All About Aquamarine
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.
Like the seawater for which it is named, the stone’s airy shade has a dreamy feel that’s cool, calming, and ethereal. In gemstone lore, aquamarine induces calm in all who wear it. Could there be a more appropriate stone for today’s woman in our high-powered world?
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Today, most of our aquamarine is mined in Brazil and other South American countries, but this was not always the case; a number of Asian countries have large aquamarine deposits, Afghanistan among them.
During the 1980s when Russia and Afghanistan were at war, aquamarine prospectors would locate a good site and erect tents over it. The Russians would bomb the site, thereby saving the miners weeks of digging. How’s that for ingenuity at work?
The San Pedro Aquamarine
In the late 1980s, three Brazilian prospectors discovered a meter-long aquamarine of exceptional clarity and color. They accidentally dropped it, breaking it into two pieces, one of them two feet long. They sold the pieces, and the two-foot piece weighing 60 pounds found its way into the hands of connoisseurs who realized its importance.
Eventually, it was sold to a German Brazilian consortium. One member was the distinguished gem cutter Bernd Munsteiner. Word had spread of its existence, and getting it safely out of Brazil proved a challenge. It finally reached Munsteiner. He spent four months studying it and six months cutting and faceting it into 10,363-carat obelisk that is 35 centimeters tall and 10 centimeters wide at the base.
Today the Dom Pedro, as it is called, sits in the Smithsonian Institute. It was a gift from collectors Jane Mitchell and her husband Jeffrey Bland.