Aquamarine:
Belongs to the Beryl Family of Gemstones

Aquamarine is found in the United States, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Rhodesia, India, Pakistan, Zambia, and Ceylon. Even though it is found in many places in the world, it is still a fairly expensive stone in larger sizes from 2 carat up, one with rich green-blue shades can cost up to $300.00 a carat.  

It is safe to clean aquamarine in the ultrasonic cleaner.
Think of the dark, deep blue of the Atlantic or the pale, transparent blue of the Caribbean.  The color range of Aquamarine spans the seas. Even its name comes from "sea water."  Not surprisingly, aquamarine is said to have been the treasure of mermaids.  Yet its powers work on land to assure a long marriage, according to legend.  Deep blue aquamarines are the most prized, but the pure blue shades command higher value.

The aquamarine was the stone of the sea-goddesses and sirens of the past times. Beads of aquamarine are found in ancient Egyptian mummy tombs. They were used as a tribute gemstone to the Gods of the Nether world for safe passage. King Solomon is said to have worn one in his breast plate of the 12 holy gemstones.

Aquamarine, the "gem of the sea", derives its name from "sea water". The reference is obvious: aqua sparkles like the sea and its color is pale to medium blue, sometimes with a slight hint of green. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.

Legends say that it is the treasure of mermaids, with the power to keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine is said to be a particularly strong charm when immersed in water (which is a good thing, since that is when sailors need its power most!)

Aquamarine was also said to have a soothing influence on land, especially on married couples. Its power to help husbands and wives work out their differences and ensure a long and happy marriage makes it a good anniversary gift. Aquamarine also protects against the wiles of the devil. A dream of aquamarine means that you will meet new friends.

Aquamarine is found in Brazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, and other countries.

Aquamarine is always a pastel blue but the darker the color, the more valued it is. Connoisseurs also prefer a pure blue, with no green in it. If you prefer a greenish tinge, you will find that these stones are less expensive.

Because the color is generally pale, aquamarine should have a good clarity. These stones are often cut in ovals and emerald cuts. More saturated colors are unusual in small sizes: usually it takes some size for the color to hold in a darker shade.

Aquamarine is a durable and lively gemstone that is appropriate for all jewelry uses. Its pale fire is flattering to most skin tones.

 

Bloodstone: the Martyr's Gem

Bloodstone, green jasper dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide, was treasured in ancient times and long served as the birthstone for March. This attractive chalcedony quartz is also known as Heliotrope because in ancient times polished stones were described as reflecting the sun: perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the ancients of the red setting sun reflected in the ocean.

Medieval Christians often used bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed martyr's stone. The legend of the origin of bloodstone says that it was first formed when some drops of Christ's blood fell and stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. A beautiful example of carved bloodstone with the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II can be seen at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Even today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac in India. Perhaps that explains why today it is difficult to find fine specimens of bloodstone on the market. Bloodstone is mined in India, Australia, and the United States.