Natural vs synthetic
According to the International Gem Society, a lab-created emerald still qualifies as a ‘real’ emerald, but not a natural one. Synthetic emeralds are some of the most valuable manmade gemstones, due to the time, energy and equipment needed to create them – but still not as valuable as naturally occurring emeralds.
Columbian emeralds are mined in Columbia (surprise!), and are renowned for their exceptional quality and deep, rich colour. Most of the world’s natural emeralds come from Columbia, followed by Zambia; experts say Zambian emeralds are generally cleaner and more saturated in colour than Columbian variety.
How to choose. Of the ‘four Cs’ that we’re told to keep in mind when choosing a diamond – colour, clarity, carat and cut – ‘colour’ is the most relevant to emeralds, say experts, and the most important to determining their value (along with carats). Bluish or pure deep green shades are the most popular but ultimately, if you’re choosing a stone for a piece of jewellery, you should pick a green that you like. People often choose lighter shades than they would’ve expected to like because they reflect more light, making them livelier and more brilliant than darker stones.
Potential downsides of an emerald ring
While there’s no question emeralds are a stunning and unique choice for your engagement ring, they do pose potential risk factors. As a particular brittle gemstone, they’re vulnerable to damage during everyday wear, as well as the cutting, polishing and setting process. Enter the emerald cut: the vulnerable corners in this style are faceted, providing a safer place for the setting’s prongs and helping protect against damage.
Emeralds were Cleopatra’s favourite gemstones, and were the top pick for several celebs before they walked down the aisle.
1. Halle Berry’s 4-carat ring, given to her by Olivier Martinez, was designed by French jeweller Robert Mazio and is worth an estimated $294,000 (AUD).
2. Olivia Wilde’s now-husband chose a brilliant-cut diamond surrounded by a halo of emeralds. "It went through Paris around 1921," Olivia told Lucky magazine of the vintage bling. "It's a bit of an aqua emerald, not a deep dark green. Jason said it reminded him of my eyes."
3. Former First Lady Jackie ‘O’ Kennedy was nothing if not a style icon, and her choice of engagement ring was everything we wanted it to be. Bought from Van Cleef & Arpels in New York, it featured a 2.84-carat emerald-cut emerald and a 2.88-carat emerald-cut diamond.
4. Victoria Beckham has no less than 14 engagement rings (hubby David just keeps on buying them, and that’s the kind of love we want!). One of her pieces is a cushion-cut emerald set on a diamond band that’s been estimated to be worth up to $1.3 million.
5. Zoe Saldana, who’s married to Marco Perego, chose a pear-shaped emerald, estimated to be 8- to 10-carats and thought to come from Columbia’s Muzo mine. It’s flanked by trillion-cut diamonds and smaller diamonds, set on a white gold band.
6. Heidi Klum’s now-husband Tom Kaultiz proposed to the model in January this year with an emerald-and-diamond piece that’s thought to be worth nearly $44,000.
7. Though the pair are no longer together, the ring Bradley Cooper gave Irina Shayk is still a beauty: an oval-cut emerald surrounded by a halo of diamonds on a gold band.
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8. Simple elegance
An emerald-cut emerald (available from 1.00 to 1.99 carats), set in platinum and paved with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Price: available on request.
9. Vintage style
A round 0.45-carat emerald with round brilliant diamonds (0.36-carats) set in platinum.
10. Celeb match
Reminiscent of Olivia Wilde’s antique ring, this handcrafted ring features a 1.22-carat old mind cut diamond surrounded by a halo of vibrant emeralds.
- Affordable style
A .10-carat emerald-cut ring set in yellow gold, flanked by diamonds.
- Mixed metals
13. Modern lines
Four natural emeralds are housed between 14-carat yellow gold bands, and accented by alternating diamonds (1-carat total weight) and diamond bands above and below.
14. For him
15. Sweet and simple
Choose from yellow, white or rose gold, and select the size and quality of your oval-cut emerald for this delicate promise ring.
16. Boldly romantic
A princess-cut, AAAA-grade natural emerald set in 18-carat white gold. This company focuses on Brazilian and Columbian emeralds, for their richness of colour and high brilliance.
17. Eternal love
Alternating emeralds and diamonds set in a channel design make a beautiful and eye-catching wedding or eternity band with a splash of colour.
18. Geometric glamour
Featuring a 2.13-carat emerald-cut emerald and 4 emerald-cut and tapered baguette diamonds (approximately 3.30-carat total weight), this modern and unique piece is set in platinum and 18k yellow gold.
Price: available on request
19. Royal inspiration
Recreate Princess Di’s timeless style, swapping out the original sapphire for a 2.08-carat emerald, encircled by diamonds, all set in a platinum band.
Price: $36,975 (approx)
20. Whimsical beauty
A truly unique minimalist 18kt-gold ring, featuring a round faceted Columbian emerald and scattered round brilliant-cut diamonds of varying sizes.