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. 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
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Tiffany & Co. Art Deco Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring
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Cartier Solitaire 1895 Emerald Ring
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Bario Neal Ray Solitaire Emerald-Cut Ring
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Martin Katz Columbian Emerald-Cut Emerald Ring
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Harry Winston Classic Winston Emerald-Cut Emerald Ring
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Leo Ingwer Emerald Art Deco Ring
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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
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Wwake Nestled Emeralds in Yellow Gold
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Kwiat Oval Emerald Ring With Pavé
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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.