Monday, May 28, 2012

Glory of the Sea - Amazing Aquamarines

"Fascinatingly beautiful!"  "Loved by women the world over"  ".... shine over a beautiful range of mainly light blue colors."  All this and more is how Aquamarines are described at International Colored Gemstone Association and I agree with every single word.

Image from Mtn Mines
Image from Bangkok Gem Mart

 Aquamarine, the name derived from Latin 'aqua' for water and 'mare' for sea, means the stone of the sea.  Trust me when I tell you they live up to their name.  The amazing set of colors that aquas come in can range from the green toned blue of a tropical shallow, through the delightful water blue that is nearly white, to the outstandingly rich tones of the Santa Maria, is a prime example of how mother nature just loves to play with the subtleties of color.

Image from Valuable Stones

So what makes them... well, them.

Aquamarines are a form of Beryl.  All Beryls start out as a silicate mineral with the chemical formula of Be3Al2(SiO3)6.   They all form prismatic or tabular crystals of columnar, radial or granular nature.  They form mainly in granitic pegmatites. They all have a wonderful hardness, in the 7.5 to 8 range, but they are not all that tough.  Hit one wrong and it can fracture or splinter.  (information paraphrased from both 
Wikipedia and Mindat)

Beryls:  Morganite, Aquamarine, and Heliodor. (from Wikipedia) 


Aquamarine from Shigar Skardu, Pakistan (Wikipedia)

So what does all that rather unreadable information mean?

Okay... It means that beryls are made from the kind of stuff that our earth is made of, silicon.  It means they also contain aluminum and beryllium, both heavy metals that are common in the earths crust.  They form what look like long, six sided needles, pencils and columns in the places where they grow and those places are normally in rocks that have cracked under pressure of hot lava that has not actually broken the surface, in magma that cools very slowly forming just tons of crystals.

Aquamarine from Quy Chau District (Image Marin Mineral)
Aquas are hard, which makes them perfect candidates for faceting, since they will not wear down the sharp, clean edges and points that form when they are cut.  They are brittle though, so you do need to be careful not to hit one too hard, though the clearer your stone, the harder it is to fracture.  As you can see in the image, aquas form with inclusions and cracks in the crystals.  You can also see that not all aquas are clear.  The opaque form is often referred to as silky because of the nature of the crystals that form a sort of directional sheen, similar to silk.  The deep blue is found in Vietnam and is simply amazing! 

So what does all of this have to do with me?... with EyeCandy Chainmaille?  Well, I use stones in my work.  I use both faceted gems and beads, and indeed some of those stones are Aquamarines.

Aquamarine Classic Elegance

This is my Classic Elegance Bracelet.  The Aquas in this one were cut my D Elizabeth Dewolfe of Prescott Arizona.  They were actually found in Wyoming.  Yes, Wyoming USA.  The stones can be mined there in Johnson.  There are other places in the US that aquamarine is mined as well, such as the Sawatch Range in Colorado and in Franklin County, North Carolina.  I think you can see that in the hands of a Master Cutter, the stones are nothing less than amazing!

Kiya Earrings

Here you can see some beads.  These are silky style stones, with the opacity that silkies are known for.  The are pretty and at various times, the stones do really show the blue tones Aquas are known for. 

I hope this will help you to understand just a tiny bit more about these fabulous gemstones.  They are stunning, whether they are the water clear faceted stones or the silky cabochons and beads.  You will find both in my work as well as many other fabulous gemstones.  Stop By and have a look at all the fabulous pieces of jewelry we have to offer.  Who knows!  You may find something you simply can not live without!

All Blessings!

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