A pleasant gem to hold and own, aquamarine belongs to the beryl family of mainerals. Often occurring in lighter shades of "sky" blue aquamarine has been a long time favorite gem of The USA and Europe. Colored by iron, the color ranges from light blue to greenish blue. Aquamarines can be found in Brazil, Russia, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, California and Myanmar. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5-8 with the cleavage being indistinct and the fracture conchoidal to uneven. Aquamarine occurs from small sizes to very large crystals reaching a few feet in height. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family, a group of gemstones including: Emerald (green beryl), Heliordor (golden beryl), Goshenite (colorless beryl), Morganite (pink beryl), Bixbite (red beryl), Maxixe (Blue beryl which color fade in sunlight). Aquamarine is the name given to iron colored beryl which comes in colors from pale blue to rich sky blue or greenish blue. Aquamarine was named by the Romans over 2000 years ago, derived from words that mean ?water of the sea?, which is what it reminds one of with its clear blue color. The preferred color today is rich sky blue. Most aquamarine occurs without any, or very few, inclusions, making it a very eye-pleasing stone. Because of the shape of the rough that occurs as long prismatic crystals, aquamarine is most often fashioned as a step-cut emerald shape. Aquamarine is a ?dichroic? stone which means that it shows more than one color, depending on which way you look at it. From one view it may appear a rich blue, greenish, or greenish-blue while from another angle it may appear to be nearly colorless. Nowadays most of the aquamarine in the market owns its deep coloration from heat treatment at 400 to 450 degres of lower colored material. This coloration is stable unlike the possible coloration resulting from irradiation. Most aquamarine mined today comes from pegmatites in Brazil, but it is also found in alluvial gravels as well. Fine aquamarines are also found in the Sakangyi area in the west of the Mogok stone tract in Burma (Myanmar). Other occurrences are in Australia, Russia, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, and India. Each locality produces a different color variation, sometimes making it possible to identify a stone?s origin from color alone. Aquamarine is brittle and sensitive to pressure. It is also sensitive to high temperature and may loose color if heated to high. Care must be so taken when making some aquamarine jewelry.