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aquamarine or blue topaz? How can you tell?

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needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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i bought a 37 carat aquamarine. The seller said she''d paid $1600. many years ago for it, resold it, and had her buyer return it, saying her own jeweler had said it was a pale blue topaz. So, I bought it for $600. (has 36 points of vs diamonds as well) as a topaz. The seller said she still didn''t know WHAT it was, but couldn''t ask me to pay aqua prices for a possible topaz. I gave it to MY jeweler, who called it a topaz because "you can''t get aquas at 37 carats that are free of inclusions, and yours is totally clean."
Is this true? You can''t get eye-clean, inclusion-free aquamarines at 37 carats?
I love it no matter what.
Thanks for any input.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/7/2009 11:00:31 PM
Author:needmorediamonds
i bought a 37 carat aquamarine. The seller said she''d paid $1600. many years ago for it, resold it, and had her buyer return it, saying her own jeweler had said it was a pale blue topaz. So, I bought it for $600. (has 36 points of vs diamonds as well) as a topaz. The seller said she still didn''t know WHAT it was, but couldn''t ask me to pay aqua prices for a possible topaz. I gave it to MY jeweler, who called it a topaz because ''you can''t get aquas at 37 carats that are free of inclusions, and yours is totally clean.''
Is this true? You can''t get eye-clean, inclusion-free aquamarines at 37 carats?
I love it no matter what.
Thanks for any input.
You can get very large aquamarines that are extremely clean in very large sizes, but the caveat is that they''ll be very lightly saturated, or almost white The thing about aqua isn''t so much size, as it is color, and the best color is a bright vivid blue which is free from as much grey secondary modifier as possible. A 3 carat top color aqua will be more valuable than a stone ten times the size, but is light. Most aqua has some grey in it, even some of the nicest material. A blue topaz will look more "electric" blue - and I don''t mean that in a good way. There''s something very artificial about the blue of a blue topaz, and it is also treated by irradiation to get that color.

If you have your suspicions, a gemologist would easily be able to tell the difference between a blue topaz and an aquamarine as well since they have different refractive indexes, and densities. Blue topaz isn''t the only blue stone that is sometimes passed off as aqua, for many years, synthetic blue spinel had this title. My MIL has a synthetic blue spinel in a ring (I could tell just by looking at it), but she thinks it''s an aqua. I would never tell her what I suspect, but as long as she''s happy with it, that''s what counts.

Do you have a picture of it you can post?
 

coatimundi_org

Ideal_Rock
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Actually--generally, the larger the aquamarine the deeper the color.

Best way to id aquamarine vs. topaz? RI.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/8/2009 12:48:16 AM
Author: coatimundi
Actually--generally, the larger the aquamarine the deeper the color.

Best way to id aquamarine vs. topaz? RI.
Yes, that''s true if both aquas have the same saturation of blue. I have a one carat aqua that is deeper in color than my 13 carat aqua. I actually covet that one carat aqua more than my 13 carat one because I really love the deeper blue colors.
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/7/2009 11:00:31 PM
Author:needmorediamonds

I gave it to MY jeweler, who called it a topaz because ''you can''t get aquas at 37 carats that are free of inclusions, and yours is totally clean.''
He obviously never saw THIS website, or any of many others. With aquas clarity generally doesen''t degrade with size, and they can be found clean in large sizes. Of course, 37 carats is rare by itself for an aqua (just like with many other gems), included or not, but to state it''s impossible for it to be aqua due to size and clarity combination just shows you how much your jeweller knows about gemstones. Aquas are generally known to be of much better clarity than probably 99% of stones, but I agree tests should be done to see what it really is.
 

FinewaterGems

Rough_Rock
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A simple but non-definitive method to check for topaz is to run your thumb or fingertip lightly across the table. Topaz will feel more "slippery" than quartz or other stones, which tend to feel "sticky". Obviously this will require a good-sized stone, but with a little practice it is quite accurate.
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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Date: 2/8/2009 3:33:21 AM
Author: ma re

Date: 2/7/2009 11:00:31 PM
Author:needmorediamonds

I gave it to MY jeweler, who called it a topaz because ''you can''t get aquas at 37 carats that are free of inclusions, and yours is totally clean.''
He obviously never saw THIS website, or any of many others. With aquas clarity generally doesen''t degrade with size, and they can be found clean in large sizes. Of course, 37 carats is rare by itself for an aqua (just like with many other gems), included or not, but to state it''s impossible for it to be aqua due to size and clarity combination just shows you how much your jeweller knows about gemstones. Aquas are generally known to be of much better clarity than probably 99% of stones, but I agree tests should be done to see what it really is.
Hi, everyone. Well, I am taking pics as we speak and then we can get a better feel.
I appreciate ALL your input! I actually heard that the larger the stone, the paler the color, so who knows what. But I can tell you that this is definitely a bit grey-ish, as opposed to green-blue.
As for included or not - I too had never heard anything about aquas being included, but quite the reverse, esp. given that it''s a beryl. Goshenite and heliodor are pretty clean, too, no? Anyway, watch this site - I WILL get those pics up here.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/8/2009 2:47:33 PM
Author: needmorediamonds
Hi, everyone. Well, I am taking pics as we speak and then we can get a better feel.
I appreciate ALL your input! I actually heard that the larger the stone, the paler the color, so who knows what. But I can tell you that this is definitely a bit grey-ish, as opposed to green-blue.
As for included or not - I too had never heard anything about aquas being included, but quite the reverse, esp. given that it''s a beryl. Goshenite and heliodor are pretty clean, too, no? Anyway, watch this site - I WILL get those pics up here.
A stone will always get deeper in tone as the size increases due to the fact that light has a longer path to travel through. Therefore, if it''s very light at 37 cts, then in a smaller size, it will appear almost colourless.
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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And last, hand, plain background, flash. The hue is poor, the color saturation even, the faceting poor. The diamonds are fabulous. So. Who''s got a theory? And yes, I know I need to go to good gemologist for real testing...Thanks, everyone!

polish hand.jpg
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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So, Coati, you say aqua. I admit - i too thought aqua, esp. because it looks, well, cold. That blue is...icy.
 

coatimundi_org

Ideal_Rock
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Yah, it''s light in tone and low in saturation--and just looks like an aqua. Very fun ring!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Well, obviously the only way to tell for sure is to take it to a gemologist, or jeweler who knows how to use a refractometer. However, to my eye, that looks like an aqua.

Nice ring - really makes a statement!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Can we get a side shot of the ring to see the gallery, similar to this pic of my aqua.

13carat_decoaqua3.jpg
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Wow, that''s a big stone. I would say it looks like an aqua to me too.
 

chrono

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My guess is an aqua too. I''d be interested to know the result of the RI just to check out our guess.
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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Date: 2/8/2009 9:04:35 PM
Author: tourmaline_lover
Can we get a side shot of the ring to see the gallery, similar to this pic of my aqua.
Let me ask my photographer, ie DH. My gallery isn''t open like yours is - the stone is banded on all sides, making it impossible to clean or dry properly. Let me work on those side photos.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
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looks like an aqua to me but i''m no expert. what it is though, it sure is pretty!!
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
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HERE is a photo showing all the available versions of irradiated blue topaz so judge for yourself does it look like any of those. Hint - it doesen''t to me
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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Thank you, all who have weighed in, and all who have complimented the ring! Aqua is my son''s birthstone, which is why I wanted one, and I have HUGE hands, so a big stone is necessary. Ok, it isn''t necessary, but it makes a good excuse to go ''over the top''!
My plan is to take the ring tomorrow to a really good, reputable jeweler in Campbell, CA (could be San Jose, I''m not sure which town he''s actually in) and get his take on it. I will keep you posted.
 

zeolite

Brilliant_Rock
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Indentifying a gem by eye alone is risky, and even more risky identifying by eye from a photograph. Using a refractometer is the preferred way.

But blue topaz usually has a secondary hue of green, and is often deeper in tone. Aquamarine usuually has a secondary hue of purple, often with a grey modifier, and can be extremely pale. I think it is an aquamarine.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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This is fun! Another vote that says Aquamarine! My gut feel is that it''s too cool a shade to be Topaz.

I''ll be interested to hear what your jeweller says!
 

needmorediamonds

Rough_Rock
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The plot thickens! It is NOT an aqua!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RI 1. - uh-oh. 1.86? What did he SAY?????????? Sorry...BUT - he said the RI rules out aqua, but planted it firmly in topaz - or TOURMALINE territory. Huh?
He kept it to do further work. He found tiny needle inclusions he wants to examine more closely.
I will keep you informed.
This is totally bizarre. But I trust them absolutely.
 

marcy

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Ooh, the plot does thicken...
 
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