THE SAILOR'S STONE

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Aquamarine, a lovely blue-green member of the beryl family, has been used in jewelry since the third century B.C. and is one of the most fashionable gemstones today.

For hundreds of years it was called "The Sailor's Stone," due to its sea-like colors, ranging from a pale sky blue to a deep blue-green, and was thought to protect sailors and people traveling over water.

Aquamarine is tough, durable and takes an excellent polish.  Aquas can be worn in rings and bracelets with minimal risk if the settings are designed to protect the gems.  Avoid steam cleaning or excess heat.

You don't have to be a sailor or a March-born baby to enjoy the beauty and sparkle of aquamarine.  It's a year-round treasure of a gem.  Recently designers have begun combining aquamarines with golden citrines, emeralds or tsavorite garnets, sapphires and pink tourmalines to provide fresh fashion color palettes.

The earliest aquamarine probably came from India, where it was highly regarded by Hindu mystics as an aid to promoting mental clarity and to improving one's public speaking.

Medieval alchemists believed aquamarine would prevent excess water retention in the body and enhance the digestive and eliminative functions.  In the medieval alchemical charts of gem properties, aquamarine is shown as ruling the kidneys, bladder and urethra.  19th Century Chinese carvers produced snuff bottles and delicate figurines out of larger pieces of aquamarine, because it is easy to carve and polishes beautifully.