5 Exquisite Pieces Of Historical Aquamarine Jewelry
What Is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is the blue-green to a greenish-blue variety of beryl, a mineral species that includes emerald and morganite. The name comes from the Latin aqua marina, meaning “seawater,” and refers to its color. Aquamarine ranges in the shade from very pale to dark blue, with strong greenish tones.
Although large crystal clusters of this gemstone are rare, fine faceted stones of up to several carats are commonly found. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and is also used as a traditional gift on the 19th wedding anniversary.
This gemstone has been thought of by many cultures to protect sailors at sea and bring good luck to anyone who wears it. For example, those traveling over water should wear an aquamarine gemstone around their neck or carry a small piece along with them for protection. It is also thought that if you sleep with aquamarine under your pillow, it can cure insomnia or bring pleasant dreams.
Aquamarines are quite a popular stone at the moment. However, they have been coveted by the wealthy and well-connected for centuries. They have adorned the throats of queens and the lapels of kings, and their courts have followed their monarchs’ example, fashioning for themselves lavish pieces that have survived for years past their original use.
Some were passed down the generations, others won in wars, and others were still pawned off to keep families from penury in times of famine and strife. Many of these pieces have survived the test of time and are now housed in museums or auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Today, we’ll be looking at five historical pieces that have gained great renown over the years. These are, for the most part, pieces that are still held by national governments or existing royalty, so they might be a bit out of reach. If you’re eager to own your own aquamarine piece, there are several places to buy certified gemstones, Leibish’s aquamarine, for example. But for now, let’s dive into some history.
Marie Antoinette’s Necklace
This necklace was created in 1788 as a gift from Louis XVI to his wife, Marie Antoinette. It is made of aquamarines and diamonds and is held on a matching ribbon. The original piece was sadly lost, but the design was recreated in the 1990s with real aquamarines, making this piece available to modern collectors.
The necklace is set in gold and features six large pear-shaped aquamarine stones surrounded by diamonds, with three diamond drops hanging from each stone. Three detachable diamond drops hang from the pendant, which can be worn alone or with one of two pearl necklaces that came with it. The entire piece has been estimated at $90 million!
Queen Alexandra’s Aquamarine Tiara
This aquamarine tiara was gifted to Alexandra by her husband, King Edward VII, in 1906—the same year he commissioned Garrard & Co. to create the Delhi Durbar Tiara and the Coronation Necklace and Earrings for Alexandra’s coronation as Empress of India.
Though it is unknown which craftsman designed this piece, it is commonly believed that Garrard employee George Faudel-Phillips was either its inventor or the lead on its creation. The tiara has a gold frame with a total of twelve pear-shaped aquamarines weighing just over 85 carats. Twelve green tourmalines are also featured in the design to complement the aquamarines.
Queen Marie of Romania’s Aquamarine Suite
Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) was a British princess who married the heir to the Romanian throne in 1893. She quickly fell in love with her adopted country and became very popular in Romania for her many charitable activities. She gave lavish birthday parties to poor children and made donations to hospitals and orphanages.
Marie was also known for wearing ornate jewelry, some of it worn by previous Romanian queens and some of it purchased by her during her reign. One of the most famous pieces is a necklace, bracelet, brooch, tiara, and pin set featuring 21 aquamarines surrounded by diamonds weighing over 100 carats total.
The pieces were created in Paris circa 1901 by jeweler Gabriel Lemonnier & Co. to Marie’s design specifications. They feature a large oval aquamarine surrounded on either side by smaller pear-shaped aquamarines with diamond accents on each end, which increases the brilliance of the stones.
All five pieces can be worn together or as separate items; they are currently owned jointly by Princess Maria-Magdalena, one of Marie’s granddaughters, and Prince Radu Duda, Prince Radu’s son from his first marriage to Princess Margarita though they divorced in 2007.
Empress Eugenie of France’s Anniversary Brooch
This aquamarine brooch was gifted to Empress Eugenie of France by her husband Napoleon III to mark the birth of their son. The piece features a large aquamarine surrounded by diamonds and pearls and has a serpent at its center.
The piece was almost lost forever as it was believed to have been sold during the estate sale that took place after the empress’s death in 1920. The brooch remained hidden for over 50 years until it reappeared again later on in New York City. The current owner remains unknown, but the news of its rediscovery spread quickly among historians and jewelry enthusiasts alike.
Queen Elizabeth’s Bracelet
If you’re the kind of person who likes to stay on top of the latest trends, then this bracelet is for you. It was a gift from the people of Brazil and is often worn by Queen Elizabeth at formal events. No details were spared on this magnificent piece! The large aquamarine stone takes center stage and is surrounded by diamonds, making it one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite pieces.
Queen Elizabeth has long been known as an aquamarine enthusiast, so it makes sense that she would choose such an extravagant bracelet to show off this gorgeous gemstone. This particular design features more than 50 diamonds set around a large aquamarine stone in an 18-karat gold setting with white enamel accents along both sides of the bracelet itself.
Aquamarines make timeless aquamarine engagement rings and jewelry.
Aquamarines make timeless aquamarine engagement rings and jewelry. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, making it a popular stone in March birthstone jewelry. The stone is also a very popular engagement ring stone since the word “aquamarine” comes from the Latin word Aqua Marinus which means “water of the sea.”
For some reason, people think this makes it an appropriate choice for engagement rings and anniversary gifts. Aquamarine is also the stone that represents the 19th wedding anniversary, making it especially meaningful to give an aquamarine gift at that time to your spouse or loved one. Aquamarine not only makes timeless jewelry in general but is a timeless classic and good investment as well.