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Aquamarine is the popular birthstone for the month of March.
A sky-blue to sea-green gem variety of beryl. It is mainly associated with granitic pegmatites.
Crystal system: hexagonal
Crystal form: often occurs in hexagonal prisms. In jewelry, aquamarine is usually cut, faceted and polished.
Before 1925, its solitary use was as a gemstone, but since then many important uses have been found for beryllium. Common beryl--a beryllium aluminum silicate--is now widely sought after as the ore of this rare element. It is a minor constituent of many granitic rocks and their associated pegmatite dikes, of mica shists, and of gneisses. Aquamarine meaning "seawater" is almost universally found in cavities in pegmatites or in alluvial deposits, and forms larger and clearer crystals than emerald (another variety of Beryl, along with heliodor (yellow), morganite (pink), and goshenite (colorless) ) In the 19th century, sea-green aquamarine was highly valued,; today, sky-blue crystals imparted by traces of iron are preferred.
The meaning of the Aquamarine stone is based heavily on its namesake – the sea. In ancient times, aquamarine amulets engraved with images of Poseidon were thought to protect sailors. Everything that the endless blue ocean represents is included in the meaning of this stone. Roman fishermen called the gemstone “water of the sea” and used it as protection, for safe travel by boat, and for luck in catching fish. Aquamarine was linked to the apostle St. Thomas who frequently traveled by boat. Roman physicians also used it to treat overeating and bloating.
The reflective properties of this transparent blue mineral are connected to how the sky is reflected on the sea surface. The reflective properties are related to the ability to find hidden meanings and truths. Writers of the Middle Ages claimed aquamarine was the most popular and effective of the “oracle” crystals. When cut as a crystal ball, it was thought to be a superior stone for fortune-telling. Many methods of using the stone as a divining tool were described in ancient literature. One method involved hanging a stone by a thread over a bowl of water, just touching the surface. The inner edge of the bowl was covered with the characters of the alphabet. The diviner was to hold the top of the thread and allow the stone to hit certain letters, which would spell out answers to an important question, sort of like a ouija board. Another method was to cast a crystal into a bowl of pure water. The disturbances in the water would reveal messages on the surface of the liquid. Aquamarine’s powers of revelation were also said to help one in search for lost or hidden things.
The Sumerians, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Greeks all admired aquamarine gemstones. Beads were discovered with Egyptian mummies. And it was believed that the High Priest of the Second Temple wore aquamarine stones engraved with the six tribes of Israel. Two thousand years ago, people in Greece engraved designs into aquamarine stones, turning them into intaglios.