Two very different but equally beautiful gemstones are featured as the birthstones for March. The cool blue of the aquamarine is the more traditional of the two, but the mesmerizing appearance of the bloodstone is a favorite as well. Both have been used and worn since ancient times. Throughout history, both have also been believed to protect one’s well-being, purity of spirit and soul, and brings health and strength to the wearer. Aquamarine and its sea-like colors was believed to protect sailors at sea by calming waves. Its name alone comes from the Latin word for “sea”, but it was believed to serve far more than sailors alone. It was also believed to ensure happy marriages. Legends attributed it as a favorite treasure of mermaids, and Roman doctors would use it for digestive issues. Bloodstone’s primary use in ancient times was to increase strength and was cherished by athletes from ancient times to modern day. Especially for those who are in training and seeking to enhance the process. It is even used in ground form as an aphrodisiac. Both gemstones are found heavily in Brazil. Aquamarine is also mined heavily in Pakistan, while Bloodstone is also abundant in India and Australia.   

Aquamarine is a semi-precious, blue-green variety of beryl. The colors vary slightly in hue but are generally fully transparent. The hues vary from cool blue to turquoise-like blue green in color and can vary in intensity. Most form in mineral-rich rocks and commonly occur with similar minerals including quartz, garnet, and topaz. The process to form can take anywhere from tens of thousands of years up to millions of years. Aquamarine is usually mined by hand using hammers and chisels. However, areas to be mined often must first be heavily excavated requiring heavy equipment, or even blasting. This method allows for the crystals to be mined as fully intact as possible.

Bloodstone is a dark green or crimson red variety of chalcedony with veins of bright red, lending to its name. Notably, red is rarely the only color seen in the green quartz, but often will display flashes of yellow, orange, and brown. Unlike aquamarine, bloodstone is typically opaque. It is often found on the surface and in streams after having been released from surrounding rock by erosion and deposited. Underground mining is typically used for commercial mining operations, however.

Aquamarine is an excellent stone for everyday wear. Having a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, it is suitable in a variety of settings from rings and pendants to bracelets and earrings. Light care is recommended but it is easy to do. Water and dish soap is all that is needed, but ultrasonics and steam cleaners are fine if there are no fractures or liquid inclusions within the piece. Bloodstone is more fragile but still a great choice with proper care. Having a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, it can be scratched with wear. Chemicals and extremely hot temperatures should be avoided, and it should be stored in a soft fabric when not being worn. Warm, soapy water is the best method of cleaning. Bloodstone should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner or with steam. Both March birthstones are relatively abundant and therefore affordable. They are available in a wide range of carat weights from small to large. Aquamarine is most often priced by carat weight, where bloodstone is priced according primarily to its color. Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Willmar, MN has nearly a century of service to the West Central Minnesota area. Our experienced team is passionate about jewelry, and you can rest east knowing that we give our all to ensure our customers are delighted with their jewelry purchase, just as we have for generations. We hope you will visit us and see our in-store selection of aquamarine jewelry for you or your loved one. In addition, our master in-house jeweler, Jeff Paffrath, will work with you directly to ensure the custom jewelry is designed and constructed to your specifications. Our experts can provide you with the wisdom and experience to select or design a piece that will get noticed, and that you cherish. Stop in or give us a call and allow us to help you find the exact jewelry you have been dreaming

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