Yes, you can put aquamarine in water. That being said, we don’t recommend that you soak it in water for any extended period of time.
This advice runs counter to much of what we have observed on the internet, who says that either you can put it in water as much as you like, or should never put it in water.
Let us explain.
Why Can Aquamarine Go In Water?
The physical properties of an individual specimen are important to understanding why it is safe to put a material in the water, or not.
What Do We Need To Know?
Initially, the most important things to know before placing your crystal, mineral, rock, or special specimen in water are: composition, hardness, solubility.
We want to know the composition of the crystal, so we can understand how the stone and its components will react to being placed in water.
We want to know the hardness of the stone to understand just how resilient it will be.
And we want to know the solubility of the stone, to understand if water will cause the stone to dissolve.
What Is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is a blue variety of beryl. Beryl is a beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate with a somewhat complicated chemical formula.
Emerald is a member of the same family of minerals.
Aquamarine gets its blue color from the presence of iron.
Aquamarine is a pretty hard stone, but brittle. It’s Moh’s hardness is in the 7-8 range (higher than quartz), but it is not terrible tenacious, and is likely to shatter when enough force is applied to it.
To our knowledge, it is not water soluble (like selenite).
What Do Aquamarine’s Characteristics Tell Us About Whether It Should Or Should Not Go In Water?
Due to the fact that aquamarine is fairly hard, and not water soluble, we don’t see any problems with washing aquamarine up in water, or even letting it soak in water briefly.
However, this is not to say that we recommend that you soak aquamarine in water baths for extended periods of time, or frequently get it wet.
Because we don’t recommend it.
However, due to the iron impurities in some or all specimens, this is not a stone that you want to allow to sit in water for extended periods of time, nor do you want to allow water to remain long in any cracks or crevices.
When stones that include iron (or other metals, for that matter) are allowed to rest in water, those metals tend to start to rust.
This can produce a yellowish color in cracks, or even in blotches on the stone. Sometimes if the rusting is allowed to go on, you’ll start to see reddish brown developing in the stone.
While aquamarine is pretty hard, it is not particularly durable.
Just about every stone in your collection has fissures and cracks it its surface that are too small for you to see.
When you place a stone in water, water molecules squeeze into those cracks.
If you have salt dissolved in the water, the water carries the salt into those cracks.
The water and salt molecules push around in those cracks, encouraging them to get wider, which then allows more water molecules to enter.
You probably won’t notice the fissures and cracks widening under your nose, but what you will notice is when you stone cracks or breaks apart almost inexplicably, or when a reasonable amount of force is applied to it (like bumping around in your pocket).
In the case of aquamarine, this is a stone that tends to act more like glass, even though it is resistant to being scratched by other materials.
This means that it could survive being rubbed against other materials, but might not survive a fall that stones of lesser hardness would.
If microscopic cracks were allowed to develop in an aquamarine stone, it is more likely to split apart than other stones of similar hardness.
Damage To The Finish
Another thing that tends to happen when you soak beautifully shiny, well finished crystals is that they come out of the water bath looking dull, or even as though they are now a different color.
There are a couple reasons for this.
First, many stones are buffed and polished with oils. Putting the stone in water for a long period of time (especially with salt) has the effect of stripping those oils away.
Second, some stones are finished with polishes that contain color in them. This is to convince you that a stone is perhaps more beautiful, or is a different kind of stone than it actually is.
When you put the stone in water, that polish can be stripped away from it, leaving you with something that looks completely different.
The water can interact and react with minerals in the stone that you don’t even know are there.
For example, you might not know that your stone has a lot of copper in it, yet you put it in water and create toxic fumes without realizing.
The stone might contain asbestos or mercury, which is the last thing you’d want to put in the bathtub or shower with you.
In the end, while it should be fine to use water to clean your aquamarine, it is best not to soak aquamarine (or any of your important crystals, minerals, or gems) for extended periods of time.
If you do have to get them wet to clean them, make sure to dry them out completely, and make sure the water does not sit in any cracks or corners of the stone.
This will help you avoid irreversible damage to your stones, and preserve both their beauty and value.