Back to gem encyclopedia

Aquamarine

Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is a cool plunge into a refreshing pool.

Responsive image
Emerald Cut

This 3.36-ct. gem is an emerald cut, which is typical for aquamarine.

Responsive image
Sea Blue

Aquamarine’s most valuable color is a dark blue to slightly greenish blue.

Responsive image
High Clarity

Like all fine aquamarines, this gem is free of eye-visible inclusions.

Responsive image
Responsive image
Mineral Specimen

This fine 3x3x7 cm aquamarine mineral specimen is from Balistan, Pakistan

Responsive image
Columnar Form

The crystal shows aquamarine’s typical six-sided columnar form.

Responsive image
Pencil Point

A collector might call this crystal a “pencil” due to the faces at its tip.

Responsive image
Tools

Buyer's Guide

Fine aquamarines are a marriage between color and clarity. The best are dark blue to slightly greenish blue with no visible inclusions. Careful cutting maximizes both qualities to produce superb gems.

FIND A JEWELER

Submit your gemstone through your local jeweler. 

FIND A REPORT

Verify the information on your report matches what is archived in the GIA report database.

What To Look For

Color is an important quality factor for aquamarine.

Aquamarine is pastel blue, greenish blue, or green-blue. The preferred aquamarine color is a dark blue to slightly greenish blue with moderate intensity and is most striking in gems of over 5-cts. Fine stones show even blue color with no zoning

Clarity is also important—most fine gems are eye clean.

Most faceted aquamarines are free of eye-visible inclusions. Collectors generally expect clean gems with good transparency. There is a trend today to use included, but good-color aquamarines as unique centerpieces for jewelry articles or even as partially polished crystal slices or nuggets in necklaces.

Cut is one of the most important factors in appearance.

Aquamarines can be cut into almost any shape, but cutters often fashion them as emerald cuts or as round or oval brilliants. Many gem artists use aquamarine for one-of-a-kind designer cuts because their styles maximize the material’s pure, even color and high clarity.

Carat weight allows for precise measurements.

Aquamarine is available in large sizes—many fine gems of 25-cts or greater are readily available. Generally, smaller accent sizes are pale: cut gems are more likely to have a darker color if they are larger than five carats.

Aquamarine Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide

Tips & Advice

1. Top quality aquamarine shouldn’t have any eye visible inclusions.

Although aquamarine is the mineral beryl, like emerald, inclusions are much less accepted than they would be in emerald. Aquamarine that is milky or included is much less expensive, although it may be beautiful in its own way.

2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Fine aquamarine is rare and expensive. Large gems with intense color that are selling for less than $100 are unlikely to be aquamarine.

3. Trust your color preferences.

If you prefer an aquamarine color that has more green in it, you can buy a beautiful gem for less than you would pay for the same gem if it was a pure blue.

4. Work with a jeweler with expertise.

Judging the quality of aquamarine requires skill and knowledge. Look for gemological credentials. A jeweler who knows and loves aquamarine will have several to show you so you can see quality differences side by side.