Rock Discoveries

Dive into the World of Aquamarine: Formation Digging and Color Instability

Introduction to Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a beautiful blue gemstone that belongs to the beryl family. It is a popular gemstone due to its unique color, clarity, and other desirable characteristics.

In this article, we will discuss the four Cs that determine the value of the gemstone, its formation and chemical composition, and where it can be found across the world. Additionally, we will cover some techniques used for digging aquamarine.

Description and Characteristics

Aquamarine is a blue variety of beryl mineral, which is composed of hexagonal crystalline structure. The beautiful blue color of the beryl is a result of the presence of iron molecules.

Aquamarine has a good level of clarity, which makes the stone highly sought after. Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions, which are imperfections present on the surface or inside the gems.

The presence of inclusions can reduce the value of Aquamarine by making it less clear and less attractive.

Value based on the 4 Cs

Aquamarine’s value depends on the 4 Cs of gemology, including the color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. These factors are essential in determining the quality and worth of the gemstone.

The color of an aquamarine should be vividly blue and free from any green or gray hues. A good clarity rating is evaluated by the absence of visible inclusions.

The precise and symmetrical cut of an aquamarine gemstone enhances its brilliance and fire. Finally, carat weight can influence its price, depending on its size.

Formation and Chemical Composition

Aquamarine is formed from the mineral beryl and is created through the process of magma cooling and crystallization. It can also be formed through the interaction of water and rocks.

The chemical composition of aquamarine is silicon, aluminum, and beryllium. In this formation, the beryllium atoms sit in an organized crystal lattice structure, forming a six-sided hexagonal crystal system.

Where Aquamarine is Found

Aquamarine can be found all over the world, including the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. Some of the countries where it can be found include China, Brazil, India, and Myanmar.

In the United States, aquamarine is present in several states, including Idaho and Southern California. Aquamarine is often located in pockets of pegmatites, which are coarse-grained igneous rocks.

The presence of aquamarine gems in pegmatites is due to the ideal chemical conditions for their formation. Metamorphic rocks, rocks that have undergone a transformation from heat, pressure, or chemical processes, can also contain aquamarine.

Digging Aquamarine

To dig aquamarine, you’ll need the right equipment, and an understanding of what to look for in the rocks. You should use a rock pick, pickaxe, pry bar, shovel, and chisel to remove the debris, rock, or soil obstructions on the surface.

Pegmatites often have thin veins of aquamarine, and you’ll need to identify them before digging. Once you have located the vein, you can use a rock hammer or chisel to extract it from the rock.

You should also examine the matrix of the rock closely for any signs of aquamarine inside.


In conclusion, aquamarine is an exquisite blue gemstone, valued for its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. It is found in various countries worldwide.

Its formation is a result of the crystallization process of beryl mineral and is located in igneous rocks like pegmatites or metamorphic rocks. It is a popular choice among gemstone lovers due to its remarkable beauty and other desirable characteristics.

Digging aquamarine may be a fun activity, but it requires proper equipment and the knowledge to identify the gemstones in the rocks.

Sunlight and Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a type of beryl mineral that can change color when exposed to sunlight or heat. This process of the gemstone changing color is called color instability.

In some cases, aquamarine can transform into a deep blue color, referred to as maxixe. This transformation is due to the interaction of the gemstone with radiation and is irreversible.

Color Instability

The maxixe transformation is not a desired color for aquamarine. Most buyers prefer the pale blue color that aquamarine is known for.

When heated or exposed to light, the iron trace elements present in the gemstone can react with impurities in the stone or nitrogen oxide (NO) in the atmosphere, creating the maxixe color. The color instability can also occur in other varieties of beryl, including white or colorless beryl.

It is essential to protect this gemstone from prolonged exposure to sunlight and high-temperature environments.

Hardness and Luster of Beryl

Beryl minerals, including aquamarine, are quite scratch-resistant and rank seven to eight on the Moh’s scale of hardness. This property of the gemstone makes it a durable option for jewelry.

The luster of beryl is vitreous or glassy in quality, but the color can affect the luster; some stones may have a resinous surface with a pearly glow.

Importance of Aquamarine in the World of Gems

Aquamarine is a gemstone that is highly valued for its beauty, rarity, and sought after by jewelry collectors worldwide. The world’s largest gem-quality aquamarine was found in Brazil in 1910, weighing over 110 kilograms.

This famous gemstone is called the Dom Pedro aquamarine and is presently on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Advice for Rockhounds Seeking to Find Aquamarine

Rockhounds or enthusiasts seeking to dig aquamarine in various places across the world should obtain permission to do so. The act of digging without permission is illegal, and the operators of mining facilities could press charges.

Rockhounds should ensure that they understand the legal specifications regarding mineral and gem exploration in that particular area. Upon obtaining permission, rockhounds should be prepared for the physical demands of digging.

This activity involves hard labor and can be quite strenuous. Rockhounds should be determined and willing to spend long hours digging without any guarantee of immediately striking a gemstone.

It takes a combination of luck and sweat for one to come across a valuable gemstone.


Aquamarine is an essential gemstone in the world of gems, given its unique color and valuable properties. Its formation and chemical structure make it a rare and highly sought after gemstone.

Color instability of the gemstone is due to the interaction of the gemstone with radiation and is irreversible. Hardness and luster make aquamarine an appropriate gemstone for jewelry.

Finally, rockhounds seeking to dig gemstones must obtain permission, understand legal specifications, and be prepared to engage in hard manual labor. In conclusion, aquamarine is a gemstone that possesses remarkable beauty and desirability, and its uniqueness and rareness make it a sought after commodity in the world of gemstones.

It is important to protect aquamarine from sunlight and heat to prevent color instability. Additionally, rockhounds seeking to dig aquamarine should obtain permission and be physically prepared for the laborious work involved.


1. Can aquamarine change color when exposed to sunlight?

Yes, aquamarine can change color when exposed to sunlight or heat, leading to the formation of the maxixe color. 2.

What is the importance of color stability in aquamarine? Color stability is essential in aquamarine because it helps maintain the desirable pale blue color that is popular among buyers.

3. How durable is aquamarine as a gemstone?

Beryl minerals, including aquamarine, are quite scratch-resistant, ranking seven to eight on the Moh’s scale of hardness, making them durable for use in jewelry. 4.

What is the best way to find aquamarine? Rockhounds must obtain permission from the appropriate authorities to explore and mine in any area legally.

They should also be physically prepared for the hard labor involved in digging aquamarine. 5.

What is the significance of aquamarine as a gemstone? Aquamarine is unique with its blue color, rarity, and beauty, making it a sought after commodity in the world of gemstones.

The world’s largest gem-quality aquamarine, the Dom Pedro, is displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

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