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The History of Emerald Engagement Rings

Feb. 11 2014
Emerald engagement rings have been prized and coveted for centuries. Even today, the emerald engagement ring continues to grow in popularity.

I think it is fairly ironic that emerald engagement rings are deemed an ‘alternative’ ring choice these days. They have actually been the favourite gem of kings, queens, emperors and now celebrities, since ancient times.

L suggested that perhaps this misguided opinion of these stunningly beautiful deep green jewels is purely due to society’s more recent excitement over the diamond ring. I think she is probably right, but I also think that all that might be about to change.

heart of stones by Iqbal Osman, used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

This beautiful heart-shaped emerald expresses more than a mere appreciation for all things sparkly

The emerald engagement ring has so many merits that it is impossible to list them all. Just as dazzling as their numerous diamond counterparts, these gems come with the added perk of – much like sapphires or rubies – having deeply-ingrained historic and symbolic roots, which means one will convey more than a mere appreciation for all things sparkly.

History of Emeralds

In fact, the history of emeralds in human culture traces as far back as six thousand years ago, when it first began to dazzle and fascinate members of ancient cultures and civilizations. It is also from those days that its name is derived, although there are concurrent theories about whether it derives from a Sanskrit word or from a Latin translation of a Persian term.

Emeralds are associated, even today, with harmony, growth, balance and prosperity.

At any rate, the stone has held enormous significance throughout the ages, in both Eastern and Western cultures. Aristotle, for example, was an admirer of emeralds, as was Cleopatra, while Nero was rumoured to have watched gladiator fights through an instrument fashioned from one. Some versions of Arthurian legends even have the Holy Grail as being made of emerald! The stone was also believed to bring good fortune to the wearer, and symbolises beauty and healing.

Cleopatra by Jessica Quirk, used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Cleopatra: a famous admirer of emeralds

Celebrity Endorsement

Of course, with it being such a well-liked stone, emerald engagement rings have also been a favourite of royal figures and celebrities. Among the list of well-known figures who were given exquisite emerald rings are Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy and, more recently, actress Halle Berry. Jackie’s ring held a 2.88 carat diamond and a 2.84 carat emerald and it quickly became the standard of elegance. Halle Berry’s stunning four-carat Columbian emerald engagement ring continues to be admired and talked about even today.

Facing a glorious future

With their wonderful green hue, extensive historic presence and all-important celebrity endorsement, it seems inevitable that emerald engagement rings will only become even more popular over time.

Designers who love to work with emeralds

Maya SelwayLondon
Christopher AndersonStamford
Aimee WinstoneBristol
Mia ChiccoLondon
Amanda Li HopeLondon