Emerald Stone or Emerald Cut: Which Came First?

Feb. 11 2014
It may seem like emerald engagement rings and their classic ‘emerald cut’ have been around forever, but which one actually came first?

Our designers are a funny lot. Every now and then they like to conduct impromptu pop quizzes with each other regarding some random industry fact that they might have come across recently.

There has been a significant increase in talk about emerald engagement rings amongst the designers, so I had a suspicion that an emerald related quiz was in the offing. Not surprisingly, the first question that started the game absolutely stumped L and me: “Which came first? The emerald engagement ring or the emerald cut?”

However, given that our designers are an extremely knowledgeable bunch, it did not take long before multiple answers and theories were happily being tossed into the arena.I was amazed by just how much our designers knew about the history behind this style and cut and they were all very excited to finally have someone to tell about it!

History of the Emerald Cut

The emerald cut actually evolved from the very earliest cuts applied to diamonds in the 1400s. The emerald cut is the evolution and a natural progression of classic cuts such as the point cut, the table cut, and the ever-popular Old Miner cut. More precisely, it is a variation of the ‘step cut’, the main innovation of which was to add a culet to the diamond.

The only difference between this cut and the emerald cut is that a step cut can vary according to the nature of the diamond whilst an emerald cut follows a set pattern that was standardised in the 1940s. The term ‘emerald cut’ only appeared during the Art Deco period but had already been in use, under varying names, for many years.

A Match Made in Heaven

An emerald engagement ring designed with an emerald cut stone is the perfect example of the purpose of this cut and just what it can do to enhance the natural beauty of a gemstone. The emerald cut can be used on any gemstone, but it is so well suited the structural properties of the emerald stone it even earned the stone’s name.

The most prized feature of an emerald is its stunningly verdant hue. This signature green is unmistakable and makes emerald engagement rings a visually striking and bold choice. The emerald cut highlights this quality in a way that no other cut can.

Beryl (Emerald) "Gachala Emerald" by Cliff, used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

The signature emerald green of an uncut emerald stone

A Means of Protection

An emerald cut also provides an emerald engagement ring with a certain degree of protection. Emeralds can be susceptible to breakage due to the high number of inclusions found within the stones. The emerald cut, with its large flat table, deep pavilion and squared off edges, gives the gem a greater surface area which helps to make it studier. These facts, combined with a prong setting, which is usually used for emerald cut stones, offers this slightly more delicate stone a better defence against potentially damaging knocks or bangs.

So, which came first…?

It is unclear, however, whether the emerald cut precedes emerald engagement rings, or if it actually came about because of them. If it does pre-date them, it would obviously not have been called emerald cut! So perhaps this was a trick question?

The debate raged on, much to the enjoyment of our designers. However, I was beginning to see that this was basically the age old chicken-and-egg situation. However, whether the emerald itself or the emerald cut was the first to arrive on the scene, the fact remains: the two work flawlessly together, and emerald engagement rings magnificently display that they were meant to be together!

Designers who love to work with emeralds

Farah QureshiLondon
Ornella IannuzziLondon
Diana PorterBristol
Jon DibbenSurrey
Maria ThompsonLondon