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Aquamarine cabochons

Sources and varieties

Aquamarine, like most of beryls, is formed in pockets called pegmatites. It is found together with other stones such as tourmaline, feldspar and quartz.
Crystals of large size are generally of clear colour. However, some crystals destined to the jewellery have quite sustained blue or blue-green colour.
The biggest supplier of aquamarine is, since a long time, Brazil. Mines are divided a little everywhere in this country, but some are famous for having produced exceptional quality stones.
The Marambaya mine in the state of Minas Gerais produced in 1910 a beautiful quality stone weighting 110 Kg.
The Pedra Azul mine in the same state produced in 1981 a crystal weighting 45Kg which, carved by the Lapidary Master Bernd Munsteiner, made an amazing obelisk of more than 10 000 carats (2 kilos...). This exceptional piece of art is now part of the Smithsonian collection in display at the National Museum of natural history, Washington D.C. in the United States.
Still in the same state of Minas Gerais, the famous Santa Maria of Itabira mine has produced during various years exceptional blue crystals. The appellation Santa Maria describes a dark blue colour and not its provenance. Nowadays, we find Santa Maria aquamarines in Nigeria, in Madagascar or even in Pakistan.
The Tamil Nadu state in India, and principally Karur region, became in the last twenty years, a very important supplier of aquamarine. Gemstones of this source are of a quite dark blue colour with a metallic tonality.
Other important suppliers are in Africa with countries such as Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and in the United States, with the States of California, Idaho, Colorado and Maine.
Russia, Myanmar and China are other smaller suppliers of aquamarine.

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