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Emerald Engagement Rings Have us Green with Envy

By Stephanie Dore

Is green the new black?

Maybe you came here looking for emerald cut engagement rings, and that’s fine. We have plenty to say (keep scrolling). But what we really want to talk about first is, you know, actual emeralds. That gorgeous green precious gemstone known as “jewel of kings” and a favorite of Egyptian ruler Cleopatra (supposedly she even had her own emerald mines, y’all, where can I get one?). For some, an emerald engagement ring may be unsuitable for everyday wear. Yes, they are softer than diamonds (we’ll explain), but you can wear an emerald as an engagement ring, for sure. You just have to know what you’re getting into. So if you’re like many gem geeks around the globe who’ve been lured into loving this exotic green gem, heads up—we’re about to unlock its mystique.

Green Goddess

Emeralds have fascinated folks the word over since antiquity. There’s just something about their lush, velvety hue that’s hard to look away from. It’s also the birthstone of May and the gemstone associated with both the 20th and 30th wedding anniversary. While natural emeralds can be found in many places, the most famous (and the most beautiful) tend to come out of modern-day Colombia. In fact, Colombian emeralds are really the standard by which all other emeralds are measured, they’re so rad.

Halle Berry’s emerald is set in a secure yellow gold bezel and adorned with round diamonds.
We’re not NOT obsessed.
Photo courtesy of Marie Claire Australia

Celebrities Wearing Emeralds

Maybe it’s because the green contrasts so nicely with red carpets, but celebs are definitely rocking their share of emerald jewelry. Artsy, edgy names like Zoe Kravitz and Angelina Jolie have been known to wear huge emerald earrings. And redheads like Julianne Moore, Debra Messing, and Julia Roberts own the look. But there are even a few celebs rocking emerald engagement rings too! Victoria Beckham has her emerald cushion set in a wrapped, pavé filled diamond band (scroll back up for that gorge close-up), Halle Berry has a square cut emerald engagement ring, and Olivia Wilde rocked a diamond ring with a delicate emerald halo. Even Jackie O’s engagement ring paired a diamond and emerald! And you can’t argue with Jackie O.

Green Thumbs Not Required

The other thing to note about emeralds is that they’re expected to have eye-visible inclusions. An eye-clean emerald is super rare and suuuuuuuper expensive. Inclusions in emeralds are so common (and really, so cool) that they even have their own name, “jardin”. Yep. Like a garden. And if you put one under a microscope, you can check out their unique “underwater garden-like” appearance. What you’ll want to watch out for, though, are any surface-reaching inclusions that could potentially be a weak point in your stone. Working with a reputable gemologist is the best idea here, to make sure you’re getting something that’s safe to walk around with.

Looking for a stone that is uniquely you? Let our expert gem hunters find your perfect natural emerald.
Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar
Emeralds out of reach? Opt for a
lab created emerald or lab grown
green diamond

The Price You Pay

Good quality emeralds can be more expensive than diamonds because of their rarity. Pick your jaws up off the floor, my dears. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a beautiful and affordable stone. Color is the most important thing to look for—the best is in the bluish-green to pure green range. Look for vivid, transparent (not cloudy) color, with no visible color zoning (like, stripes of color). And then find a well-cut stone that really shows off that color. Too deep and the color might look dark. Too shallow and it’ll look pale. Just remember emeralds won’t be brilliant like diamonds. However, well-cut emeralds with symmetrical facets and flashes of bright green light are very possible. Also, lab grown emeralds are readily available at much more affordable prices, with fewer inclusions. So don’t rule them out if you’re on a tight budget, but don’t want to compromise on an emerald engagement ring of your dreams.

The Shape of Greens

Now, in case it’s not obvious, the term “emerald cut” does, in fact, come from how emerald gemstones were cut. The long, rectangular faceting pattern lends itself naturally to the elongated hexagonal crystal of the emerald gemstone, while the cut corners of this shape help protect the gemstones from chipping (again, back to that softness). Thus, you will find A LOT of emerald engagement rings in emerald cuts. You’ll also find a lot of diamonds cut this way, as it was one of the earliest diamond shapes available as well. Unlike a brilliant cut diamond, which has facets radiating out from its center, the emerald cut is a step-cut stone and has a sophisticated, subtle fire and flash that’s become a fave of, well, all your faves. 

Emeralds and their step-cut diamond counterpart? A match made in heaven.
Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

Soft Shock

Let’s get the big question out of the way. Diamonds are the hardest gemstone. They measure a 10 (out of 10) on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, which characterizes a stone’s scratch resistance against other materials. Sapphires and rubies (both corundum) are a Mohs 9. Emeralds are only a 7.5-8. And in all honesty, this is about as low as we’d recommend going on the scale for something you plan to wear every day. Why? Because the softer the stone, the more likely it is to get scratched by things that are harder than it.

Put a Ring on It

One of our favorite ways to wear both emeralds and emerald-cut diamonds is in a three-stone engagement ring setting. Emeralds look great with diamond sidekicks, and the emerald cut looks 100 with some as well. Our jewelers also love to collaborate and would love to help you dream up an emerald engagement ring that’s completely your own. Take our style quiz to get started on your own design and get a free sketch, or reach out at hello@frankdarling.com and we’ll get to work!