Discover the best of aquamarine jewels and its history, a stone of the beryl family that inspires jewelry designers to create blue masterpieces.
Aquamarine takes its name from the Latin word for seawater, its luminous hue conjuring up images of the ocean. Like many other gemstones, the aquamarine is surrounded by myths and legends. The Romans believed that a frog carved out of an aquamarine would turn enemies into friends, while both the Greeks and Romans used the gem as a good luck charm for sailors battling stormy waters.
Like the emerald, the aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and its color can range from an almost translucent blue to intense blue-green or teal.
In the 19th century, sea-green aquamarine jewelry was the most sought after but, in later years, the color preference shifted to a more intense blue. The most valuable aquamarines come from Brazil, but the gemstone is also mined in Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia.
From the late 19th century onwards, the aquamarine was used extensively in both Art Nouveau and Art Deco jewelry. Art Nouveau jewellers revolted against the stiff Victorian era with aquamarine jewelery designs inspired by nature and animals, with gemstones often mounted in swirling lines of gold.
Created by Marzo in Paris around 1925, the Art Deco pendant pictured here features an aquamarine briolette alongside diamonds, sapphires and bands of black enamel. It was exhibited at the Haughton International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, along with an Art Nouveau aquamarine brooch by Parisian jeweller Georges Fouquet.
Featuring the distinct geometric lines that characterised design in the 1940’s, this Van Cleef & Arpels Ludo Hexagone gold and aquamarine bracelet watch was sold at Christie’s New York
The Maison continues to use this beautiful blue gem in its jewels today, and prides itself on selecting only the finest aquamarines of the purest composition and most intense hues to create masterpieces such as the aquamarine ring from the magical Peau d’Âne collection.
Aquamarines were also frequently incorporated into tiaras, including this Cartier aquamarine and diamond tiara, which was one of 27 that the jeweller created for the coronation of George VI in 1937. Made from platinum, the tiara is set with oval and fancy-cut aquamarines, as well as round old-cut diamonds.
With its beautiful range of blue colours, it is no wonder that the luminescent aquamarine continues to inspire jewellery designers to create extraordinary pieces.