Aquamarine is the tranquil light blue to greenish blue member of the beryl family of gemstones, which counts emerald among its other well-known varieties. The name derives from the Latin ‘aqua', meaning water in combination with ‘marina', meaning sea-clearly for its resemblance to pristine crystal blue seawater.
Unlike emeralds, however, rough aquamarine crystals are typically large and transparent with superior clarity, so often feature in dramatic jewels on a grand scale. The largest specimen known to date was found in the Minas Gerais mine in Brazil in 1910- the primary source of this gemstone- which weighed approximately 110.5 kilograms, and measured 48.5cm x 42cm. Other sources of aquamarine throughout the world are Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.
Aquamarine can create a big impact as an eye-catching centrepiece and is most commonly seen cut in the elongated emerald-cut and coupled with diamonds. Primarily enjoyed from the Victorian period onwards, the understated colour possessed by aquamarines is complimentary to either platinum or yellow gold settings. For this reason, aquamarine engagement rings are a suitable alternative to the darker blue hues usually seen in sapphire.
With the increasing popularity of coloured gemstones in engagement rings, aquamarine provides a delicate colour and alluring alternative to other gemstone choices.