February 20 – March 20
Part 1 – Aquamarine
The aquamarine, as its name suggests, is associated with water and the sea. This gemstone was a favorite of travelers, especially sailors who believed it would ensure a safe journey.
The use of the aquamarine for the protection of sea-faring travelers was first documented by the Greeks, between 500 and 300 BC. Amulets bearing aquamarine and engraved with an image of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas, were commonly worn while traveling by sea whether for commerce or military pursuits. The Romans believed that the aquamarine was sacred to their god of the sea, Neptune.
Besides its powers of protection, the aquamarine was believed to protect against poison also. This belief emerges in the Middle Ages. But perhaps the most interesting application for the aquamarine is as an eye-glass. It is said that Emperor Nero used it as such 2000 years ago. Indeed, in Germany, though much later, aquamarine was used in the fabrication of glasses to correct shortsightedness.
While the first color that comes to mind when aquamarine is mentioned is generally a light, fluid-like blue, the gem occurs in a wide range of tones within the blue to green spectrum. Traces of iron within the gem are responsible for these variations. The darker the gem, the most valued it is and a dark aquamarine is a prized possession.
Aquamarine is found in several regions of Africa. It is also mined in Brazil, Russia, India and Pakistan. In the United States, North Carolina and Maine produce some of the most desirable aquamarines.
If you have come across the name “poor man’s diamond,” someone was referring to the aquamarine. Notice that this is not to be taken pejoratively, for it merely means that it is precious and distinctive enough to be associated with the diamond, though at a more affordable price. One can be frugal and fashionable at the same time, after all. Furthermore, it is the significance of a gem, the memories and personal history it represents, that give it true value.
If the aquamarine is your birthstone, and you were born in March, you are generous, honest, receptive and affectionate. Your flower is the Jonquil (sometimes also called Narcissus).
Next: The Bloodstone
Read about other birthstones HERE