Aquamarine, named for the Latin phrase "water of the sea", is the blue to blue-green variety Beryl. Beryl also contains other gem varieties, including Emerald, and some lesser known varieties such as Morganite and Heliodor. Aquamarine ranges in color from a faint light blue to blue and bluish-green, with lighter colored stones being the more common type. Light green Beryl can be transformed into Aquamarine if heated to 750º F (400º C). The green hues in most Aquamarine can also be removed through heat treatment. Aquamarine is a relatively common gemstone, and is affordable in lighter colors. Deeper colors can command high prices. Some enormous transparent crystal masses of Aquamarine have been found, and exquisite gems weighing thousands of carats have been cut from them. The light blue to blue-green color of Aquamarine may fade upon prolonged exposure to light, so it is especially important to purchase this gem from a reliable dealer. Aquamarine is a hard and durable gem, but it may develop internal cracks if banged hard. Light blue Topaz is easily mistaken for Aquamarine. The colors of these two gems can be identical, and their physical properties are very similar. Topaz is generally less expensive, and some fraudulent dealers may sell their Topaz as Aquamarine. Unlike Emerald, Aquamarine gems are often completely flawless. Aquamarines with visible flaws are rarely seen. The costs of producing synthetic Aquamarine are very high when compared to the relative abundance of this gem, so synthetic Aquamarine is generally not produced for the gemstone market. Aquamarine is faceted into many cuts. It is a popular stone for rings, earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry forms. Many exceptionally large and flawless Aquamarine gem pieces have been cut. Occasionally, perfect, flawless, six-sided crystals are worn as necklace pendants. Translucent Aquamarine displaying cat's eye effect and asterism are uncommon, but they do exist and are cut and polished into cabochons. Lesser quality Aquamarines lacking good transparency are sometimes used as beads and as rough polished stones in bracelets and necklaces. Aquamarine is the birthstone of March.
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