Santa Maria Aquamarine Stone
Known for its deeply saturated blue Santa Maria aquamarine is breathtaking in its luxurious beauty.
Aquamarine is the blue to a slightly greenish-blue variety of beryl. Santa Maria aquamarine represents some of the finest material known and features deeply saturated blues with a quickly diminishing supply. The supply is so well known that any aquamarine with a similarly saturated tone is referred to as “Santa Maria.”
Beryls are generally well regarded for their transparency and clarity, with perhaps the exception of emerald. The material is “eye clean,” meaning that the unaided eye can detect no inclusions. Crystals tend to grow large. Santa Maria aquamarine, however, tends to form in smaller sizes, so it is very rare to find a finished gem of over a half carat.
Heat treatment is standard with this stone. Rough is heated to temperatures of up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit to improve the gem’s blue color and remove undesirable green elements.
Santa Maria Versus Espirito Santo
Both Santa Maria and Espirito Santo are remarkable examples of aquamarines gemstones from Brazil. When comparing these gems side-by-side, it’s impossible to confuse the two. Espirito Santo aquamarine features mellower tones of blue color, while Santa Maria displays its characteristic deeper blue quality.
Aquamarine as a Birthstone
• This gemstone is the modern birthstone for the month of March. Aquamarine shares this honor with the historical gem bloodstone, a green and red speckled jasper. It is also considered a gift for the 19th wedding anniversary.
• Beryls were known in antiquity, but primarily the sea green and colorless varieties. Aquamarine is a modern phenomenon. The earliest known reference to this gem is the Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia, an early 17th-century work. The word aquamarine comes from the Latin word for “seawater.”
Aquamarine as a Talisman
• Beryl gemstones with varying degrees of blues and greens were popularly used for protective charms by many ancient cultures. Often, these would be finished gems set into jewelry such as pendants. They would feature carved images or etchings of aquatic deities such as Neptune or Poseidon, or more mundane characters like frogs and lobsters. In this way, wearers thought that the gemstone would provide protection on sea voyages and make the bearer amiable, allowing friendships to form and damaged ones to be mended easily.
Santa Maria aquamarine is used to describe a particular shade of aquamarine, which possesses a deeply saturated blue hue. This color was originally discovered at the Santa Maria de Itabira mine, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Shop LC has sourced its supply of Santa Maria aquamarine from this legendary mine.
Santa Maria de Itabira Mining
The Itabira District of Minas Gerais has a long association with mining. Since the Portuguese occupation of the 16th century, mining operations have existed in Brazil. Itabira is primarily known for its iron, but many gems are mined here as well. Santa Maria aquamarine, from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine, is perhaps the most famous gemstone to come from this area.
These days, mined rough tends to be on the small size. Complicating matters, the coveted transparent gems are buried under opaque layers of material that must be carefully cut away. It takes patience, skill, and perhaps a bit of luck to chip away at the rough to reveal the bright blue gemstone underneath. Any mistake can be costly, as every effort is taken to make certain gem-quality material is preserved.
Even after gems are cut and polished their journey isn’t over. It takes agonizing work to carefully match similar gems for placement into jewelry, ensuring the best color matches. With mined rough yielding between five to ten percent finished material, it can take over a year for Shop LC to assemble enough material for a four-hour event.
• Ranks 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.
• Santa Maria aquamarine presents as a deeply saturated blue.
• Sourced from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
• Stones are heat treated to improve their color.