Reminiscent of the cool sea green of the oceans and the icy blue tones of the sky, the name Aquamarine originated from the Latin ‘aqua marina’ which translates to ‘water of the sea’. One of the many famous color varieties of the Beryl family, Aquamarine has a rich history and a loyal following.
On the flip side, Morganite is the pink to orange – pink variety of Beryl and was named after JP Morgan in honor of his financial support for the arts and sciences back in 1910. In recent years, the love and desire of rose gold and pinky-peach faceted stones has seen a boom in demand for Morganite… and so the sibling rivalry begins.
Colorless in its purest state, Beryl owes its varying colors to impurities and trace impurities or defects within the crystal structure rather than an element of its basic chemical composition. In the case of Aquamarine, ferrous iron Fe2+ gives it that fresh blue color and colors can range from pale-blue, mid-blue, to greenish-blue.
Morganite owes its pink to orangey-pink through to deep rose colors to manganese Mn2+.
The Beryl family of stones, more notably famous for having an electric green variety called Emerald, is also home to Heliodor (golden yellow), Red Beryl/Bixbite (red to orangey red), Maxixe (deep dark blue), Green Beryl (when not colored by Vanadium or Chromium) and Goshenite (colorless).
Both Aquamarine and Morganite are beryllium aluminum silicates Be3Al2Si3O18 and ranked at 7.5 – 8 on MOH’s scale of hardness making them both perfect for our rings as well as other types of jewelry such as pendants, earring and bracelets. Found in many locations around the world some of the most magnificent crystals have been discovered in Pakistan, Brazil, Madagascar with some extraordinary large crystals discovered weighing in at over 100kgs.
Facets stones have a fine luster and well-cut stones show brilliance. Crystals are 6-sided hexagonal prisms, often with striations parallel to the crystal axis and terminated with pinacoids (flat horizontal surface). It’s not uncommon to find big stones that are eye-clean but their inclusions can be quite the feature in an interesting piece of jewelry.
A typical and diagnostic inclusion of both Aquamarine and Morganite is called “rain”; elongated hollow tubes running parallel to the crystal axis. In the case of Aquamarine, the more included rough is generally carved or used for beads, however if they have a deep blue color they still may be cut into sizeable cabochons as sometimes color is more desirable than clarity.
Morganite’s beauty is graded differently and pieces with richer color are favored over those with excellent clarity. Not as readily available as Aquamarine, more exceptions are made to satisfy Morganite demands.
Treatments also aren’t uncommon. Heating can remove the greenish color component of Aquamarine to produce a more blue-like appearance and, in Morganite, cancel out the orange hues to product a more pink-toned gem. As most of our clients enjoy the very natural aesthetics of crystals we sell stones with typical Beryl inclusions and varying color ranges than the eye clean gemstones.
Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth, talks about his pieces in his beryl collection. “Aquamarine continues to be a staple gemstone in our jewelry collection. Always popular, particularly in March as a birthstone, we’re always on the hunt for beautifully colored stones, interesting cuts as well as natural crystals. We have also added faceted morganite to our collection due to popular demand and we’ve also gathered higher grade faceted Aquamarine stones as well as a few enormous show stoppers to really capture the hearts of our clients.”
Striving for attention in a famous family is always difficult, especially when your sibling is Aquamarine. Thanks to current trends, Morganite rose to fame for its delicate pink color and faceted brilliance not just because of its heritage.
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