Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine are stunning, rich ‘robin’s egg’ blue gemstones from Mozambique’s Zambezia Province, a country noted for yielding fine Aquamarines. While Aquamarine is hugely popular and a gem most people immediately find attractive, it’s more intense colors as exemplified by our Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine are extremely beautiful, genuinely rare, and highly coveted.
Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine are a pure, intense robin’s egg blue, with a tone and saturation that is not too dark or too light, reminiscent of the fine Aquamarines’ from Brazil’s famed Santa Maria de Itabira mines. While Aquamarines’ quintessential ‘classic’ pastel blues are the norm for this gemstone, Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine’s greater tone and saturation is indicative of a fine quality that is extremely valued and collectable.
As color is the most important consideration for Aquamarine, expert lapidary that accentuates color is critical. Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine displays a desirable even color, good brilliance, eye-clean clarity (the highest clarity quality grade for colored gemstones), and excellent scintillation (play of light).
Coined by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, Aquamarine literally means ‘water of the sea’ in Latin, from the words ‘aqua’ (water) and ‘marina’ (sea). March’s birthstone, Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl mineral family (from the ancient Greek ‘beryllos’, meaning blue-green stone), commonly known as the ‘mother of gemstones’ because of its highly regarded gem varieties. Pure Beryl is colorless and trace amounts of elements are responsible for producing Beryl’s wonderful colors. Apart from Aquamarine blues, other Beryl gemstones include Emerald greens, Goshenite whites (colorless), Heliodor/Golden Beryl yellows, Morganite pinks, and Red Beryl reds.
Ranging in color from pastel to intense deep blues, sometimes with splashes of green, Aquamarine is colored by trace amounts of iron. Prior to Aquamarine’s modern African discoveries (circa 1830), Brazil and Russia produced the finest quality. While Brazil is still a major supplier, today, African nations including, Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zambia supply equally beautiful Aquamarines.
In fact, ‘Santa Maria’ (rare, intense blue Aquamarine from Brazil’s Santa Maria de Itabira deposit; discovered in the 50s, it is virtually depleted with only sporadic mining occurring) colors have also been found in Mozambique (circa 1991) and in other African countries such as Zambia. This has resulted in the tradenames ‘Santa Maria Africana’ and ‘Santa Maria Afrique’. Rarely found in any locale, Aquamarine’s deeper colors are not continuously produced, keeping demand high.
Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine is from the Alto Ligonha District in Mozambique’s Zambezia Province, a region noted for many world-class gemstone and rare mineral bearing granite pegmatites (a coarsely crystalline igneous rock).
Durability & Care
Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine (Mohs’ Hardness: 7.5 – 8) is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry. Always store Santa Maria Afrique Aquamarine carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.