Are White Aquamarines Genuine Aquamarines?
Aquamarine is the blue to blue-green variety of beryl. If you encounter so-called white aquamarines, buyer beware. Learn the facts about these gems here.
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Answer: There are no white aquamarines. There is a mineral species known as beryl. If, and only if, iron impurities cause a piece of beryl to appear blue to blue-green can it be called an aquamarine. If beryl is any other color, it gets a different name. This isn't an opinion. It's a fact. The methods of defining gems are used worldwide and are universally accepted. The same is true if you're a miner in Pakistan, a jeweler in Paris, or a GIA Graduate Gemologist.
What are Goshenites?
Your friend's so-called white aquamarines are most likely colorless beryl, also known as goshenite. That's an inexpensive variety of beryl. Although aquamarines and goshenites are both varieties of beryl, only beryls with iron traces that show blue to blue-green color are aquamarines. Colorless beryls, by definition, are goshenites.
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This article is also a part of our Aquamarine Specialist Mini Course, in the unit Identification of Aquamarine.
Beware of "Good Deals"
Unfortunately, some vendors resort to con tactics to get consumers to spend lots of money gladly on common, inexpensive, or low-quality gems in the belief they're "getting a good deal."
The practice of taking a gem and giving it a name associated with a more popular or valuable gem is nothing new. Calling morganite gems "pink emeralds" is one of the more famous examples of this. Calling a smoky quartz a topaz is another.
Someone once showed me his new diamond ring. I questioned him and learned it was a "Cubic Zirconia Diamond," but he was sure it was an actual diamond. After all, the vendor told him that when he bought it.
It's dishonest to sell colorless beryl stones as white aquamarines. Just like it's dishonest to sell a cubic zirconia as a real diamond, or a smoky quartz as smoky topaz. These gemstones simply aren't the same. Buyer beware.
Here's a list of some of the most frequently encountered false or misleading gemstone names.
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