March Birthstones: Aquamarine and Bloodstone

The two birthstones for March are aquamarine and bloodstone.

Aquamarine

With its watery blue, pale green hues and crystal clearness, the gem’s name, aquamarine, is derived from the Latin words for water (aqua) and sea (marina), or ‘water of the sea’, so it’s no coincidence that the aquamarine has long been associated with the ocean.  This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage. Ancient legends claim that the aquamarine was found in a Mermaid’s treasure chest, as evidenced by the ancient philosopher Pliny, who paid tribute to this gem of vitality, stating, “the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied”. In the Christian era, the Apostle St. Thomas is identified by the aquamarine as it resembled the blue skies and sea he frequently journeyed by to preach salvation.

18 Karat Yellow Gold and Aquamarine Necklace, Verdura

Verdura, 18kt yellow gold and aquamarine necklace

Other popular associations of the aquamarine is that with love, marriage and everlasting youth.  According to Roman beliefs, the gem was believed to absorb the atmosphere of young love and was frequently given to brides at weddings so that the auras of the newlywed bliss would blend in with the aquamarine, preserving and increasing their mutual love, confirmed by the Roman Camillus Leonardus, “it renders the bearer cheerful and increases and preserves married love.”  During Medieval times, the aquamarine rekindled the love of married couples and was thus a popular gift to give on certain milestone wedding anniversaries.

Cartier Aert Deco Aquamarine Diamond Ring

Cartier 18kt white gold, aquamarine, diamond cocktail ring, 1970’s

Similar to other gemstones in pre-modern medicine, the aquamarine was often used to cure certain ailments throughout history.  The aforementioned ancient Roman Camillus Leonardus stated that “it cures distempers of the throat and jaws, and is good for indispositions of the live and disorders of the stomach”.  In the dark about modern medicine, the Middle Ages often turned to gemstones for their supposed spiritual and healing powers.  At the end of the eleventh century, Marbodus, the bishop of Rennes, wrote the influential Liber Lapidium (Book of Stones), in which he defined the magical qualities of sixty stones.

Chanel Café Society Cruise necklace set with a 28.30ct brilliant-cut aquamarine, diamonds, aquamarine beads and black spinels.

Chanel Café Society Cruise necklace set with a 28.30ct brilliant-cut aquamarine, diamonds, aquamarine beads and black spinels.

During antiquity, Sri Lanka and Burma were major sources for aquamarine and, according to Pliny, it was also found in India and the Ural Mountains.  Today, the major source of aquamarine, as well as the source of the finest specimens, is Brazil, where the crystals occur most commonly in pegmatites whose cavities allow the crystals to grow to large sizes.  The finest aquamarines originate from the pegmatite deposits of the Minas Gerais region in Brazil, which is also where the largest ever aquamarine was found in 1910 with a weight of over 110 kg.  Apart from Brazil, aquamarine can be found in the mines of  Colombia. Pakistan , Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and Namibia.

Chanel Café Society Cruise secret watch with an aquamarine bead bracelet contrasted with black spinels and diamonds.

Chanel Café Society Cruise secret watch with an aquamarine bead bracelet contrasted with black spinels and diamonds.

The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Its pale, cool color beautifully complements spring and summer wardrobes.  Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones. Because of these tones, you can’t go wrong, it suits with every outfit. Also this year the aquamarine is highly populair!

Bloodstone

The second birthstone for March is bloodstone, a dark-green jasper flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide.  This ancient stone was used by the Babylonians to make seals and amulets and was believed to have healing powers — especially for blood disorders.  It is sometimes called the martyr’s stone as legend tells that it was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross.

Cartier Vintage 18k Yellow Gold Bloodstone Ring

Cartier Vintage 18k Yellow Gold Bloodstone Ring, 1970’s

Generally found embedded in rocks or in riverbeds as pebbles, primary sources for this stone are India, Brazil, and Australia.

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