by Ann Hudson
The traditional birthstone for March is the aquamarine. With its clear blue hue, this stone is especially suited for the blue skies of spring, and it shimmers and shines with the magic of the ocean. Whether you want to give birthstone jewelry as a gift or you are shopping for yourself, here's what you need to know.
Identification of aquamarines: Aquamarines have a range of color and can be found in pale ice-blue, intense sky blue, and light blue-green. They are a variation of the mineral beryl. An intense blue stone will increase the value of aquamarine jewelry, while too much green can decrease value.
History and legend of aquamarines: The name "aquamarine" stems from two Latin words meaning water and sea. The name "water of the sea" is a fitting title for the aquamarine's ocean-like color. The Ancient Romans believed this gem had fallen out of the sirens' jewel boxes and washed ashore where Neptune, god of the sea, discovered it and revered it as a sacred gemstone. Medieval Europeans believed that the aquamarine could reignite marital passion and protect soldiers in times of war.
Qualities of aquamarines: The aquamarine is a relatively hard stone, measuring 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness. Aquamarines are quite durable and scratch-resistant, making them well-suited for rings and bracelets. The aquamarine has few inclusions, or imperfections. This is rare in the gemstone world and makes them very popular. Many aquamarines are actually flawless. Some have highly artistic inclusions; these inclusions inspire jewelry designers to create rings, necklaces, and pins using the inclusions as part of the piece.
Mistaken identity: Aquamarines are commonly mistaken for other gems. Light blue aquamarine gems can look just like blue topaz, and blue-green aquamarines have been mistaken for emeralds. Topaz does not have the range of blue shades that aquamarines have, however, and emeralds tend to have a high number of inclusions.
Wearing aquamarines: Aquamarine rings, necklaces, and earrings will bring a touch of romance to any outfit. You can wear aquamarine jewelry day or night.
An alternative gemstone option: If you are looking for unique March birthstone jewelry, you might consider bloodstone. Bloodstones are a form of chalcedony and are green and spotted with red or yellow dots and veins. Also found under the name heliotrope, bloodstones are often carved into pendants or shaped into beads for necklaces and bracelets.