Aquamarine is one of the naturally colored varieties of the colorless mineral beryl. When mined, it is often a sea-green color. Most rough aquamarine is heated to turn it the light blue that current fashion demands. The chromophore that gives aquamarine its blue coloring is iron.
Aquamarine is not commercially synthesized, but a related colored beryl—emerald—is synthesized on a significant scale. Glass is a common simulant of aquamarine at the bottom of the market. Synthetic spinel is also a common aquamarine fake.
Aquamarine is a durable mineral with a Mohs hardness of 7.5 to 8, making it an excellent stone for use in jewelry that is subject to impact, such as bracelets. The highest grade aquamarine is a transparent, rich blue and is cut into faceted gemstones.
Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, Central Asia and China are significant sources of aquamarine.
Image courtesy of irocks.com.
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