Aquamarine is the second birthstone for March. Aquamarines is a colour variety of the mineral Beryl. Blue Beryl is called Aquamarine, green Beryl is called an emerald. Beryl often occurs as veins in other minerals. It is a very hard mineral and resists weathering. Only diamonds, sapphires and a few other gemstones are harder than Beryl and this has earned aquamarines the nickname of "poor man's diamond. Ancient Romans gave this mineral it's name. Aquamarine is derived from "aqua" meaning water and "mare" meaning sea. This is because the stone looks like seawater. It was believed that the origins of aquamarine were the jeweled trunks belonging to the sirens. The stones were said to have been washed up on the shores from the depths of the sea. Because of these origins, aquamarines were said to be sacred to Neptune, the god of the sea. Because of aquamarines' association with the sea, the stones became popular with sailors. It was believed that carrying an aquamarine stone with one to sea would bring prosperous and safe journeys, protecting the sailor from seamonstors and other perils. Greeks were known to have carried aquamarine amulets with them to sea as early as 500 B.C. Sometimes the god Posseidon was engraved on the stone. The Romans believed that aquamarine would heal ailments of the digestive system as well as the mouth and throat. During the middle ages, aquamarine was used as an antidote against poison. In additional to its medicinal powers, it was strongly held that aquamarine was used by fortune tellers to read the future. There were also some practical uses for this beautiful gem. When eyeglasses first began being produced in Germany, it was a thin sliver of aquamarine used as a lens to correct shortsightedness. So widely was this stone used that the German word for eyeglasses is "brille" which is derived from the word beryl! Aquamarine can range in colour from deep blue to a greenish-blue. Commercial sources of this gem are in Brazil, Columbia and Russia. In the US, aquamarine can be found in North Carolina and Maine.