BIRTHSTONE of the Month
Characteristics of Aquamarine, the birthstone for the month of March
Aquamarine, the birthstone for March, varies in color from deep blue to blue-green of different intensities, caused by traces of iron in the beryl crystal. The aquamarine – also called the “poor man’s diamond” – is a form of the mineral beryl that also includes other gemstones such as the emerald, morganite, and heliodor.
The name aquamarine was derived by the Romans, “aqua,” meaning water, and “mare,” meaning sea, because it looked like sea water. Aquamarines were believed to have originated from the jewel caskets of sirens, washed ashore from the depths of the sea. They were considered sacred to Neptune, Roman god of the sea. This association with the sea made it the sailors’ gem, promising prosperous and safe voyages, as well as protection against perils and monsters of the sea.
Beginning in the Roman period, the aquamarine was believed to possess medicinal and healing powers, curing ailments of the stomach, liver, jaws, and throat. During the Middle Ages, it was believed to be an effective antidote against poison. Aquamarines were thought to be the source of power for soothsayers, who called it the “magic mirror,” and used it for telling fortunes and answering questions about the future. It is said that Emperor Nero used it as an eyeglass 2,000 years ago. Much later, aquamarines were used as glasses in Germany to correct shortsightedness