Colored gemstone engagement rings have steadily become more popular among brides-to-be, not only for their vibrant colors but also their unique flair. One of our favorites? Emeralds. An emerald's deep-green hue makes it instantly eye-catching, and, just like glimmering diamonds, options are limitless when it comes to settings, cuts, and style. Hues range from bright green to bluish-green, and it pairs beautifully with different types of metals, stones, and settings.
What Is an Emerald?
Emerald is a richly green gemstone belonging to the beryl family of minerals. They are rare and beautiful and serve as the May birthstone.
Whether your tastes are bold and statement-making or subtle and simple, emerald engagement rings come in a wide range of styles to suit all aesthetics and budgets. We talked to jewelry designer Grace Lee about what to look for in an engagement ring and how to care for this colorful gemstone.
Ahead, learn the pros and cons of an emerald engagement ring, why the cut is so important, and why a lower-carat emerald is a great option.
Pros and Cons of Emerald Engagement Rings
If you do spring for an emerald solitaire or center stone, be aware: Emeralds are softer than other stones, making them more fragile to cut. "Green emeralds rate 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness compared to a diamond’s hardness of 10," explains Grace Lee. "While softer than diamonds, emeralds can still be cut and polished into a variety of beautiful shapes by expert cutters and are safe for daily wear."
High-quality emeralds are rarer than diamonds and, therefore, tend to come with a higher price tag. However, since emeralds have a lower density, a one-carat emerald will actually appear larger than a one-carat diamond.
Emeralds are bright, beautiful, and highly versatile, and they look stunning as center or side stones.
What to Look for in an Emerald Engagement Ring
Thinking green for your engagement ring? Here are a few questions and answers you should know before you look for the perfect stone.
- How important is the color of the emerald? "I tell clients that color is the most important factor when it comes to green emeralds," says Lee. The consistency of coloring, the tone, and saturation of the green are all factors that can help determine the quality of the emerald.
- What should I know about emerald clarity? Most natural emeralds have inclusions (small imperfections known as "jardin," which means garden in French) and fractures or fissures that present as tiny lines within the emerald. These tiny lines don't necessarily detract from the look of the gemstone and can actually add to its overall beauty. Lee notes that an emerald can be cut strategically to ensure the fissures do not come up to the surface and/or corners of the emerald.
- Why are emeralds sometimes treated with oil? "Oil is commonly used on emeralds to fill in fractures and enhance their clarity," explains Lee. Though oiling is common with these gemstones, it can have an impact on any given stone's price; emeralds that have not been treated with oil are the rarest and therefore more highly priced. Medium and significantly oiled emeralds would be priced much lower. The appearance of heavily oiled emeralds could change overtime, and are therefore on the lower end of the price range.
- Where should I source my emerald from? "As with all precious gems, I recommend sourcing from a reputable and trusted jeweler or dealer," says Lee. "[Smaller] green emeralds (below a half carat) are not typically accompanied by a certificate but can be certified if you have concerns." Good quality emeralds, especially in larger carat sizes, are generally certified by GRS, Gubellin, and SSEF. If you have any concerns about the quality of an emerald you're considering, it's perfectly acceptable to request a certification from one of these labs.
How to Care for an Emerald Engagement Ring
Although emeralds are safe for daily wear, they are softer than most gemstones and require thoughtful care. Since emeralds are often treated with oil, it's best to avoid exposing your stone to extreme and potentially damaging heat. As for cleaning your engagement ring, Lee notes that gentle soap and warm water, as you would use on most other pieces, is perfectly fine for emerald jewelry. It's important to not overdo it, though; because most emeralds are oiled to some degree, it's best to clean them only as often as necessary. You can also gently massage natural unscented baby oil into your stone from time to time.
And, when in doubt, always feel free to bring your emerald engagement ring back to your jeweler for a professional cleaning.
Grace Lee Emerald Signet Ring
This emerald baguette ring crafted from 14K gold is an utterly stunning choice for the bride-to-be who appreciates a timeless design.
Tiffany & Co. Art Deco Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring
If you have a penchant for vintage jewelry, then you'll love this art deco ring from Tiffany & Co. circa 1920. This impressive piece boasts an enchanting emerald flanked by a pair of old European-cut diamonds.
Cartier Solitaire 1895 Emerald Ring
A gorgeous mix of vibrant green and dazzling platinum, this ring strikes the perfect balance between classic and glamorous. Set with an emerald-cut emerald and brilliant-cut pavé diamonds, this piece is sure to never go out of style.
Bario Neal Ray Solitaire Emerald-Cut Ring
For the minimalist bride-to-be, this simple yet stunning engagement ring should suit your pared-back aesthetic. Opt to pair it with the matching wedding band for the complete look.
Mark Broumand Emerald and Diamond Ring
If you're looking for a little sparkle, this stunner featuring a halo of shimmering diamonds will not disappoint. Pair yours with a diamond band for added glitz and glamour.
Chroma by Greenwich St. Jewelers Cleo Brazilian Emerald Ring
In brilliant green, this emerald ring feels at once modern and timeless. Its polished 18k gold setting lets the stone speak for itself.
Martin Katz Columbian Emerald-Cut Emerald Ring
If you're anything like us, you won't be able to stop staring at this insanely exquisite ring from Martin Katz. This 5.92ct emerald-cut emerald will make for a jaw-dropping proposal.
Harry Winston Classic Winston Emerald-Cut Emerald Ring
It doesn't get more classic than an emerald-cut emerald. A mix of platinum and 18K yellow gold sets this gemstone engagement ring apart. Pair yours with a gold or silver wedding band.
Leo Ingwer Emerald Art Deco Ring
This exquisite emerald piece is a beautiful example of a vintage-inspired engagement ring. In 18K yellow gold and accented with straight baguette diamonds, it has art deco written all over it.
Allurez Pear-Shaped Emerald and Floral Diamond Halo
What could be more beautiful than an emerald showcased in a floral diamond halo? This style feels as fresh and feminine as a garden wedding set in the English countryside.
Yoshinobu Kataoka Inishmore Emerald Ring in Gold
Understand yet exquisite, this engagement ring is perfect for the bride-to-be who appreciates simplicity. Its dainty band is elegant and really makes the center stone pop.
Wwake Nestled Emeralds in Yellow Gold
Why have only one emerald when you could have two? This ring with nestled emeralds isn't something you see every day and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
Kwiat Oval Emerald Ring With Pavé
If you're not one to shy away from sparkly bling, give them glitz and glamour with this oval-cut emerald engagement ring surrounded by dazzling diamonds.
Kotlar Collection Harmonie Emerald Ring
Vibrant and showstopping, this Harry Kotlar design is crafted with a breathtaking asscher-cut emerald mounted between two diamonds and a band featuring a double row of diamonette-infused pavé.
Danhov Tubetto Diamond Shank Emerald Ring
A deep-green stone and diamond halo make this ring feel instantly classic. This style is offered in 14K and 18K white gold as well as platinum.
Fred Leighton Edwardian Emerald and Diamond Navette Ring
Brides-to-be who are drawn to all things vintage will appreciate this circa 1900 Edwardian emerald ring. An emerald-cut emerald is set to the center of a navette shape cluster for a truly striking piece.
Azlee Emerald and Baguette Diamond Ring
This beautiful piece of emerald jewelry will look stunning on your ring finger and can be engraved for an extra-special touch. Wear yours stacked or solo.
Grace Lee Crown Bezel Emerald Ring
For a delicate and elegant emerald engagement ring that you'll love and cherish for years to come, you can't go wrong with this rose-cut emerald set in a 14K gold crown bezel.
Olsen K Sparkle 18K Yellow Gold Emerald Diamond Ring
Channel royalty with this sparkler shaped like a crown. Cast from recycled 18k yellow gold and set with an emerald stone and white diamonds, this ring is more than fit for a queen.
Meet the Expert
Grace Lee is a fine jewelry designer who launched her eponymous collection in 2008. All of her pieces are meticulously produced in Los Angeles.