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Aquamarine, March birthstone

aquamarine march birthstone

Aquamarine is March birthstone and also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries

The origin of the name

“Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is a cool plunge into a refreshing pool.”

The term aquamarine comes from a combination of two Latin words. The first one, aqua, means water and the second, marina means sea. Together, the word translates to the color of the sea.

Taking its name from its color, we will explore further in a moment its characteristic blue hue.

Aquamarine crystal


Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family alongside the well known Emerald but also Morganite, Heliodor, Bixbite and Goshenite. Unlike the emerald, it is not a precious stone because of its relative abundance in nature. Aquamarine is therefore a semi-precious stone.

Aquamarine often comes in large size hexagonal crystals. The biggest one found to date, the Dom Pedro specimen, comes from Brazil and is 10,363cts big! It weighs about 100lbs aka 45kg and you can see it at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Pure beryl is colorless. Traces of iron are responsible for the greenish blue to blue color of aquamarine. Under heat, it becomes even bluer.

A range of blue color

Aquamarines can range from a very light, almost imperceptible color to crystals with a rich vibrant color. A small aquamarine with a rich blue color will cost a lot more than identical-size stones with a faint blue color.

The AIGS, Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences, has identified a certain category of blues labeled as “Santa Maria”. This color range was characteristic of the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The mine produced aquamarine considered to be among the best in terms of color—a saturated blue—but is now almost depleted.

Aquamarine classification by blue color variations implemented by AIGS

Where does aquamarine come from

Brazil is the world’s major source of fine aquamarine gems. Localities include Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceara, and others.

Africa is becoming a strong rival, with mining activities in countries such as Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania. Madagascar has more than 50 specific localities that produce fine, blue gem material.

Other countries of origin include Pakistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Russia and the United States.

The powers of aquamarine

Aquamarine evokes the purity of crystal blue waters, and the relaxation and feeling of calm that the sea brings. Spiritually, it is associated with trusting and letting go.

In ancient times, aquamarine was believed to be the treasure of mermaids. Sailors used the stone as a talisman to bring good luck on the open waters. The gem was used as a symbol of protection and fearlessness too.

The blue semi-precious stones have numerous benefits other than simply helping to boost one’s confidence. The stone’s color lends itself to a sense of harmony and joy. It can bring its wearer energy and a sense of playfulness.


Aquamarine jewelry

Here are some examples of fine jewelry pieces using the beautiful sea blue semi-precious stone:

diamond aquamarine and bicolor tourmaline studs set in 14k yellow gold
diamond aquamarine and bicolor tourmaline studs set in 14k yellow gold
aquamarine and bicolor tourmaline solid gold earrings
aquamarine and bicolor tourmaline solid gold earrings
Cassiopeia constellation necklace in 14k gold
Cassiopeia constellation necklace in 14k gold

I was recently commissioned by Rachel to customize the bicolor heart necklace using the birthstones of her two children: aquamarine for her first born in March and emerald for her second born in May. It looks like this:

bicolor heart necklace emerald and aquamarine
bicolor heart necklace emerald and aquamarine

If aquamarine appeals to you because it is your birthstone or simply because you like its color, I would be happy to create a custom piece of jewelry for you including this beautiful semi-precious stone. Just fill out the form here:

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Viva Magenta, 2023 Pantone color

viva magenta pantone color of the year 2023 blog post header

I couldn’t be happier with Pantone 2023 official color of the year, Viva Magenta, this raspberry pink is by far my favorite color. It embodies passion, excitement, positivity and warmth in my book! In Pantone’s own words:

Viva Magenta is brave and fearless, a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Let’s dive into exactly what is a Pantone color, how Viva Magenta can be applied to your jewelry selection and how to pair it harmoniously with other colors.

A brief history of Pantone

Pantone’s current mission and direction was given in 1963 by Lawrence Herbert. He basically developed the Pantone Color Matching System, a standardized method that revolutionized print colors. It allowed the reproduction of consistent, accurate color anywhere in the world.

It is used in a variety of industries, mostly graphic design, fashion design, product design, printing and manufacturing. His company primarily produces color guides in the form of flip books that contain coded detachable color chips. Each chip is defined by a unique PMS: Pantone Matching System. 

pantone booklets of colored chips using the PMS
pantone booklets of colored chips using the PMS

The Pantone Color Institute

The Pantone Color Institute™ is a consulting service within Pantone that forecasts global color trends and advises companies on color in brand identity and product development, for the application and integration of color as a strategic asset. 

Recognized around the world as a leading source of color information through seasonal trend forecasts, custom color development, and palette recommendations for product and corporate identity, Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to leverage the power, psychology and emotion of color in their design strategy.

Viva Magenta, 2023 Pantone Color 

The Pantone Color Institute introduces 2023 Pantone color of the year: 18-1750 Viva Magenta. It “vibrates with vim and vigor” and “balances boldness with a feeling of fun

In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director Pantone Color Institute.

Viva Magenta in gemstones

Viva Magenta is found in several gemstones such as pink sapphire, pink spinel, pink tourmaline, rhodolite garnet, rubellite tourmaline and ruby. They present subtle variations in hues but are all very luscious and I would even say delicious colors. Below are examples of these 6 different gems.

Pairing Viva Magenta with other colors

A harmonious color combination can be achieved in several different ways: by marrying complementary colors together, by associating analogous colors or by letting a main color shine and adding only neutral tones by its side. Below I depict some illustrations on the color wheel and with jewelry examples of how these three different combinations can be successfully accomplished.

Complementary colors

By looking at the color wheel, we can see that Viva Magenta sits at the direct opposite of green. This combination is particularly pleasing to the eyes because it creates a complete harmony.

One can often find it in Nature: a pink flower with its green stem and leaves for example. It can also evoke holiday festivities: green Christmas trees and ruby red ribbons. Additionally, architects know how to take advantage of this complementary combination to please the viewers.

The example of Barragan’s Fuente de los Amantes in Mexico pops in my mind. Here is the video I took while visiting in 2022: the pink contrasts with the luscious greenery surrounding it.

From a jeweler’s perspective, a perfect pairing with a fuchsia pink gemstones like the ones mentioned above is found with vibrant green tsavorites, emeralds or tourmalines for example. It just so happens that Nature had already made such a combo in my favorite gemstones: the bicolor tourmalines also called watermelon tourmalines for obvious reasons.

Featured on this example are the bicolor tourmaline studs, the flower ring and the Mad Hatter necklace.

Analogous colors

Another type of harmonious combination consists in pairing a color with its direct neighbors in the color wheel or with tint (more white) or shade (more black) variations of the same hue. If you need some color theory refresher, there is a very clear and instructive post here.

Viva Magenta pairs very nicely with red, its primary color neighbor on the color wheel, and with purple, its secondary color neighbor. Purple happened to be Pantone color of the year 2022, Very Peri, it might not be a coincidence to see matches between these two as a soft transition from a year to the next. While Very Peri has a more relaxed vibe, Viva Magenta evokes excitement so one can see how well they balance each other out.

Matching analogous colored gemstones is probably the most recurring theme in my collections. I have both used the association of pink neighbors: purple amethyst and blue sapphire, but also variations in tints: starting with a red ruby and following with a fuchsia pink sapphire and a light pink sapphire.

Featured on the schema are the gradient rings both in gold and silver, the ombre gold ring, the pink crescent studs, the pink cluster gold necklace and the pink gemstones trio studs in gold.

Neutral Pairing

Sometimes one can agree with the popular saying “less is more” and simply let the color shine for itself by only pairing neutral tones that won’t throw any shade (pun intended) to our main color.

color combination: neutral pairing with viva magenta
color combination: neutral pairing with viva magenta

In jewelry it means either having only one enamel color or one type of gemstone with gold or silver. This is the case of the ruby beaded gold ring or of the fuchsia pink silver flamingo necklace. Another possibility is to pair the pink gemstone with a neutral one such as a white diamond, sapphire, moissanite, topaz etc. This is what I did in the pink tourmaline and white diamonds drop earrings in gold below.

According to the Pantone Institute, 2023 is all about “boldness and a feeling of fun”. I hope this article has inspired you to be playful and to incorporate some touches of the vibrant and optimistic Viva Magenta in your wardrobe! If you had any question about the pieces featured in this article feel free to get in touch with me here.

If you are feeling empowered and ready to have a custom Viva Magenta piece of jewelry custom made for you, please reach out and describe your dream project here:

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How to refine scrap gold jewelry

silver scrap jewelry refining

Do you have old pieces of gold jewelry sitting at home that are damaged or not your style to wear and you wonder if you could turn them into new pieces you like or even get cash for them?

Melting an old gold ring into a new one is not a straightforward process and is often very costly because of the amount of labor involved. If you are not sentimentally attached to that very piece of gold, getting the cash value from refining it is actually a much better option.


After having all gemstones removed by a setter, you bring your gold pieces to a refinery but what do they do with it? I brought my silver scraps to a precious metal refiner in NYC and followed the first steps of its purification and recycling.


I spend a lot of time at my bench: sawing and filing precious metal castings of my designs, cutting wire to make rings and polishing pieces to give them a smooth surface. All these processes create a lot of scraps and jewelry sweeps that should be collected and recycled to re-enter the circuit of metal processing. It is a win-win: you get cash from something otherwise wasteful and you contribute to lower the proportion of precious metal mining detrimental to the environment.


After collecting all my silver jewelry manufacturing byproducts, I brought them to a precious metal refinery in Diamond District, NYC. I was lucky enough to witness the transformation of my mixed bag of scraps into a solid fine silver ingot. Hereafter, I describe the different stages involved in the refining process.


First, all the silver scraps are weighed to determine how much bulk material we are starting with. Then they are placed inside a crucible. A crucible is a container that can withstand very high temperatures, it is usually made out of graphite or porcelain. That vessel is then placed inside an induction furnace that heats up to 1500 C (2732 F). For reference, Gold melts at 1064C (1948 F) and Silver at 962C (1763F).


Borax powder is then added to the melting mix for two reasons: first, it lowers the melting temperature of metals, enabling the refiner to use less energy to melt the scraps. Second, it helps to absorb impurities from the mix. It works by dissolving oxides and producing a fluid borate slag that is of lesser density and floats on the surface of the molten metal. Precious metals such as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Palladium and Rhodium are unaffected by this reaction and sink to the bottom of the mixture, intact. 


To verify that all elements of the mixture are molten, a rod made up of carbon-graphite or clay is regularly dipped and stirred inside the crucible. Once every impurity has effectively been dissolved, it is time to pour the mix into a mold. The refiner grabs the red hot crucible with long tongs and then pours the lava-like mix into a mold usually in the shape of a brick or a pyramid. 


The content of the mold is left to cool down for a few minutes, one can observe the shiny red metal becoming darker. Once the silver is entirely set at the bottom of the mold, it is taken out and submerged with cool water to harden it, this is called the quenching process. 


The resulting silver ingot is then hammered to further harden it and it is now ready to be weighed and tested by an X-ray fluorescence machine to determine its purity and thus its cash value. It will be further refined to be pure enough to re-enter the metal manufacturing chain and become a new piece of jewelry!

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Determine your ring size

how to easily determine your ring size at home

find your ring size

Shopping online for rings very often comes down to which ring size to order and mistakes in the choice result in unnecessary re-sizing and back and forth mailing charges.

While having a jeweler measure for you is the best option to get an accurate size, there are definitely simple ways to figure out which ring size to order for you or for that special someone you want to surprise. I listed below the 3 different situations you may find yourself in right now. Continue reading Determine your ring size

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The 3 qualities of gold plated jewelry

the quality of gold plating

gold plating

  1. What is Gold vermeil?

Gold vermeil is a denomination used to refer to silver coated with gold using the process of electroplating (described below). Gold vermeil can be made using gold of different fineness but in the U.S., the minimum required karatage is 10K (42% of pure gold)  and with a thickness of at least 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters). Continue reading The 3 qualities of gold plated jewelry

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3 things you should know about gold filled

gold filled wire

gold filled education

  1. What is Gold filled made up of?

Gold filled, also known as “rolled gold” or “gold overlay”  is made up of a layer of solid gold (see article about solid gold) bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal Continue reading 3 things you should know about gold filled

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3 things you should know about gold jewelry

gold jewelry

gold jewelry: pure gold, solid gold and colored gold


  1. What is PURE gold?

Gold was the first metal widely known by humans, it was discovered around 3000 BC by several human groups in very spread out locations and everyone who found it was impressed by its brilliance, color and durability. The term “gold” comes from the Old English “geolo” which means yellow. Continue reading 3 things you should know about gold jewelry

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Let’s get fancy!

fancy color diamonds

Seeing how much you loved my enameled dainty triangle rings, I thought of offering a more precious version including little diamonds. I first included small regular white diamonds and you know me, I’m all about colors so I was quickly drawn to color diamonds known as “fancy color diamonds”.

colorful triangle rings Continue reading Let’s get fancy!