Tuesday, March 2, 2021

History of the Aquamarine: March's birthstone

Amber Schamel Christian Author
Blogger: Amber Schamel

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0
March is associated with the coming of Spring, so it is very appropriate that their birthstone would be the shade of blue skies and clear water. Although, aquamarine can vary in shades from light blue, to dark blue, to a green-blue. This is one of my personal favorites, because it is the birthstone of my husband, and the gem he gave me for our anniversary.

This gem is a blue form of the beryl stone, whereas emeralds are green hues of the beryl, so they are essentially the same stone, in different colors.

Aquamarine is a name derived from two Latin words meaning "water" and "of the sea". It was named such for its color that reminds us of the peaceful waters of a clear beach, but probably also because of the beliefs associated with the gem.

This stone has been admired for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their kings with beads of aquamarine. The Hebrews used the stone in the garments of the High Priest and in their temple. Ancient Romans believed the stone had the power to grant protection to fishermen and luck in their catch. Roman bridegrooms would gift the stone to their betrothed, believing that it had the ability to absorb the atmosphere of young love.

During the middle ages, this belief was expanded to include rekindling love in a marriage. Also during this era, aquamarine was believed to hold mystic powers. Many famous mystics used the gem for their crystal balls in which to divine the future, including Dr. John Dee who cast the horoscope for Queen Elizabeth I's coronation. It was also believed that aquamarine could be an antidote for poison.

For centuries, aquamarine has been a favorite of sailors, and the legends and tales surrounding the gem are vast. One of the many tales is that mermaids keep this gem in treasure chests beneath the sea and give them out to their favorite sailors to protect them against storms and other dangers of sea life.

The Dom Pedro aquamarine. Photo by Karen Neoh.
Licensed under CC By 2.0.

There are many famous pieces of aquamarine. One of the most well known is a massive fourteen-inch tall obelisk named the Dom Pedro. The stone was found by prospectors in Brazil during the 1980's, and the original piece was over three feet long, and weighed over 100 pounds. The prospectors dropped it, breaking it into three pieces. The two smaller chunks were sold and made into smaller pieces of unknown jewelry, however the largest of the three became infamous and was named after the first emperor of Brazil. The sculpture was crafted by a German artist, Bernd Munsteiner, to reflect the depths of the sea and is truly a stunning piece of art. It is currently the world's largest cut aquamarine and is housed at the National Museum of Natural History. 

The Roosevelt Aquamarine
Public Domain from the US National Archives.

Another famous piece is the Roosevelt Aquamarine. In 1936, the Brazilian President gifted a whopping 1,298-ct aquamarine to the first lady, Eleanore Roosevelt. At the time, it was the largest cut aquamarine, however it fell to second place after the discovery of the Dom Pedro mentioned above. It was never mounted into jewelry, but now belongs to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

This beautiful gem is coveted for its tranquil and calming color and is a lovely tribute to all the people lucky enough to be born in March.


Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".

She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!


  1. Thanks for posting! What a beautiful gem, and the Dom Pedro is awesome!

    1. Don't you just love it? I'd be thrilled to have that glowing in my bedroom at night.
      Thanks for stopping by, Connie!

  2. I love your birthstone series! Very interesting. I didn't know about the gift to Mrs. Roosevelt. What a lovely stone.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm so glad you are enjoying the series. We're almost through it!

  3. This is very cool. Years ago my mom gave me a ring with a stone in it the color of the first picture. Her mom gave it to her for her sixteenth birthday. She took it to a jeweler and he said that they cant find that stone and its color any more. I wonder.
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