Are Emeralds Too Soft For Engagement Rings? | The Diamond Reserve

Are Emeralds Too Soft For Engagement Rings?

Emeralds are commonly referred to as a “soft” gem, which implies that they scratch easily and are difficult to maintain. The problem with this notion is that emeralds are actually extremely hard and quite scratch-resistant. While they aren’t as indestructible as diamonds, and may need a little extra care and attention, emeralds are actually a very wearable gemstone and can be a great choice for an engagement ring. 

Are Emeralds Good for Engagement Rings? 

Emeralds can be stunning choices for engagement rings due to their unique beauty and captivating green color. While they are softer compared to other popular gemstones, they can still be used in engagement rings if certain precautions are taken. On the Mohs Hardness Scale, the universally accepted scale for the toughness of a gemstone, emeralds rank around an 8. While diamonds sit alone at 10 on the scale, the only other gemstones that beat emeralds are sapphires, rubies and corundum. Emeralds are about equal to “hardened steel” as well as other gems including topaz, aquamarine, and beryl.

Toughness is the area where emeralds come up a little short relative to other gemstones. Emeralds are brittle due to their inclusions. Jewelers call these special inclusions its “jardin” (or its garden). Emerald jardin is normal, however it’s important to understand that some of these inclusions may reach the surface which makes the stone vulnerable to chipping. When choosing an emerald, be sure to look for a stone with no (or only minor) surface-reaching inclusions, and if you’re planning on making it your primary stone, it’s wise to use a protective setting, such as a bezel or halo. 

While gaining in popularity, emerald engagement rings are a less common choice which would make your ring more unique than a traditional diamond one. Emeralds can be found in a variety of shapes, just like diamonds, the most common being an emerald cut, devised to celebrate its vivid green tones and high clarity. While green emeralds will pop beautifully with any metal, yellow gold is a particularly striking match. Emeralds emit a softer glow than other gemstones, so you may choose to add some detailing to your ring to boost its sparkle; add a diamond halo or choose a three stone ring and flank your emerald with a diamond on either side.

Are There Any Downsides to an Emerald Engagement Ring?

Due to their naturally occurring inclusions which is what makes them brittle and prone to possibly chipping or cracking, most emeralds are treated with an oil-filler for clarity, which means that they can never go into a jewelry cleaning machine of any type. These machines might damage the emerald in addition to removing the oil-filler, and any jewelry cleaning solution you use should be checked to be safe for emeralds. Warm, soapy water and a toothbrush will likely be all you need to care for your ring. While they require some oiling, and special attention, an emerald ring that’s well taken care of will stand out beautifully.

High quality emeralds are actually more rare and come with a higher price tag than diamonds as the conditions for creating an emerald are a bit more specific. Emeralds require hydrothermal veins with the right atmosphere to cause crystallization, unlike diamonds which mostly require carbon, heat and pressure. However, since emeralds have a lower density, a one-carat emerald will actually appear larger than a one-carat diamond. As mentioned before, you’ll also want to choose an emerald that has as few surface-reaching inclusions as possible. 

While emeralds may not be as durable as some other gemstones, their beauty and uniqueness can make them a wonderful choice for an engagement ring, especially if the wearer is mindful of their care and doesn’t mind providing a bit of extra attention to maintain the stone’s brilliance over time. Protective settings and regular maintenance by a professional jeweler can also help mitigate some of the risks associated with wearing an emerald engagement ring daily.

If you’re looking for a custom engagement ring, book an appointment and learn more about our custom jewelry design process. You can also call us at (720) 560-3548 with any questions. We look forward to helping you design the perfect ring!