Aquamarine is the birthstone of March. It’s rich blue color palette is enchanting as an accent to spring wardrobes and makes a perfect gift of jewelry for one whose birthday falls within this month.
Aquamarine and Beryl
My mother’s father’s first cousin was named Beryl. This part of the family is from the coal-rich mining towns of West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Beryl is an unusual woman’s name and it stuck me as being interesting and beautiful. It conjures images of the Appalachian mountains where my mother’s family is from. It is a region of coal mining, rhododendron and granite cliffs that jut out from verdant hillsides. Beryl, (beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate), a stone found in this region, is the mother of aquamarine.
Beryl is found in these kinds of mountains often occurring in granite pegmatites. The Smoky mountains are full of these craggy chunks of interlocking crystalline structures. Looming large over the road heading into Erwin Tennessee, along the banks of the Nolichucky River, is a gnarly outcropping with the endearing name, “The Devil’s Looking Glass.” Often wet from rain this formation is the kind of place, a granite mountain-side, that might be a mineral neighborhood of beryls, micas and quartz. It is often in these sorts of places where we find Aquamarine. While aquamarine is more likely to be found in North Carolina, this part of Tennessee is so close to the border that the stone may not notice the change in address.
Aquamarine can be showcased in jewelry in three different ways, all of which we carry in our jewelry line: raw, earthy and cabochon.
Raw is just as you imagine – the stone as it was taken from the earth, with little to no processing, as favored by one of our jewelry designers, Hawkhouse.
Earthy aquamarine is not considered as precious as cabochon but with all of those beautiful colors from the earth surrounding the stone, our jewelry designer Marguerite Specht finds this style more interesting, as shown in her faceted aquamarine jewelry.
Bruce Iden, a long time jewelry designer at the Gallery, looks for high clarity in aquamarine that he finishes in a cabochon style, which is a clean, smooth, shiny finish and contains no trace of the surrounding rock.
Which style would you choose? They are each beloved for their unique characteristics!
The watery blue stone found so deep in granite mountains around the world is prized for its clear crystalline purity and pleasing heavenly blue color. It harnesses the power of the sea and sky. Wear it for pure pleasure and to stimulate the throat chakra. It reduces fear and mental tension. It is the ancient mountain and the clear intersection where ocean meets the sky.