Though emeralds are classically green, they actually range in color from yellow-green to blue-green. An Emerald’s color is based on three aspects: its hue (color), saturation (intensity) and tone (purity). Let’s learn more about this highly precious gemstone of the Beryl mineral family and whether it’s a good choice for an engagement ring stone.
What Color is Emerald?
Emeralds are defined as the green variety of the mineral beryl containing chromium or vanadium. Green beryls without chromium or vanadium are simply “green beryl” and usually have very light colors whereas medium to dark emeralds receive the prestigious title of emerald. The human eye can see more shades of green than any other color and it’s the most important characteristic of this beautiful gem.
Hue, tone and saturation are the elements that make up the color of a gemstone. Hue is the gradation of the color, meaning the particular tint/shade of green an emerald has. Tone is the degree of absorption of light by the stone which determines the intensity of the color, and saturation is how vivid the dominant color is in the stone. Green is the most difficult color to capture, especially bright, vivacious greens like emeralds, so photos will never completely convey their true beauty.
The imperfections in an emerald are described as le jardín, which is French for “the garden,” and are admired, as an emerald’s jardín tells a story that took place over millions of years in creating this rare gemstone. While these natural fractures and inclusions are part of the stones beauty and charm, it’s also what makes these stones a little more delicate in jewelry form.
Is Emerald Good for an Engagement Ring?
Emeralds are 7.5-8 on Mohs hardness scale, which makes them fairly scratch resistant and durable enough for everyday wear. Inclusions are a part of an emerald’s natural beauty but also makes them more vulnerable to chipping. Particularly if you have an emerald with an inclusion that reaches the surface, you’ll want to use a protective setting like a bezel or halo. Emeralds can crack or chip, but so can diamonds so you’ll want to consider the stone, setting and lifestyle when designing your ring.
The characteristics of emerald crystals make them difficult to cut, and due partly to those inherent fractures, emeralds are more brittle than a gem like corundum making them vulnerable to damage during cutting, polishing, and setting. It’s important to work with a skilled jeweler to find the right cut and setting for this stone, especially if it’ll be worn daily in an engagement ring. While an emerald cut is a popular choice, this stone is stunning in many shapes including ovals and pears.
Emeralds do not show rainbow sparkles like diamonds because their refractive index is lower, however emeralds will reflect green flashes, which make them appear brighter and glowing. To make an emerald’s jardin less noticeable and its green more vivid, most emeralds are oiled after they are faceted. This is a normal treatment that should still be disclosed by your jeweler. Emerald engagement rings are a favorite of many celebrities including Halle Berry’s engagement ring which showcases an emerald cut as did Jacqueline Kennedy’s, Victoria Beckham has a cushion cut, and Olivia Wilde’s has a unique Art Deco halo.
If you’re considering an emerald engagement ring give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment where we can answer all of your questions and help you design the ring of your dreams.