone, even in the embrace of the salty sea.


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