Aquamarine is commonly an affordable and durable gemstone, though a financial investment in this gem shouldn’t be done until several important factors have been taken into consideration. One useful way to remember what to look for when selecting an aquamarine ring is to go over “The Four Cs of Gemstones.”
Color: Color is usually the primary factor in determining the stone value of aquamarine. Its color ranges in various shades of blue: light blue, light greenish blue, dark greenish blue, green-blue and dark blue. The most common color associated with this stone is a light greenish blue. However, the richer, more vibrantly toned stones are valued highest, including those that are darker blue or greenish blue in color. Generally speaking, the purer and more intense the shade of blue, the higher the value.
Clarity: Most faceted aquamarine stones sold today are eye-clean and transparent. Though there are some that may contain liquid inclusions, flaws in clarity are usually few and far between with this type of gemstone. Aquamarine’s clarity often depends on the cut, which determines how much light it can reflect.
Cut: Because this gem is pleochroic – meaning it is able to show different colors when viewed by light polarized in multiple directions – aquamarine corresponds with the cutting orientation that retains the most weight, with the table surface lined parallel to the crystal’s length. Aquamarine stones can easily be shaped into virtually any style of cut, but there are several popular cuts used regularly, which include emerald cut (most popular), princess cut, round, marquise, fancy nautilus, oval brilliant and pear-shaped. A poorly cut piece of aquamarine is fairly easy to detect. It will have irregular angles and its shape may be uneven. They also tend to let light leak in from the sides of the gem, as opposed to directly straight into the viewer’s eye. Although valued much less, a poorly cut piece of aquamarine can still be attractive, but primarily if the color intensity is high.
Carat: Aquamarine crystals vary in size, some weighing upwards of 100 lbs. (45 kg). Though bigger stones tend to be more readily available, it’s rather challenging to use them in jewelry, which means there’s less of a demand for them. As a result, per-carat prices tend to go down for any size above 25 carats. Aquamarine stones are generally very affordable and can be purchased at a high carat count. Ideally, aquamarine stones should also be set in 18-carat gold or platinum.