What’s It Worth? The 411 On Aquamarine

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We recently purchased three extraordinary examples of midcentury modern aquamarine jewelry.

Aquamarine is actually beryl. (When beryl comes out of the ground green, it is emerald. When it comes out of the ground blue, it’s aquamarine.) It’s interesting to note as you see in the photos that aquamarine comes in a myriad of shades of blue, sometimes natural, sometimes heat treated. Another interesting fact is that while it appears to have a very high value, it is surprisingly low because the larger the stone, the less it costs per carat in the open marketplace, because the size is so showy.

The coin dealer sold us these three, of which two are encrusted with fine diamonds, for only $15,000 – even though they will likely appraise for $20,000- $30,000 each.

The oval piece (a.) is a pendant-pin combination with a pendant portion that cleverly hides when not in use. The approximately 80-carat stone is a very deep blue, dates from the 1960s and was likely heat treated. It is for sale in our stores for under $10,000.

The 1950s-era ring (b.) we are attributing to H. Stern, one of the biggest sellers of aquamarine in South America. It’s over 50 carats and accented with 1 carat of gemquality diamonds; it also is available in our stores for under $10,000.

Perhaps the most interesting is the 1940s Art Deco white and yellow gold adjustable pendant, (c.)approximately 35 carats. The mounting is uniquely adjustable (note profile view) so it can fit around the neck in many styles, and the stone has the classic bluegreen color so prized in aquamarine. It is priced at under $5,000.

While super-sized beauties such as these are quite rare in the marketplace, they are very inexpensive at the per-carat price because they are so large! This is an example where the retail value is misleading, because valuation per carat is usually based on small-sized stones.
Would you like to buy one of these gems? Have something to trade? We would love to make a deal.


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GIA, Gemological Institute of America Inc IWJG, International Watch and Jewelry Guild NAWCC, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Inc DDC, Diamond Dealers Club New York ISG Global Network