Those that believe ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ must surely have overlooked the exquisite emerald.
This gorgeous, green gemstone is considered by many to possess positive mythical, physical and psychological properties. Like its carbon companion, it is defined by characteristics such as clarity, cut, colour and carat, and costs range from $50 to more than $15,000. Emeralds originate in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Brazil but most commonly hail from Colombia. In fact, some reports claim this South American nation produces up to an impressive 95% of the world’s supply. One of the world’s largest emeralds originates from Colombia and is currently located in America’s National Museum of Natural History. Named the Gachalá Emerald, this 1967 discovery boasts 858 carats and is a mighty 171.6 grams.
The finest emeralds are recognised by their striking green colour, achieved with chromium, or occasionally vanadium. Transparency is a highly sought after trait, while hue, tone and saturation are also important features. Fabulously fashionable, yet fairly fragile, the eye-catching emerald is frequently refined into square or oval cuts. Referred to as one of ‘the big four’ along with the diamond, ruby and sapphire, emeralds have certainly earned this reputation.
The most meaningful of the 4 c’s as far as emeralds are concerned is colour. Immediately identifiable by its vibrant green, consider the colour elements of hue, saturation and tone when choosing an emerald. Colombian emeralds tend to have a bluish green hue, while emeralds hailing from other locations can tend towards yellow. The tone of an emerald varies from light to dark, while saturation gives the stone its intensity and strength and ranges from dull to vivid (the more vivid, the more sparkly). The darker tonal and higher saturation grades usually mean a higher price, but that’s not to say that a lighter toned and highly vivid emerald is any less beautiful to the eye. There is no universal clarity grading scale for emeralds, and inclusions (imperfections) can be expected in almost all natural emeralds – those that look like branches or roots are referred to as ‘jardin’ - due to liquids, gas, and other minerals like chromium and vanadium being present at the emerald’s formation.
In addition to its astounding appearance, sources suggest there is evidence demonstrating the significant therapeutic benefits of the stunning emerald stone. These include increased confidence and concentration, as well as improved coping ability in times of emotional distress. Regarded as the beautiful birthstone for those born in May, emeralds astrologically represent both Taurus and Gemini. With such spiritual properties, these gemstones make the perfect gift for that special someone, with sales having soared in recent times.
Enriched with an ever-lasting beauty and enlightening energy, it isn’t unexpected that the emerald continues to challenge the diamond in popularity. Embrace its beauty with these timeless collections.
The high jewelllery pieces that have us shimmering in green
Photo: cortesy of Chopard; Fabrice Dall'Anesse