Aquamarine is often called “The Poor Man’s Diamond”. It is a mineral beryl that also includes other gemstones such as the emerald, morganite, and heliodor. The beryl consists of four elements: beryllium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen with traces of iron. It occurs as a free six-sided crystal in rock veins. It is a relatively hard gem, ranking after the diamond, sapphire, ruby, alexandrite, and topaz.
Image Source: http://www.irocks.com/minerals/specimen/7831
The colour and intensities vary from deep blue to blue-green to yellow. Naturally occurring deep blue stones are the most prized because they are rare and expensive. However, yellow beryl stones can be heated to change them to blue aquamarines.
The best commercial source of aquamarines are found in Brazil, Colombia, the Ural Mountains of Russia, the island of Malagasy, and India. Some sources also exist in the United States such as Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina.
The name was derived by the Romans, “aqua,” meaning water, and “mare,” meaning sea, because it looked like sea water. They were 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 as early as 480BC by the greeks
During the Roman period, the aquamarine was believed to possess medicinal and healing powers such as curing ailments of the stomach, liver, jaws, and throat. Aquamarines were thought to be the source of power for fortune tellers for telling fortunes and answering questions about the future. Emperor Nero was believed to have used it as an eyeglass some 2,000 years ago. Much more recently, aquamarines were used as glasses in Germany to correct short sightedness. In fact, the German name for eyeglasses today is “brille,” derived from the mineral beryl.