March Birthstone – Aquamarine

Aquamarines were used extensively during the Art Noveau period.  A beautiful example of this, is an extraordinarily detailed dragon brooch designed by Etienne Tourettec 1903.  Fabricated in blue enamel, set with small blue aquamarines in the wings and a large green aquamarine is held in the serpents mouth.

One of my favorite stones to design with is Aquamarine, Latin for  “Water of the Sea”.  The cool blue hues of Aquamarine, reminds me of the crystal blue colors of water. The blue colors of the largest ice glaciers to the microscopic snowflakes– from cold lake water to the warm South Seas.  When looking into an Aquamarine crystal, one can almost feel the waters of the oceans-the blue green waters of the Caribbean  or the blues from the  Mediterranean.  Sailors navigating the oceans traditionally kept aquamarine stones as a talisman.

Aquamarines and Emeralds belong to the Beryl mineral group. The source of the blue hues in the Aquamarine is iron, and depending on the percentage of iron, the color will range in blue to bluish-green tones.   Emeralds are hues of green from the percentage of the inherent minerals chromium and vanadium.

Beryl deposits are found around the world with  Brazil as the principal source.  The Ural Mountains in Siberia is also a major source.   Small amounts of beryl are found in China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa.

Aquamarine pendant, 60.00 carats, set in hand-fabricated platinum leaves, pave set diamonds, designed by Janet Deleuse    online:

Beryl crystals grow in large hexagonal prisms and therefore,Aquamarines are typically cut and polished in a rectangular shape, known as “emerald cut.”   One of the largest gem-quality Aquamarines was mined in 1910 in Brazil and weighed 243 pounds. The Natural History Museum in London displays a flawless, sea-green colored Aquamarine weighing 879.5 carats.  The Natural History Museum, in Los Angeles, displays a 638 carat stone.

Aquamarine  jewelry was found as early as 400-300 BCE.  In 1775 Prince Carl Anselm became a ‘Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece’ and acquired a collection of very impressive aquamarine gemstones, which were used in his jewelry to commemorate the order.  The Neck Badge of the Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece contains  a very large greenish, cushion cut aquamarine, surrounded by diamonds.  At a later date, the jewelry was converted  into brooches and was auctioned off at the Geneva Sotheby’s in the early 19th century.  Cartier’s  Panther Jewelry collection was designed from the motif of the fleece.

Carl Faberge fabricated a famous platinum thistle brooch in 1915.  The stem and leaves are paved in diamonds with a large Aquamarine, from the Ural Mountains, as the flower.

During the 1940’s,  aquamarines were the most popular of all gemstones. The famous Tiffany’s suite shown below, included a bracelet, necklace, earrings and ring with large rectangle center aquamarines.  All set in curved gold settings accompanied with sapphires and diamonds.  This stunning set was illustrated in the August 1942 issue of Promenade, at a cost of $7,000.00.

The Duchess of Windsor carried a gold compact designed by Verdura in1950.  Known for his eccentric creations, Verdura set a large shape Aquamarine heart the center of the compact.  Verdura, who started producing personal ornaments for Coco Chanel, became well known in high society for his wit and whimsical designs.

When Joan Crawford arrived in Hollywood in 1925, Metro Goldwyn Mayer gave her an uninspiring profile–labeling her as a plain woman with light brown hair and weighing 145 lbs.  By 1937, Life Magazine had given her the title of  “First Queen of the Movies.”  From rags to riches, Joan loved and wore her Aquamarine parure.  The parure,called “The Kobai Collection, included a necklace, brooch and bracelet, all designed by E.M.Tompkins. He describes it as,  “The bracelet has four rows of oval aquamarines with a wide gold and diamond motif in the center;  the necklace has two rows of  aquamarines with interspersed gold and diamond motifs;  the clip is a curved gold and diamond motif with a cascade of four aquamarine rows flowing from the center.”   Joan clipped her brooch, the cascading stones on the front of her dresses, blouses, belts and head-scarfs.  Joan Crawford’s  favorite Aquamarine parure was purchased by Andy Warhol.

I created this ring with a cushion shape 16.54 ct. Aquamarine, I was inspired to design a tasseled pillow motif.  The hand-fabricated setting is platinum paved in diamonds with a sweeping billowy softness, the faceted sapphire briolettes dangle from each corner in yellow, pink, green and pale-blue represent tiny tassels.   available,


Janet Deleuse Design

Image Credits: Alexander Deleuse and Getty Images

Article written by Janet Deleuse, all rights reserved

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