Aquamarine: March birthstone is relative of emerald


Aquamarine derived its name from the rich greenish-blue color of seawater, which seems to capture in its transparent depths something of the vitality and surging spirit of the ocean.  It is a talisman long believed to impart courage to the wearer, to cure laziness and to quicken the intellect.

Greek goldsmiths of the period, before the conquest of Rome, used aquamarines in their jewelry. The gemstones came to them from the Far East, traveling from across the Arabian sands and then to Hellenic ports on the Mediterranean Sea.

…blue topaz cannot equal the fine greenish-blue color in aquamarine.

Aquamarine is a variety of beryl, belonging to the same family of gems as the emerald. It is found in such widely separated parts of the world as Brazil, Madagascar, Russia and the United States.

With the advent of blue topaz, aquamarine lost its importance due to the vast difference in price. However, blue topaz cannot equal the fine greenish-blue color in aquamarine. Blue topaz also is readily damaged and abraded, whereas aquamarine is a very durable and practical stone.

Men, most often, will prefer the alternate birthstone for March, bloodstone, a variety of quartz, and a gem which offers a sharp contrast in appearance.

Medieval folk believed that the bloodstone received its coloring from Christ’s own blood falling upon a green stone at the foot of the Cross. Legend ascribes the bloodstone with the power to impart wisdom to the wearer. Nineteenth century lapidaries used bloodstone for carved objects, including family crests, signet rings and seals.

Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness. He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is the author of three appraisal books and has appeared on ABC-TV’s “Prime Time Live.” Altobelli can be reached at (818) 763-5151.

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