Wednesday, March 05, 2008
BIRTHSTONE FOR MARCH
The birthstone for March is the Aquamarine. I wouldn't mind the Art Deco style ring containing 20 carats of aquamarine shown above. The aquamarine is a member of the beryl family. It's almost entirely free of inclusions unlike its famous green cousin, the emerald. It has a good hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale and a wonderful shine. Iron is the substance which gives aquamarine its colour which ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. The more intense the colour, the more value is put on it.
The various colour nuances of aquamarine have melodious names: the rare, intense blue stones from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, are called 'Santa Maria'. Similar coloured stones from gemstone mines in Africa, particularly Mozambique are given the name "Santa Maria Africana'. 'Espirito Santo' aquamarines from the Brazilian state of that name has a not quite as intense colour as the 'Santa Maria'.
The blue light of the aquamarine is supposed to arouse feelings of sympathy, trust, harmony and friendship. Good feelings which are based on mutuality and prove their worth in lasting relationships. Aquamarine blue is the colour of water with its life-giving force and according to legend, it originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone. Its name is derived from the Latin 'aqua' (water) and 'mare' (sea). It is said that its strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight.
It's also the colour of Bombay Sapphire bottles. The Queen has a fabulous tiara, necklace, earrings and bracelet made of aquamarines given as a gift from the people of Brazil. She has a lot of jewellery, kept in a room about the size of an ice rink and situated 40 feet beneath Buckingham Palace, rumour has it. Her personal jewellery is conservatively valued at $57 million. That's personal, not the Crown Jewells or jewells regarded as belonging to the Throne and destined to be handed on to the next reigning monarch.
I wonder if she ever wanders down to rummage through the goodies?