The name of the March birthstone is comprised of two Latin words: aqua (water) marina (of the sea), reflecting its unique clear-blue-to-sea-green colouring, and subsequent oceanic resonances.
Indeed aquamarine was commonly known among its classical admirers as ‘mermaid’s treasure’, or ‘sailor’s gem’ as it was carried by sea-faring men to ensure a safe and prosperous passage across stormy waters.
Yet this is not all it was known for…
Today we have a strong tendency to regard diamonds as the traditional stone of love and matrimony, but this hasn’t always been the case. The seemingly age-old association is actually relatively young – largely traceable to the mid-20th century and a highly successful marketing campaign: ‘A diamond is forever’, launched by De Beers in 1947. (This rescued the rock’s declining market value following the South African diamond rush of the 1870s, by convincing the world that, when it comes to a declaration of undying love, nothing else will do.)
In fact, aquamarine lays a far older claim to the diamond’s sparkling marital associations, beginning in Ancient Rome, where the stone was held to have the power to absorb the atmosphere of young love. It was common practice for the groom to present his bride with a gift of aquamarine the night after their marriage was consummated, ensuring that their love would remain strong throughout their wedded lives.
By the middle ages, the association had deepened. The stone became invested with the ability to reawaken lost love between a husband and wife, and was given as a gift from one partner to the other to signify the desire to return to an earlier, more passionate state.
The connection between aquamarine and marriage has stood the test of time. Perhaps the most famous example of this occurred in America in 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, was given a beautiful heart-shaped aquamarine by Vice President William Howard Taft as a wedding gift.
A stone for individuality
At Assestsure we have noticed a growing trend amongst couples, who have decided to become engaged, to commission a bespoke ring, often incorporating their own ideas into the design to make something more personal and unique.
Couples interested in pursuing this option may wish to consider venturing away from the diamond – in which case, aquamarine makes a perfect candidate. Not only is it connected to love and marriage, but is also a favorite among modern designers due to the ease and variety of ways in which it can be cut, shaped and refined.
The most striking, example of this is the Dom Pedro – the largest single piece of cut-gem aquamarine in the world, named after the Brazilian Emperor to whom the stone originally belonged. It was cut into an obelisk design by the renowned gem artist, Bernd Munsteiner, in 1992, and is said to be the most distinct and beautiful aquamarine ever produced. It is now on display for anyone to admire in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in America.
At Assetsure, we’ve got it covered
When commissioning a bespoke ring design, the selection of who makes the ring plays an important part, and couples often desire to return to the same jeweller for a replacement if the ring is lost or stolen – something that not all insurance policies will allow. You’ll be pleased to hear that Assetsure’s specialist Engagement Ring Insurance does indeed allow for this, along with a range of other key benefits.