The aquamarine is a beautiful gemstone which has been worked into countless wondrous pieces of vintage and antique jewellery. Although it is often paired with diamonds the pale blue stone has a beauty and character which is all its own, and some of the most impressive pieces contain a single stone, allowing it to shine on its own.
At Laurelle Antique Jewellery we have a great deal of experience in finding the very best pieces of aquamarine jewellery, so we wanted to share some of this experience with our wonderful customers.
1. The name aquamarine literally means “water of the sea”, referencing its pale blue oceanic colour. This subtle hue is both brighter and softer than other blue stones, such as sapphire which has made it a popular choice for more understated pieces which can still command attention.
2. Aquamarine is a variety of beryl, the same mineral that gives us the emerald, and its lesser known pink-orange cousin morganite. Whilst emeralds may command a higher price the naturally occurring variety of green beryl almost always has internal inclusions, small fissures in the stone, which make the emerald fragile. Aquamarine has no inclusions, making it tougher and contributing to its watery appearance.
3. Aquamarine is the birthstone of the month of March, making them appropriate gifts for the star signs Pisces and Aries. They are also traditionally given as gifts on the 19th wedding anniversary.
4. Aquamarine can be cut in a variety of different ways, but many jewellers opt for a close variant of the emerald cut. Originally this cut was designed to protect emeralds from damage, so it protects the stone from impact, but it also helps to accentuate the clarity of the stone with it’s long, broad planes.
5. Like all gemstones aquamarine can vary in the intensity of its colour. Paler blue specimens are considered the most desirable, but stones of a deeper blue or blue-green can be found. The colour of an aquamarine can be affected by extremes of heat or radiation and some is purposely treated to improve it. A rare form of aquamarine known as maxixe is a deep blue, but this colour can fade with exposure to direct sunlight, so it is rarely used in jewellery.
6. The largest cut aquamarine in the world is known as the Dom Pedro. The raw stone was discovered in Brazil in the 1980s and has been faceted into an elongated obelisk measuring 14 inches by 4 inches and weighing almost 100lbs. It has been cut with an array of straight channels by the extremely talented lapidary Bernd Munsteiner, and currently resides at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
7. In 1953 Brazil, one of the world’s leading producers of aquamarine, gifted an aquamarine diamond necklace and matching earrings to Queen Elizabeth II. These were only the first of many such gifts, which culminated in her receiving an aquamarine diamond tiara that she wore on many public occasions until her death in 2022. The tiara remains one of the most beautiful and regal in the royal family’s collection.
8. In the ancient world aquamarine was believed to be a stone which prevented harm from coming to those who possessed it. In particular it was believed to protect those who travelled at sea, and was carried by sailors for this reason.
9. In the west aquamarine is primarily cut into gems for jewellery, but it has been used for many other decorative purposes in the rest of the world. Chinese craftsmen used it to make seals and figurines, and in Japan it was worked into tiny, elaborate sculptures known as netsuke.
10. Aquamarine was particularly prized during the Art Deco period, where it was often paired with the relatively recently discovered precious metal platinum. The period saw many works of art created with simple geometric forms that provided an ideal way to showcase the pure beauty of the stone itself. Advances in metallurgy during this time also allowed for smaller, stronger mounts that allowed a greater amount of light to flow through the stone.
If you are looking to find a piece of vintage or antique aquamarine jewellery Laurelle Antique Jewellery can help you to find the perfect piece. Our wide selection of aquamarine jewellery has been hand picked by our experts to showcase the very best examples from across history.
If you have any questions about the pieces which we sell feel free to get in touch on England: 0333 700 4500 or send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is always happy to help!