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March has two birthstones – aquamarine and bloodstone.
Aquamarines vary in color from deep blue to blue-green of different intensities, caused by traces of iron in the beryl crystal. Naturally occurring deep blue stones are the most prized because they are rare and expensive. However, yellow beryl stones can be heated to change them to blue aquamarines.
Beginning in the Roman period, the aquamarine was believed to possess medicinal and healing powers, curing ailments of the stomach, liver, jaws, and throat. During the Middle Ages, it was believed to be an effective antidote against poison. Aquamarines were thought to be the source of power for soothsayers, who called it the “magic mirror,” and used it for telling fortunes and answering questions about the future. It is said that Emperor Nero used it as an eyeglass 2,000 years ago. Much later, aquamarines were used as glasses in Germany to correct shortsightedness. In fact, the German name for eyeglasses today is “brille,” derived from the mineral beryl.