- What they symbolise
- Timeless designs
- What to remember
What they symbolise
“Nothing greens greener.” This is how Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder chose to describe emeralds in his encyclopedia, Natural History, written in the first century AD. He was right: the intense green of emeralds is rarely matched, and it’s what has made the stone widely popular throughout the centuries.
Emeralds possess strong symbolic power, as they are thought to bring the wearer peace, hope and the prospect of renewal. For millennia, members of the elite have worn emeralds to achieve greater wisdom and protect themselves from disease. It is said Cleopatra was particularly fond of this precious gem as a royal adornment.
Emeralds are the birthstone for May and are given to celebrate 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
Many famous creations feature emeralds of exquisite quality and finish, but perhaps the most sublime example of early jewellery design is the 16th-century Crown of the Andes. It features 450 emeralds, including an impressive 24-carat pure green gem that is said to have belonged to the last Inca emperor.
Among more recent examples, we find Elizabeth Taylor’s famous Bulgari jewellery collection, which features a 7.4-carat emerald ring, matched with a superb necklace and earrings set with Colombian emeralds and diamonds.
What to remember
Cost and caratThe final price of your emerald will be determined by many factors, including color, carat, clarity, cut, treatment and origin. A right combination of these will ensure your gem’s long-term value remains steady and perhaps even increases over time.
Large emeralds are extremely rare, and so carat weight exponentially increases the value of your gem The price of a 10-carat emerald is usually 50 times that of a one-carat stone.
Color intensityThe color of an emerald is by far the most important aspect to consider when making a purchase, as this will have a significant impact on the stone’s value.
Unlike diamonds, there is no internationally accepted color grading system for emeralds. 77 Diamonds have adopted the ICL’s five levels of color intensity that range from Deep to Light. The most sought after color intensity is Vivid, as it holds the finest combination of tone and saturation.
We also classify emeralds in three different shades: pure, bluish and yellowish green. The intense saturation of pure green emeralds make them significantly more expensive. If your emerald has strong yellow or blue overtones, this will affect long-term value.
ClarityThe interior inclusions of emeralds are known as the ‘jardin’ (‘garden’ in French). Inclusions are greatly appreciated, as they enhance the beauty of an emerald by diffusing color throughout the stone. There are three levels of clarity:
- “Eye Clean” (EC1 – EC2) indicates that inclusions are invisible to the unaided eye. Eye clean emeralds will be more valuable due to their scarcity.
- “Visible inclusions” (VI1 – VI2) indicates that inclusions are only slightly visible to the unaided eye.
- “Included” (I1 – I2) indicates that inclusions are obvious to the unaided eye.