Connected to some of the most exciting tales of the past, the rich green of emeralds has captivated and thrilled mankind for centuries. Legends and lore tell that adorning oneself with emeralds will provide supernatural powers to reveal truth, protect from disease and make one an excellent orator. Prior to the discovery of emeralds in Colombia by the Spanish, emeralds were largely mined from the Egyptian mines made famous by Queen Cleopatra.
As suggested by the ancient philosopher Pliny, emerald is part of the Beryl family which includes aquamarine and heliodor. The most coveted emeralds are found in South American country of Colombia. The most prized Colombian emeralds are coloured by the trace element chromium, which gives these stones a recognisable glow in natural daylight.
Emeralds from the famed Muzo mines in central Colombia have a distinctive saturated green hue with a bluish undertone. These mines have been in operation since ancient times and continue to be the standard upon which all emeralds are graded for quality. The Chivor mines from a nearby area have a characteristic light yellowish-green hue. The slightly subtle differences between the two colours allowed jewellers of differing time periods to experiment with metal choice and design.
The designs of emerald rings include solitaires, three stones, coronet clusters, fancy clusters and crossover designs. Due to the unique nature of the gemstone, emeralds lend themselves well to specific cuts and settings. The emerald-cut was named after the precious gemstone as this cut protects and displays the colour of the gem perfectly. Typically displayed alongside diamonds the calming green of the emerald suits both the richly vibrant yellow gold and the reflective brightness of platinum.