Home Knowledges Is Aquamarine Truly a Precious Stone: Things You Need To Know

Is Aquamarine Truly a Precious Stone: Things You Need To Know

by Madonna

Gemstones have captivated human beings for centuries, with their stunning colors, unique formations, and perceived metaphysical properties. One such gemstone that has garnered attention and admiration is the aquamarine. Known for its enchanting blue hue and historical significance, the question arises: Is an aquamarine truly a precious stone? In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the characteristics, history, and market value of aquamarines to determine their place in the world of gemstones.

Defining Precious Stones

Before delving into the specifics of aquamarine, it’s crucial to understand what qualifies as a precious stone. Traditionally, precious stones are rare, highly valuable gemstones with exceptional hardness and brilliance. They are often distinguished from semi-precious stones, which are more abundant and may not possess the same level of rarity or durability. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are commonly recognized as precious stones, each possessing unique qualities that contribute to their esteemed status in the gemstone hierarchy.


Characteristics of Aquamarine

The following are the properties of aquamarine:


1. Color and Clarity


Aquamarine, a member of the beryl family, derives its name from the Latin words “aqua” and “marina,” meaning water and sea. This nomenclature is apt, as the gemstone is renowned for its captivating blue hues reminiscent of the ocean. The color spectrum of aquamarine ranges from pale blue to deep azure, with some stones exhibiting greenish undertones.

Clarity is a significant factor in determining the value of an aquamarine. Ideally, the gemstone should be free from visible inclusions that may affect its transparency. Gemologists often use terms like “eye-clean” to describe stones without apparent flaws when viewed with the naked eye.

2. Cut and Carat Weight

The cut of an aquamarine is instrumental in showcasing its inherent beauty. Skilled lapidaries shape these gemstones into various cuts, including emerald, oval, pear, and round, to enhance their brilliance and visual appeal. The carat weight, representing the size of the gemstone, is another factor influencing its value. Larger, well-cut aquamarines are often more sought after, although smaller stones with exceptional clarity and color can still command high prices.

Historical Significance

Aquamarines boast a rich history intertwined with mythology and symbolism. In ancient times, these gemstones were believed to be treasures of mermaids, holding the power to protect sailors and ensure safe voyages across the seas. The association with water also led to the belief that aquamarines could calm turbulent waters and bring tranquility to those who possessed them.

During the Middle Ages, aquamarines were thought to have medicinal properties, particularly in treating ailments related to the throat and digestive system. The gemstone’s supposed ability to enhance communication and soothe the mind contributed to its popularity among clergy and scholars.

Aquamarines have adorned the crowns and jewelry of royalty throughout history. One notable example is the Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara, which belonged to Queen Elizabeth II. Gifted to her by the President of Brazil, the tiara features large aquamarines surrounded by diamonds, showcasing the gemstone’s regal allure.

Market Value and Rarity

Here are the market values and rarities:

1. Sources of Aquamarine

The primary sources of aquamarine include Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Russia. Brazil, in particular, is renowned for producing some of the world’s most exquisite and sizable aquamarines. The gemstone is also found in smaller quantities in various other countries, contributing to its global availability.

2. Rarity and Grading

While aquamarines are not as rare as some other precious stones, such as certain colored diamonds or red rubies, their scarcity in high-quality, large sizes contributes to their value. Gemological institutes, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), assess aquamarines based on the 4 Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Stones meeting the criteria for a deep, intense blue color, exceptional clarity, precise cuts, and substantial carat weights are considered more valuable.

Quality Factors Impacting Value

The following are quality factors that affect value:

1. Color Intensity

The most prized aquamarines exhibit a vibrant and saturated blue color, often referred to as “Santa Maria blue.” Stones with this intense hue are considered the most valuable, as they closely resemble the captivating tones of the ocean. Lighter blue aquamarines may still be desirable, especially if they possess excellent clarity and other quality attributes.

2. Clarity and Inclusions

Inclusions, or internal flaws, can impact the transparency and overall beauty of an aquamarine. High-quality stones are typically free from visible inclusions, contributing to their value. However, some collectors appreciate unique inclusions that may add character to the gemstone, especially if they do not significantly affect its brilliance.

3. Cut Precision

The skillful cut of an aquamarine enhances its brilliance and visual appeal. Precision in shaping the gemstone to maximize its inherent qualities is crucial. Popular cuts for aquamarines include emerald, oval, and cushion cuts, each showcasing the gemstone’s unique characteristics.

4. Carat Weight

While larger aquamarines are generally more valuable, carat weight alone does not determine a gemstone’s worth. Larger stones with poor color, clarity, or cut may be less valuable than smaller stones with exceptional quality. Balancing all factors, including carat weight, is essential in assessing the overall value of an aquamarine.

See Also: Aquamarine: Factors Influencing its Appreciation in Value

Investment Potential

As the popularity of colored gemstones continues to rise, so does the demand for aquamarines. Collectors and investors are increasingly drawn to the gemstone’s soothing blue hues, rarity in larger sizes, and historical significance. The market for high-quality aquamarines has seen steady growth, making them a potentially lucrative investment for those with an eye on the gemstone market.

Investing in gemstones requires careful consideration of various factors. While aquamarines can be valuable assets, it’s essential to be aware of market trends, fluctuations, and the specific qualities that contribute to the gemstone’s value. Working with reputable gemologists and dealers, understanding the grading criteria, and staying informed about the gemstone market are crucial steps for investors seeking to include aquamarines in their portfolios.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care is essential to preserve the beauty and longevity of aquamarines. Although they have good hardness, ranking at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, they can still be susceptible to scratches and damage if not handled with care. Here are some guidelines for maintaining the quality of aquamarines:

1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Exposure to chemicals, including household cleaners and cosmetics, can dull the luster of aquamarines. It’s advisable to remove gemstone jewelry before using such substances.

2. Gentle Cleaning: Clean aquamarines with mild soap and warm water using a soft brush. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, as they may damage the gemstone.

3. Storage: Store aquamarine jewelry separately to prevent scratches. Consider wrapping individual pieces in soft cloth or placing them in jewelry boxes with compartments.

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: While aquamarines are generally heat-resistant, extreme temperature changes can cause thermal shock and affect their clarity. It’s advisable to remove jewelry before engaging in activities involving rapid temperature fluctuations.

5. Periodic Inspection: Regularly inspect aquamarine jewelry for loose settings or signs of wear. Promptly address any issues to prevent further damage.

See Also: The Aquamarine’s Weakness: A Comprehensive Exploration


In conclusion, aquamarine’s status as a precious stone is rooted in its unique qualities, historical significance, and market value. While not as rare as some other precious gemstones, aquamarines’ scarcity in high-quality, larger sizes contributes to their allure and value. As the gemstone market evolves, aquamarines continue to attract collectors, investors, and enthusiasts alike. Whether admired for their soothing blue hues, historical connections, or potential investment value, aquamarines undeniably hold a special place in the fascinating world of gemstones.


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