Emerald has long fascinated Egyptian pharaohs and Inca emperors alike – and for good reason

What makes emerald the perfect choice as the birthstone for the month of May? And more importantly, why is the gem beloved across centuries? The story lies in the past. This famous member of the beryl family has fascinated Egyptian pharaohs and Inca emperors alike. It was thought to have magical powers that made its wearer more intelligent and quick-witted. We shall never quite know the truth but emeralds have been adorning crowns, crosses and even jewellery. This precious stone has a huge fan following among collectors and jewellery designers.

Grace Lee
Jacquie Aiche
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London-based Akansha Sethi, for instance, loves emeralds for their vibrancy and ease of combining with gemstones such as amethysts, citrines, diamonds, tanzanites — and even black onyx. “It’s such a versatile gemstone; it can elevate any look. I particularly like working with cabochon and carved emeralds due to their lovely glow, which almost invites the wearer to interact with the gemstone. Although a hard gemstone to carve due to its softness, when carved it really highlights its natural beauty and can bring both geometric and floral designs to life,” adds Sethi. She has set several pieces for her line, AS by Akansha Sethi, in emeralds, including the earcuffs and rings for the new Ribbons collection.

AS by Akansha Sethi
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Parisian jewellery designer Marie Cabirou of Marie Mas finds the stone mesmerizing. “It has always been fascinating for me.” Cabirou has used round stones in pave and decided to play with colour tone ranging from light green to dark green to bring movement through colour to her capsule line Emerald Wave. “I chose emerald as a precious-stone addition to the collection because the gem is known for its love and loyalty enhancing properties — and it reminds me of all the times I dived into the deep seas; something I enjoy very much,” she says.

Keeping within the Ondyn’s philosophy of using movement and light to make each piece come alive, Tara Maria Famiglietti, founder and designer, weaves a fancy web using Muzo’s emeralds. “These vibrant emeralds are not only imbued with breathtaking beauty but are rich with history and tell a story within each stone,” she adds. Paired with diamonds, the green gems are set in shapes that contour the earlobe, neckline and wrist. Muzo Emerald Colombia recently launched a new line Muzo Essentials to celebrate the brilliance, rarity and diversity of the emeralds through trendy designs.

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When it comes to statement earrings and emeralds, look no further than Graff. The Tribal emerald and diamond high jewellery earrings set with two emerald cut Colombian emeralds weighing more than 9 carats each are what lush dreams are made of.

Chaoqiu He, creative designer of Qiu Fine Jewellery, veers towards trapiches and has combined them with diamonds in statement earrings inspired by the West Lake in Hangzhou. “I used moonstones and diamonds to create the reflection of light, and engaging black onyx in a dialogue with trapiche emeralds in their natural black form,” she explains.

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Jacquie Aiche’s Triple Teardrop Emerald Petal Ring was inspired by the stones. “I have a very special collection of crystals that I’ve gathered over the years…I was playing with shapes — and when I saw how the three emerald teardrops formed a crown, I just loved the idea of carrying that regal power on hand.” Lately, she has been designing a lot with oval cuts. “But I also love to keep it classic. You can never go wrong with the original emerald cut; it’s timeless,” Aiche adds.

Grace Lee’s Emerald Helix Ring was designed to create the illusion of multiple rings in one. “The ring is substantial yet light where the elongated emerald pear is set asymmetrically,” says Lee, who has since received several requests for jewels set with emeralds in elongated pear shapes and emerald-cuts.

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