Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin word for seawater. Its cool clear bluish-green hues evoke the tangy sea breeze and clear summer seas of Bora Bora. It is soothing to behold, like calm waves. It has a long reputation for bringing good luck and happiness in a marriage. An aquamarine ring is a refreshing alternative to the traditional engagement ring—it is as grand as a diamond but with more color.
This lovely March birthstone has a long and varied history. The ancient Greeks and Romans prized it for its beauty, and the Czech royals used it in their crown jewels. Its popularity has lasted to this day—on the day of their wedding, Prince Harry gave his late mother’s aquamarine ring to his bride Meghan Markle. It is a pleochroic gem (showing different colors in different crystal directions); a well-cut aquamarine on a ring is certain to stun everyone looking at it.
This gem comes from different parts of the world. Some are mined in the Karakoram of Pakistan. Some come from Zambia, Nigeria, and Madagascar. Others come from Russia and Afghanistan. You will find more in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Kenya. The origin of the mines can affect aquamarine’s quality. But hold any of them up to the light and they share the same effect: a giddy sensation of plunging headfirst into a refreshing pool of water!
Whether it is an engagement or a promise ring, here are some of the things that you should know when selecting an aquamarine ring.
What is the best color for an aquamarine ring?
Aquamarine is the blue variety of the mineral beryl. Its green rival is the emerald. That’s why the gem falls within a small range of blue and green-blue tones. While there are other types like the Swiss blue topaz, none can rival aquamarine’s shimmering seawater blue.
Like most gemstones, aquamarine is prized for its color. Since most are light greenish-blue, the valuable stones are dark or slightly greenish-blue. However, you should know that a skilled cutter could enhance the intensity of even a pale stone. So, take your time when you are browsing and keep your options open.
How important is clarity?
Eye-clean gemstones are valued most. That is why most aquamarine rings have faceted flaw-free stones. But while clarity is important, aquamarines with inclusions are beautiful in their own way.
Beryls, particularly aquamarine, have inclusions in the shape of long, hollow tubes. Sometimes, they can create a mesmerizing effect in the gem. An aquamarine with cat’s eyes inclusions goes for the price of a clean gem of the same color. Stones with ‘snow-star’ inclusions are even rarer and can fetch premium prices.
These are exceptions. In general, aquamarines with inclusions have a lower value. While flaw-free stones are the norm, a skilled cutter can fashion the rough to highlight the inclusions in a striking manner. If your partner likes the mystique of a cat’s eye, this option is possible.
Treatments and enhancements in aquamarine are routine. Most of these natural gems are rarely pure blue when mined. Instead, they often have a green tint. It is a standard industry practice to use heat treatment to remove its greenish undertones to get the desired blue. However, there is a growing trend for untreated slightly green stones. Your choice to pick a treated or untreated gem depends ultimately on your taste. Either way, aquamarine is a beautiful gem!
How do you choose the ring carat size?
The aquamarine comes in different sizes. You can find crystals that are very small or as huge as 100 lbs! But while the value of most colored gemstones rises with size, it does not apply here. That’s because large aquamarines are difficult to use except as center stones. Therefore, the per-carat price does not increase as much as other colored stones for gems above 25 carats.
If you want a stone that shows off its vibrant color, you have to find one that is 5 carats or higher. However, some mines in Africa produce small strongly saturated gems under 5 carats— which sell at a higher price than large stones of the same color—that could work as accent stones.
This opens up your budget for affordability. Remember, though, when selecting your engagement or promise ring, go for robust colors over size—in this instance, larger does not mean better!
What is the best shape and cut for an aquamarine ring?
When it comes to cuts and shapes, you can pick nearly any shape for your ring! The preferred designs are emerald, oval brilliant or round cuts. The right cut and shape can even transform pale aquamarines into a darker work of wonder! High crown angles enhance the gem’s cool water blue tones; low crown angles draw out its brilliance. Done properly, it is a feat of spectacular gem faceting that can strengthen the stone’s color.
When selecting the best metal for your ring, see which type draws out the sparkle of the stone most naturally. Metals like silver, palladium and platinum are sleek and chic, while white gold will enhance this blue tone. However, warmer metals such as yellow gold pair better with green-blue stones and can create a feeling of nostalgia.
Be sure to check which settings offer the best protection. Some like bezel and halo settings guard it better from hard impacts than perhaps a solitaire setting.
When deciding between the metal types available, think about your partner’s fashion sense. Which one would complement their style best? Think about your ring design. Which one offers the best protection?
One stone or accent stones?
Are you considering one stone or accent stones? Single center stones are classic. Smaller diamond accent stones on either side of aquamarine set in yellow gold can be stylish. Smaller aquamarine side stones next to a large center stone has a modern feel set in platinum.
It depends on how much you have set aside in your budget and the effect you are trying to create.
How to care for your aquamarine ring?
Before you finalize your decision to purchase an aquamarine engagement ring, you want to keep in mind the lifestyle of the person wearing it. This is suitable if your partner works in professions that avoid exposing the ring to chemicals or hard impacts. Otherwise, be sure to remove the ring when working to protect it from damage. If you look after it well, the ring can become an heirloom piece, passed down to your children—and perhaps even your children’s children!
How much is an aquamarine ring worth?
Compared to other colored gemstones, aquamarine is more affordable (and usually makes for a great birthday gift for someone special). The price also depends primarily on its clarity and color than size. You can expect a 1-carat aquamarine to cost around $675 per carat approximately. Meanwhile, a 2-3 carat stone would range anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500 per carat.
Is it worth it? Absolutely! Few gems can match its charming blue intensity. If you want something different, an aquamarine ring is an enchanting and affordable alternative to the standard engagement ring. It is timeless. What’s more, aquamarine has always been a lover’s stone, symbolizing strength in unity to guide you through life. What could be more romantic than asking your partner to spend the rest of your lives together?