Diamond and Aquamarine Double Circle Pendant Necklace AngaraDiamond and Aquamarine Double Circle Pendant Necklace Angara

March Birthstone: Aquamarine

The modern birthstone for March is aquamarine, a blue stone often connected to the ocean.

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What is the March Birthstone?

The modern birthstone representing March is aquamarine. Famed for millennia for its pure and even blue or blue-green color, potentially large size, and sparkling clarity, the aquamarine has been a valued gem to many cultures. Aquamarine is a variety of the gem species beryl, making it a close cousin of emerald. 

The word "aquamarine" is a direct reference to its color. It is a marriage of the two Latin words aqua, which simply means "water", and marina, which means "of the sea". As the name suggests, much of the lore surrounding the stone connects to the ocean. 

In addition to being the birthstone for March, aquamarine traditionally commemorates a 19thwedding anniversary

The aquamarine featured in this 18K white gold pendant has a truly exceptional pure blue color.
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at Angara

What is the March Birthstone Color?

Aquamarine has been famous throughout history for its clear blue color, which often displays some green. The striking blue hue characteristic of the aquamarine variety comes from iron.

Aquamarine is an inherently light crystal that does not achieve especially dark tones or saturations. The color of a select few of the darkest stones may be comparable to the blue of sapphire, but aquamarine is generally much lighter.

Because the color of the March birthstone is intensified by the size of the crystal, small aquamarine gems will often have lighter tones and saturations than larger ones. Typically, stones must weigh at least five carats to achieve the best, most intense blue and green hues. However, there are some sources, many of which are found in Africa, producing gems with stronger than typical saturations. These can be smaller but still have attractively intense colors.

The color of this 21.57-carat aquamarine is described by the seller as "greenish-blue".
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at Brian Gavin

What Is The Value Of the March Birthstone?

Like most colored gemstones, hue, tone and saturation determine an aquamarine's value. The most valuable combination of factors are a pure blue hue or a blue with slight hints of green, paired with moderately strong saturation and medium-dark tone. While bluer gems may be more valuable, stones that show both blue and green may remain untreated because there is a market for stones that have a lovely seawater color.

The petite gems in this bracelet may be light in tone, but the blue color shines in contrast to the diamonds in this 14K white gold bracelet.
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at Angara

The clarity of aquamarine can fall anywhere on the spectrum from purely transparent to opaque. The overwhelming majority of faceted gemstones used in jewelry are transparent. While raw transparent aquamarine crystals may have some liquid inclusions present, most of the stones on the market are eye-clean. Transparent gems which have numerous noticeable inclusions or internal fractures are not as valuable as those without these features.  

The clarity of aquamarine can fall anywhere on the spectrum from purely transparent to opaque. The overwhelming majority of faceted gemstones used in jewelry are transparent. While raw transparent aquamarine crystals may have some liquid inclusions present, most of the stones on the market are eye-clean. Transparent gems which have numerous noticeable inclusions or internal fractures are not as valuable as those without these features.  

However, aquamarine with inclusions or less than transparent clarity are still useful. A few gems feature parallel inclusions which are plentiful enough to create a stunning and highly sought-after cat's eye effect. Alternatively, stones of any clarity grading can become beads. They can also be polished into rounded cabochon shapes. Additionally, aquamarine is a popular gemstone choice for carvers. All types of crystals from transparent to opaque can become exceptional and unique artistic carvings and figurines.

Is March Birthstone Jewelry Rare?

No. You can easily find aquamarine birthstone jewelry that features showstopping stones of incredible size.

Aquamarine is a pleochroic gem, meaning that its color looks different depending on which direction you look at the crystal. As is typical for most beryl varieties, aquamarine grows in long, six-sided columns. If you look at a crystal column one way, it appears almost colorless. However, if you spin the crystal around and look at the column lengthwise, the darker blue colors suddenly appear. This is fortunate because it allows cutters to orient the face-up direction of faceted stones to align with the lengthwise direction of the crystal; meaning, they can make good use of the rough and fashion large gems with little waste. The Smithsonian displays the famous Dom Pedro gem, reputedly the world's largest faceted aquamarine, which weighs in at 10,363 breathtaking carats.

The pear-shaped aquamarine used in this 18K white gold pendant with diamonds is an impressive 1.5cm long.
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at Blue Nile

In fact, a relatively high percentage of the aquamarine crystals harvested have so much usable gem-quality material that they can yield faceted gems that are simply too large to be practical for use in jewelry. This leads to an interesting trend in terms of the associated price-per-carat costs; faceted aquamarine gems which weigh more than 25 carats may actually lose value because jewelers can't do very much with them.

The clarity of the cushion-cut aquamarines used in this pair of 14K white gold earrings is eye-clean.
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at Blue Nile

Is Your March Birthstone Jewelry Treated?

Aquamarine responds quite well to heat-treatment, which emphasizes the bright, iron-induced blue hue while decreasing green, yellow, or brown color components. Aquamarines are commonly heated after they are faceted. The pure or predominately blue gems are more valuable than those with some green. (They are definitely more desirable than those with yellow or brown.) Heat treatment is both safe for the gem and it is permanent, so you will not have to worry about your aquamarine's color fading or changing over time. 

All of the aquamarines used to make this platinum double circle pendant have been heated.
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at Angara


The 14K rose gold metal used for this ring enhances the apparent green aspects of the featured aquamarine.
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at Blue Nile

What is the Meaning of the March Birthstone?

Aquamarine has been loved for many centuries. Its similarity to the clear color of the ocean has fostered a natural associations with water and sea travel. Going back to Ancient Greek culture, some believed that Poseidon, God of the sea, created the aquamarine directly from seawater. Other legends claim that mermaid's tails are aquamarine, adding some magic to the gem.

Both the ancient Romans and Greeks perpetuated the belief that the ocean-colored gem had the power to calm dangerous waves thereby safeguarding vessels along with their crew, passengers, and cargo. Fishermen treasure the gem for bringing them luck in their efforts to collect food. This makes the gem an important token for sea travelers of any kind.

Aquamarine is also credited with soothing tempers and decreasing interpersonal conflict. As the gem cools negative passions, communication and trust improves. Many continue to believe that keeping an aquamarine close will strengthen healthy marriages and, indeed, relationships of all kinds. It follows that wearing the gem symbolizes the strength of an individual's bond to their partner and level of commitment.

Aquamarine jewelry isn't just for lovers! This sweet pendant set in 14K white gold with a small diamond accent is a beautiful option for anyone born in March.
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at Angara

The March birthstone can also encourage peace of mind. Many believe that wearing the gem eases anxiety, increases mental clarity, and promotes healing from past traumas. Like many other blue gemstones, aquamarine is equated with physical health benefits and increase vitality. Specifically, some credit the gem with being able to help regulate hormones and the thyroid gland. 

Where Does Your March Birthstone Jewelry Come From?

We are fortunate that aquamarine grows in many different locations around the world. This ensures that there is lots of inventory and that the supply chain is secure. African countries like Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and the famously gem-rich Madagascar have abundant deposits. Australia and the US both have aquamarine sources (it is the state gem for Colorado), while the Pakistani product sometimes includes very dark stones. We recently discovered that China has plentiful amounts of small, pale aquamarine crystals, and it has become the main source of low-cost gems. 

However, even with so many global deposits to draw from, Brazil is possibly the most prolific supplier of aquamarine. Brazil is the origin of many of the largest aquamarine crystals discovered - some weighing hundreds of pounds! (It is not a coincidence that Brazil is also one of the world's leading suppliers of emeralds.) Many of the Brazilian aquamarine mines are clustered in the northeast region of Minas Gerais. Some of the mines cut directly into hard pegmatites that aquamarine often grows in, however, secondary deposits which contain stones that Mother Nature weathered out of rocks on her own bear much of the gem material used today.

Is Your March Birthstone Jewelry Durable?

Aquamarine ranks between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that it is a strong gemstone and you can wear aquamarine jewelry regularly. Perhaps influenced by the lore which says that aquamarine encourages strong marriages and stable, loving relationships, some even choose the March birthstone as the primary stone(s) in their engagement ring. While the gem is not as strong as diamond or sapphire, it you can wear it every day with some exceptions. (Remove it if you think it might be damaged.)

This dainty 14K white gold aquamarine ring makes for an affordable engagement ring option.
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at James Allen

With durability that is neither supremely hard nor overly fragile, aquamarine sits in a sweet spot that makes it soft enough to carve, while, at the same time, being strong enough to tolerate that process and display fine detail. Coupling this with the abundance and affordability of large crystal rough, aquamarine is a longtime favorite of artistic carvers who create beautiful custom designs.

How to Clean March Birthstone Jewelry

Because aquamarine is such a light and transparent gem, you likely will be able to see dirt or grime as it accumulates on the surface of your stone. This may look like a cloudy patch you have never seen before growing within the stone but, fear not, your gem is only dirty on the outside.  Fortunately, cleaning your aquamarine jewelry is simple. As with most gemstones, you can regularly clean the stone with a soft brush and a specialized jewelry cleaning solution or mild soapy water. Remember to clean the top, sides, and underbelly of the stones if you can reach them to get rid of that distracting cloudy effect. If you are gentle, you can do this as often as is necessary. 

In fact, you can also clean an aquamarine in an ultrasonic machine or steam it for occasional, intense cleaning because the stone is durable. Just make sure the stone doesn't have a noticeable inclusion or fracture.

How to Buy March Birthstone Jewelry

Thanks to the beauty of aquamarine, coupled with its durability and availability in all usable sizes, the March birthstone is suitable for every type of jewelry. Aquamarines are suitable for both everyday jewelry or in statement pieces intended for extravagant events. 

The two-carat aquamarine in this 14K rose gold and diamond ring will bring the drama to any party.
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at Blue Nile

Like many gemstones, you will find plenty of aquamarine in round and oval brilliant cuts. These shapes are both attractive and compatible with many jewelry designs. They also enhance the brilliance of gemstones by amplifying light return and creating balanced sparkle patterns. Because there is no shortage of inventory, there is no reason to purchase a poorly cut stone. You want to look for gems that are symmetrical and sparkle lively.

Aquamarine, like the three-round stones in this 14K white gold pendant, is frequently set in white metals to highlight the light blue color.
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at Angara

Unlike some of the other birthstones, the availability of large aquamarine gems means it is frequently cut into emerald shapes to emphasize depth. These cuts display deep color saturation that displays a rich hue.  

The aquamarine set in this 14K white gold pendant may only weigh about 1.35 carats, but the deepness of the emerald cut intensifies its color saturation.
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at Angara

A final note about aquamarine rings. Aquamarine may not be as strong as traditional engagement stones, but it can be far more affordable. You can find a replacement for a damaged stone because there is so much inventory. Even if your ring features a gem of an unusual shape, professionals can typically find similar gems. If you damage your aquamarine, seek help from a jewelry professional to find a workable solution.

The diamond halo surrounding the featured aquamarine in this 14K white gold engagement ring offers good protection from side impacts so you can wear it with confidence.
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at With Clarity

Frequently Asked Questions About Aquamarine

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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