Aquamarines are a form of beryl crystal that vary in color from a deep blue to a blue-green with different intensities. This is caused by traces of iron. Naturally occurring deep blue stones are the most prized because they are rare and so will be the most expensive. Yellow beryl stones can be heated to transform them to blue aquamarines.
The best commercial source of aquamarines is Brazil. Colombia, Russia and India also produce quality stones. In the United States, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina are the best sources.
The name aquamarine comes from the Roman word for water, which is "aqua" and the word "mare" which means sea because the stone resembles sea water. Aquamarines were believed to belong to sirens and were believed to be sacred to Neptune, Roman god of the sea. Because of this, sailors believed it held protection from perils at sea and sea monsters and promised safe voyages. It was also believed to hold medicinal and healing powers, curing ailments of the stomach, liver, jaws, and throat. Later, it was used as an antidote against poison and also was used in fortunetelling.
The second birthstone for March is the bloodstone. This quartz variety is also called chalcedony. Green chalcedony with red flecks in it is known as bloodstone. This stone can be found in India, Brazil, and Australia. Bloodstone is favored for carving religious objects, especially the Crucifixion. According to legend, bloodstone was believed to have formed during the crucifixion of Christ. When a Roman soldier thrust his spear into Christ’s side and drops of blood fell on some pieces of dark green jasper lying at the foot of the cross, the bloodstone was created.
Bloodstone was believed to hold healing powers, especially for stopping nosebleeds. Powdered and mixed with honey and white of egg, it was believed to cure tumors and stop all types of hemorrhage. Ancient alchemists used it to treat blood disorders, including blood poisoning and the flow of blood from a wound. Bloodstone was also believed to
draw out the venom of snakes.
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