If you’ve got a thing for the color blue and if you’re a gemstone lover, the chances are high that you’ve got either a blue topaz or an aquamarine gemstone in your jewelry collection. Both of these stunning stones are remembered for their pastel, dreamy blue hues, not to mention their incredible metaphysical properties. Additionally, there are other various blue stones that offer an affordable option, including lab created sapphires and Nexus Color Stones.
Generally speaking, naturally occurring blue topaz is a rare find. Most blue topaz stones are produced by heat treating and irradiating gray, pale yellow, or colorless topaz stones.
Aquamarine stones are also heat-treated at times to remove the green tint and obtain that quintessential blue hue that they are famous for.
Are Blue Topaz and Aquamarine the Same?
Although pretty similar in appearance, blue topaz and aquamarine are actually very different. While blue topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine, aquamarine belongs to the beryl family, a mineral made of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate.
Here’s what else you need to know when it comes to blue topaz vs aquamarine gems:
Sources: Blue topaz stones are sourced from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Australia, China, Madagascar, Ireland, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Mexico, Scotland and the United States.
Meanwhile, aquamarines come from places like Brazil, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Madagascar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Russia.
Color: A topaz stone’s color varies based on the iron and chromium levels it has. Although a natural blue topaz gem is extremely rare, its color is pretty light.
An aquamarine gem, on the other hand, has a distinctive color that varies across the blue-green spectrum. Most aquamarines are light blue and the ones with a true, rich, blue-green shade are scarce.
Refraction Property: A gemstone’s angle of refraction impacts its refractive index (RI). And those gems that have a high RI carry more brilliance than gems with a low RI.
While the blue topaz comes with strong refraction, an aquamarine is less refractive. The refraction property of these stones also helps in telling them apart. Also, if you spot double refraction lines in your blue gemstone jewelry, it’s blue topaz.
Hardness & Durability: A gemstone’s hardness plays a crucial role in determining its resistance to scratches and abrasions. With a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, the blue topaz outranks aquamarine, which tips the scale at 7.5-8.
That said, aquamarine is a highly durable gemstone, yet susceptible to cracking if handled roughly. Blue topaz has a perfect basal cleavage, making it prone to chip and fracture when impacted.
Blue topaz makes a much affordable option than an aquamarine gem, due to its availability. Pure aquamarine, a rarer gemstone, comes with a heftier price tag—just like its sibling, the emerald, from the same beryl family of minerals.
Heaviness: Another important consideration in the debate of an aquamarine stone vs blue topaz is that a blue topaz gemstone feels much heavier than an equally sized aquamarine stone. This means that a blue topaz will be smaller than an aquamarine of the same weight.
Effects of Sun Exposure
While the color of a blue topaz doesn’t fade under the sun, an aquamarine’s stunning color may fade if it’s exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. That’s one reason why you should try to avoid direct sunlight while wearing an aquamarine, making it more high maintenance than blue topaz.
How Can You Tell If an Aquamarine Stone Is Real?
Unfortunately for the buyers and fortunately for some fraudulent sellers, it’s difficult for the naked eye to differentiate between blue topaz vs aquamarine—thanks to their striking similarities in appearance.
So, what are you to do when buying an aquamarine? Be extra careful to avoid being duped when browsing blue gems! You definitely don’t want to spend on a blue topaz the same amount required to buy an aquamarine, as the pricing differences are quite significant.
One of the best ways to tell if an aquamarine stone is real is to look at its color. A natural and pure aquamarine stone will have a pale blue color, like the sea.
Sometimes, a natural aquamarine gem may highlight a slightly green or yellow hue as well. The color of a real aquamarine gemstone also alters based on the light and angle.
The blue stone may look pale from one angle and deep blue from another. Glass or blue topaz, on the other hand, will have no effect on color, irrespective of the angle it’s viewed from.
Some other points to note is that a natural aquamarine blue stone carries excellent clarity and transparency. It’s cool to touch, unlike glass, which is slightly warmer to touch. Also, if you find bubbles on the gemstone, it’s highly likely to be glass instead of a real aquamarine.
Aquamarine Stone vs Blue Topaz—Which Should You Choose?
Hands down, nothing can beat a natural aquamarine—except perhaps a blue sapphire—in giving you the value for money you deserve from a blue gemstone. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, then a blue topaz makes a stunning alternative.
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions – it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.