Buying and Caring for Aquamarine Jewelry
Aquamarine prices (general)
Prices for faceted, unset aquamarines start below $100/carat and work their way up with prices running as high as $1000/carat or more for exceptional stones. Prices for aquamarine rough are much lower. Since large carat sizes are quite common, the price-per-carat does not vary with the size of the stone, except in smaller specimans (under 1 carat). Clarity and color (depth of color in particular) and cut (if any) have the most influence on the price.
Aquamarines naturally tend to be blue-green in color. Lighter, pure blue stones are currently preferred, although the traditional aqua color is gaining in popularity as are transluscent aquamarine cabachons in fashion jewelry. Darker, more intense shades of blue, such as the Santa Maria stones, are rarer and typically command higher prices.
The cut of the aquamarine affects the apparent color - higher crowns produce a deeper color.
Preferred cuts for aquamarine are the emerald cut, and barion cut (look for half-moon shaped facets on the girdle of the stone to identify a barion cut aquamarine) in round, oval, square or pear shapes. All popular gemstone cuts are used for smaller stones, including unique shapes like the clover cut and trillion.
Aquamarines tend to have a high degree of clarity and few inclusions - many stones are at least "eye clean" (VS or VVS). This quality makes them ideal to cut in large carat sizes.
Several mines and locations produce aquamarines in remarkable hues with superb depth of color which command higher prices than other stones. These include Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, the Santa Maria Africana stones from Mozambique, the Haramosh aquamarines from Pakistan and the Espiritu Santu and Martha Rocha stones from Brazil.
These special stones are typically labelled as such.
Aquamarine stones generally have a greenish cast to them. Heat treating will remove this tinge, making the stone a purer shade of blue. This doesn't damage or affect the stability of the stone. Assume that most blue aquamarines have been heat treated.
Irradiating an aquamarine can increase the green/yellow color in the gem. This is not a common practice.
Caring for Aquamarine Jewelry
One of the best things about aquamarines is that they require NO special care at all! They are not prone to scratching, chipping or breakage, they don't discolor, and are not damaged by jewelry cleaning solutions or ultrasound.
We do advise you use common sense - avoid contact with harsh chemicals and try to avoid direct contact with hard objects. Aquamarines are scratch resistant, but they're not scratch proof! Store your jewelry in a soft lined box or bag. Like most gemstones, aquamarines are best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft brush.