An Introduction to Emeralds

The word “emerald” is derived from the Ancient Greek word for “green gem.” Its brilliant color, which ranges from a bright green to a bluish one, comes from its nature as a unique variety of the mineral beryl.

Emeralds were discovered in South America in the 16th century, but their history dates back far longer. In fact, the oldest emeralds, located in South Africa, are nearly 3 billion years old, and the first known emerald mines in Egypt date back to 330 BC.

The most important aspect of emeralds is their color, which is defined by consistency, tone, and saturation. The most desirable emeralds are a pure, intense, and even green, or green with a bluish hint. They pair elegantly with many different kinds of metals, stones, and jewelry settings.

Traditionally, we know emeralds as the May birthstone and the gift for 55th wedding anniversaries. However, in recent years, more brides-to-be are choosing vibrantly colored stones for their engagement rings — and emeralds are one of their top choices.

An In-Depth Look at Emerald Gemstones

Among the four most popular gemstones (diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires), emeralds are the rarest — and often the most valuable. They naturally have visible inclusions, known as “jardin” (“garden” in French), which make them brittle and more susceptible to damage during the cutting, polishing, and setting process. An emerald without any such imperfections is likely synthetic.

Colombian emeralds are especially difficult to cut because of the way their color is distributed, often requiring extra care to bring out their intense hue. A well-done cut enhances the color’s richness. Highly skilled stone cutters, known as lapidaries, know how to cut emeralds strategically so that fractures do not appear at the stone’s surface or corners. They can even influence the stone’s color by changing the emerald’s number of facets and proportions.

Because of this, some cuts are better for enhancing the color of an emerald. For instance, a deep cut with a small table and fewer facets lets in less light, making the stone appear darker. A shallow cut with a large table and more facets, on the other hand, lets in more light so that the stone appears lighter.

Though popular among diamonds and other gemstones, the emerald cut is named after the stone it’s most frequently used for. The shape — a step cut with long, rectangular facets—suits emeralds in particular because of the structure of their crystals. The faceted corners protect the stone’s corners, preserving the emerald’s integrity.

At Kwiat, we often fashion emeralds as emerald, oval, pear, and cushion shapes, all of which make ideal center stones in engagement rings, pendants, and earrings.

Emerald Engagement Rings

For those drawn to color, emerald is a one-of-kind way to embellish your ring finger. It is said to be emblematic of truth and love — the perfect symbol for a long-lasting marriage.

These rings vary widely in appearance, sometimes featuring diamonds or smaller emeralds as side stones, in a halo, or in a pavé setting. But on their own, emerald engagement rings also look exquisite with a classic and minimal solitaire setting.

With countless options to choose from, Kwiat also offers custom ring designs according to your specifications. Each ring is uniquely crafted, with minimal metal, delicate prongs, and refined bezels that don’t detract from the emerald’s elegance. The result is a striking and distinctive masterpiece.

Celebrities with Emerald Engagement Rings

The ancient Egyptian ruler Cleopatra famously adored emeralds. In recent years, many modern celebrities have similarly embraced emerald engagement rings, proving that this gemstone can complement any look.

  • Among her collection of 14 engagement rings, Victoria Beckham’s cushion-cut emerald ring, flanked by a diamond band, is one of her most distinctive.
  • Halle Berry wears a stunning engagement ring with a 4-carat emerald and diamond side stones on a gold, engraved band.
  • Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was proposed to with a unique diamond and emerald ring that featured baguette diamonds around the stones. Kwiat’s toi et moi ring takes its cue from this style.
  • In one notable red carpet appearance, Zoe Saldana matched her dress with her engagement ring, which features a pear-shaped emerald surrounded by diamonds in a halo setting.
  • Olivia Wilde once wore a striking engagement ring with a round diamond surrounded by an emerald halo — said to bring out the color in her eyes. This one is similar.
  • Debra Messing joked that she proposed to herself when she designed her dream ring, which features a Colombian emerald.