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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.
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.
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. "While oiling does not devalue the gemstone, disclosure of oiling and the degree is important when sourcing an emerald."
- 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. "Green emeralds are not typically accompanied by a certificate but can be certified if you have concerns."
How to Care for an Emerald Engagement Ring
Although emeralds are safe for daily wear, they are softer than most gemstones and require more care. Since emeralds are often treated with oil, it's best to avoid exposing your emerald to extreme and potentially damaging heat. As for cleaning your engagement ring, Lee notes that using gentle soap and warm water is the safest way to clean emerald jewelry.
Set on getting a gorgeous green gemstone ring? Check out our edit of emerald engagement rings for every style and budget.