|Aquamarines at the Smithsonian|
Aquamarines and emeralds have a special place in my heart because of their beautiful name and my love for the Sea. In Spanish, aquamarine is aguamarina, a femenine noun, or it can be an adjective, as a color, in which case it is modified as masculine: aguamarino. But it really is two words, agua (water), and marina (marine), and the idea of having seawater in a jewel is a marvelous image, don’t you think?
|Aquamarine nuggets and Apatite necklace|
|Aquamarine from my mother, ca 1988|
|Aquamarine from my grandmother, ca 1979|
Aquamarine and emerald are both beryls, a hard, dense gem that measures 7.5-8 on the Moh scale of hardness, is a hexagonal, prismatic crystal, and has a density of 2.65-2.9. Its color varies from green, pinkish, yellow to yellowish orange, to red and blue. Chemically speaking, the only difference between aquamarine and emerald is one of trace minerals: Chromium accounts for the inimitable green of emeralds, while the bluegreen aquamarine and the golden yellow beryl contain iron. We think of beryls that are golden or pale yellow as Heliodor. Pink Morganite is more rare, and even more unusual is the red beryl– these are colored by manganese.
Among the more general factoids you may want to know about aquamarines and beryls is that Brazil is now the world’s cradle for beautiful aquamarines. They can also be found in the Ural Mountains, California in the U.S., and Madagascar! But let us look at how March has been connected to the beautiful, ethereal Aquamarine, for all of you who were born in March.
Interestingly, according to Thelma M. Isaacs’ book, Gemstones, Crystals & Healing, the charts we have been following for birthstones through the ages do not list aquamarines as the stone for the month of March. It actually appears for the month of October, as either Beryl or Aquamarine, but for March we have only Jasper and Bloodstone:
15th Century – Jasper, Bloodstone… and thereafter, Aquamarine
Jasper and Bloodstone are both types of quartz known as Chalcedony (also, Agate), that ranges in color from near translucent and banded, like sardonyx red, and black, such as black onyx. Heliotrope or Bloodstone, is green with red spots, Carnelian is clear, orange-red, and jasper looks like a variegated leaf on the surface, and is a quartz containing many traces or impurities, hence the variety of its color. Bloodstone has long been identified as a healing stone. It is said, and here I quote Thelma Isaacs quoting Edgar Cayce– that it aids creating harmony, making decisions, and in healing lore, it has been used to staunch hemorrhages and prevent nosebleeds.
Bloodstone, say Richardson/Huett, affects the Kundalini center, moving energy from the base of the spine and aids in the alignment of chakras, and of the etheric and spiritual bodies. It has slow vibrations which are not of a physical nature. As for Jasper, it has similarly been regarded as a stone that works from the lower part of the body to bring energy upwards, and from Isaacs we understand that it may have the property to ease queasy stomachs and cure nerves. So, there is quite a bit of traditional healing history associated with these stones, which are beautiful and plentiful as all quartz is on the earth.
These stones are also listed throughout the history we have on the stones in Aaron’s Breastplate, appearing as chalcedony, agate, sardonyx, carnelian, onyx, beryl and jasper, and therefore make up the majority of the 12 stones identified! The other stone that is listed consistently is, of course, the emerald.