Aquamarine has long been considered a divisive stone; you either love them or love to hate them. With its unique color — non-replicable in nature — Aquamarine could be the enigma we all seek.
Adopted as March’s birthstone in 1912, Aquamarine has had varied uses throughout the centuries. Two thousand years ago, Emperor Nero used thin slices of Aquamarine to aide in his poor vision. Fast forward to the 1450s. The Germans, famous for precision gemstone cutting, used thin slices to create the optics they needed to cut gems and developed the earliest eyeglasses. The Germans called ‘eyeglass/glasses’ die brille, and many thought this name came from the mineral beryl.
By 1550, the Spanish believed that Aquamarine directly related to the fountain of youth based on stories passed from the Egyptians on down to Ponce de Leon who happened to be a great storyteller. Perhaps it was because this gemstone has long been thought of as a stone of the sea, protecting sailors under Neptune’s watchful eye. No matter which fabled tale engages you, Aquamarine conjures great appreciation from many.
As a Beryl family member, which includes gorgeous green emeralds and pink morganites, Aquamarine comes in soft blue and greenish-blue shades. Categorized as a type 1 stone, most Aquamarine are eye-clean which is important because its tonality and saturation reveal even the smallest inclusions, lowering its value.
Heat-Treated vs. Non-Heat-Treated Aquamarine
Historically, the jewelry industry has two camps regarding the value of heat-treated Aquamarine — those believing the treatment lessens the stone’s value, and those who think it increases a stone’s value. Let’s explore both.
First, it’s important to point out that most Aquamarine are heat-treated. It’s considerably more challenging to find un-treated stones, although a prolific hoard coming from Brazil will make it easier. These new stones have colors and clarities that need no help.
Those who prefer a greenish aquamarine will generally find it in the “treated has less value” camp. Heating Aquamarine does not tend to change the color, but it minimizes impurities that cause the greenish hue, leaving behind a pure, crystal clear pastel blue. Those preferring this easy to identify blue believe that heating increases value. Neither camp is wrong; it merely reflects a difference of opinion. But identifying your camp will help you sell these subtle gemstones.
Letting a customer know that a stone is heated right up front, that it is an industry-wide practice and is irreversible, can help you gain credibility – not all jewelers disclose this treatment. It also allows you to look and feel like the expert as you explain that removing stone impurities reduces the underlying greenish colors making the stone the much desired sky-blue.
The same holds true for letting a customer know that the Aquamarine they prefer is an unheated natural gem with its color just as the Earth produced it. It would not hurt to add that due to the rarity of un-heated stones (remember, heating is standard practice), a beautiful natural aquamarine’s value can go up. Also, explain what impurities exist in Aquamarine. Vanadium, one such impurity, has an intense teal color that not only increases the value but also can give the Aquamarine the passing look of a Paraiba, a color well suited to current trends.
The Value of Aquamarine
No matter the camp you reside in, understanding the why behind a gemstone’s value can help you sell in the way that makes the most sense for you and your associates.
If you need help understanding more about the stones we offer within Stuller Gemstones™, please reach out to our experts. We are happiest when helping you succeed.
Want to know how you can implement striking and colorful gemstones to your jewelry case? Check out one of our previous blogs for inspiration!
Explore These 6 Gemstone Selections for Colorful Engagement Rings