EXPERIENCE HISTORY

SLEEK AQUAMARINE

Aquamarine’s icy blues and bluish greens are hypnotizing. It is an opaque to transparent type of beryl, that forms when magma underneath the earth crust interacts with a mineral-rich rock called pegmatites. The stone seems to capture the vastness of the seven seas, reflecting an endless sky in a serenity that brings rest when feeling blue.

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THE NAME

In Latin, aqua means water. Marina is the sea. With prayer beads carved from this gem, ocean waves glide through your hands.

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THE SOURCE

Brazil is where miners source aquamarine the most today. Other primary aquamarine-producing countries are Russia, the United States, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and India.

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SPECS FOR SPECTACLES

According to Roman author Pliny the Elder, Emperor Nero used an aquamarine stone as magnifying glasses to observe the gladiators’ battles.

AQUAMARINE

A HISTORY

Linked to St. Thomas, a frequent traveler by boat, a common Ancient Roman belief used to be that this glacial blue gemstone protected sailors from the perils of the sea—especially when engraved with Neptune on his chariot. Aquamarine beads were further discovered with Egyptian mummies, and the Ancient Greeks turned them into so-called intaglios, engraved gem rings. The stone has been carved into snuff bottles in 18th-century China and France, added to 17th-century Tibetan boxes, cut into flasks and perfume bottles in 19th-century America, and turned into desk seals and earrings in Russia during the same era.

In times gone by, a gem’s color was often used as a starting point to determine which sickness it was thought capable of curing. Most beneficial to the eyes was green, so both emerald and aquamarine were often applied in preparations for the eyes. “If the sight has been wearied or dimmed by intensively looking on any other subject, it is refreshed and restored by gazing at this stone,” Pliny the Elder, the 1st-century Roman natural philosopher, wrote.

AQUAMARINE

THE ISLAMIC TRADITION

Water might be the element of nature considered most precious in the Islamic tradition. Heavenly drops are a Sign. Appearing sixty-three times in the Holy Book, water is a purifying blessing that is indispensable to sustain all life on earth. It is a social good. It has been narrated by Saʿd ibn ʿUbadah that our Blessed Prophet has said that the best form of charity is to provide someone with water to drink.

In Islamic teachings, it is frowned upon to waste water. To conserve it, and not to squander or pollute it, is seen as a moral obligation. In the title of a significant number of medieval Islamic books, the use of the sea symbolizes a metaphysical knowledge so vast it is as deep as the ocean. The ocean and the sea are also recurrent metaphors in the poems of the 10th-century Iraqi poet al-Mutannabi, 14th-century Persian lyric Hafiz, and the 13th-century Persian poet and Hanafi faqih Jalal al-Din Rumi.

O Drop

Jalal al-Din Rumi (translated by Kabir and Camille Helminski)

Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,

and in exchange gain the Ocean.

Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,

and in the arms of the Sea be secure.

Who indeed should be so fortunate?

An Ocean wooing a drop!

In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!

Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.

AQUAMARINE

THE ISLAMIC TRADITION

In early gemology, emerald and aquamarine were often not distinguished. This is also the case in the writings of the 10th-century scholar al-Biruni, who was of the opinion that they are one and the same. He stated that in Egypt, emerald was mined in the Mukattam hills, Wahhaat, and on both sides of the Nile in Upper Egypt, quite far from cities. In an attempt to prove the common belief wrong that says serpents lose their eyesight as soon as they see an emerald, al-Biruni writes that he performed so many experiments upon this claim that it is impossible to go beyond them. “I had emerald necklaces placed upon the necks of the snakes,” he explains. “Made them walk upon emerald floors, and had emerald ropes swung before them. This I did for nine months, both in summer and winter.”” Yet, to no avail. “In the event, I did not see any adverse or harmful effect upon their eyes. For Allah is all sustenance and help,” he concludes.

The Tradition Continues

Are you inspired?

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